To celebrate World Breastfeeding Week, I thought I’d offer some age-old, simple to follow steps to breastfeeding a newborn.
I have often been asked – “If breastfeeding is supposed to be natural, why is it so difficult to master?”
My answer is always the same – “It is natural and instinctive for the baby, but it is learned for us, and persistence pays off!”
Bearing this in mind, I thought I’d share with you a few sayings that have been developed over a long time and are used by most breastfeeding experts. These sayings help remind new mums what they need to do as they think about breastfeeding their newborn.
Chest to chest
Turn the baby in towards your body so their chest is touching your chest. Babies attach better to the breast if they don’t have to turn their heads to find the nipple.
Chin to breast
Bring the baby over to your breast with their head tilted slightly back so their chin touches the breast first, underneath the darker part of your nipple called your areola.
Nipple to nose
When the baby’s chin is into the breast, your nipple should naturally be in line with the baby’s nose. When attempting to attach the baby, hold your breast with the same side hand as the breast you are feeding off (baby completely held by other arm/hand). Hold your thumb and forefinger in a U shape underneath the areola.
Wide open mouth
In the above position, gently rub your nipple from baby’s nose down to lips repeatedly, until baby opens their mouth VERY WIDE. Don’t be fooled by little open mouths. Wait for a big one! Then, with baby’s bottom lip on the bottom edge of your areola, quickly flip the top of your nipple and areola into baby’s mouth. The baby should have a full mouth of your breast, not just the tip of your nipple.
You may feel a pulling or drawing sensation that could be quite painful for about 10-20 seconds. Then it should ease off if baby is attached well. If its still really painful after 20 seconds, unattached baby by inserting your pinky finger into the corner of baby’s mouth and break their seal around your breast BEFORE pulling baby off. Then try again.
If they are attached well you should usually not hear any clicking noises and it should not be really painful (it can feel a little uncomfortable from previous damage and because your nipples aren’t used to being sucked so often, but should not be toe curling bad).
Finish main meal, offer dessert
When your milk has come in (usually day 3 or 4) and baby is attached well, make sure they completely empty one breast (main meal), then offer the second side (dessert) but it’s ok if they only have a little bit or none at all.
Hopefully this quick reference guide can help if you can’t remember exactly how to position and attach baby after the information overload of the hospital stay.
You can also try these links:
Happy breastfeeding! Remember, every single breastfeed you offer means you are a success!