Breastfeeding 101by Laura Driver
How to Breastfeed
Breastfeeding is a skill that you and your baby learn together. Don't worry if it takes time and at first feels awkward.
There are lots of different positions you can use to breastfeed your little one, just use the following checklist:
- Are you comfortable?
- Are your baby's head and body in a straight line?
- Are you holding your baby close to you, facing your breast?
- Your baby needs to get a big mouthful of breast. Placing your baby with their nose level with your nipple will encourage them to open their mouth wide and attach to the breast well.
- Avoid holding the back of your baby's head, so that they can tip their head back. This way your nipple goes past the hard roof of their mouth and ends up at the back of their mouth against the soft palate.
How to latch your baby on to your breast
- Hold your baby close to you with their nose level with the nipple.
- Wait until your baby opens their mouth really wide with their tongue down. You can encourage them to do this by gently stroking their top lip.
- Bring your baby on to your breast.
- Your baby will tilt their head back and come to your breast chin first. Remember to support your baby's neck but not hold the back of their head. They should then be able to take a large mouthful of breast. Your nipple should go towards the roof of their mouth.
- How to tell if your baby is getting enough milk
- Your baby will appear content and satisfied after most feeds.
- They should be healthy and gaining weight (although it's normal for babies to lose a little weight in the first days after birth). Talk to your midwife or health visitor if you are concerned your baby is not gaining weight and is unsettled during or after breastfeeds.
- After the first few days, your baby should have at least six wet nappies a day.
- After the first few days, they should also pass at least two soft yellow poos the size of a £2 coin every day.
Breastfeeding premature and ill babies
If your baby is in a neonatal or special care unit after birth you'll probably be encouraged to try kangaroo care once your baby is well. Kangaroo care is holding your baby close to you, usually under your clothes. This skin-to-skin contact helps you bond with your premature baby and increases your milk supply.