Breastfeeding 101: Successful Feeding = Happy Baby

It is no secret that human milk is the best source of nutrition for your baby. Breast milk supports their immune system and has full nutritional value that infants need for the first six months of their life. In this blog we will explain to you how to breastfeed: positioning, latching on, how often and how long, and use of pacifiers.

You should start breastfeeding your baby within the first few hours of delivery, and don’t worry, if your baby is having is difficult time nursing then, that does not mean breastfeeding will be impossible all-in-all. Also, if you do not produce a lot of colostrum (thick yellowish milk that contains all nutrients your baby needs their first few days) immediately after delivery, it is normal, and your baby is born with excess fluid and sugars they need while your milk supply increases.

There is no one “best position”. You and your baby might be comfortable in one position while sitting in a chair, and another while standing. That being said, no matter the position, your baby’s head should never have to turn to nurse, it makes it more difficult to coordinate suckling and swallowing, and potentially latch on, too. Your baby’s nose should be aligned with your nipple with nursing. Here are 5 positions for you to try out:

Cradle hold– Sitting in a chair and feeding from the left breast, your left forearm supports your baby’s head and body while your left hand supports their buttocks or upper thighs. Their stomach should be flat against your chest and body aligned with their head so there is no turning. Your right hand is used to support and guide your breast to your baby. Make sure to keep your hand away from your nipple so there is no interference with latching.

Cross-cradle hold- Sitting in a chair and feeding from the left breast, your right arm is supporting the baby while your left guides your breast to the baby. Like in Cradle hold, your baby’s head and body should be aligned so there is no turning.

Football hold- Sitting and feeding from the left breast, your baby’s body and legs are under you left arm while your left hand is supporting their head. The right hand would support and guide your breast to your baby.

Side-lying hold– While lying down on your left side and feeding form your left breast, your baby lies parallel to you. You might prefer to have a pillow under your head for comfort, but be sure to have no excess bedding around your baby and not on a waterbed, couch, or recliner for your baby’s safety. Your right hand supports and guides your breast.

Laid-back or “biological nursing”- Semi-recline yourself with your arms and torso supported. Place your baby on your stomach between your breasts.

Latch On
How your baby forms a tight seal around your nipple and most of the areola with their mouth is essential for proper breastfeeding. If they do it correct, they get all the milk they need and it will prevent nipple soreness and trauma for you.

Good Latch On Poor Latch On
The top and bottom lips should be open to at least 120° The upper and lower lip are touching at the corners of the mouth
The lower lip (and, to a lesser extent, the upper lip) should be turned outward against the breast The cheeks are sunken
The chin should be touching the breast, while the nose should be close to the breast Clicking sounds are heard, corresponding to breaking suction
The cheeks should be full The tongue is not visible below the nipple (if the lower lip is pulled down)
The tongue should extend over the lower lip during latch­ on and remain below the areola during nursing (visible if the lower lip is pulled away) The nipple is creased after nursing

Discomfort is common for the first 30-60 seconds when your baby latches on correctly. It will decrease, and if it does not, that is a sign of poor latch-on. To prevent any more pain, you should insert your [clean] finger into your baby’s mouth to break the seal, then reposition them. Also, you should be able to hear your baby swallow, so you know they are getting the proper amount of milk they need.

Feeding Time
In the first 1-2 weeks most babies will want to be fed 8-12 times a day but some are more frequent and others need to be encouraged to feed. The length of time also varies, some babies only need to feed for about 5 minutes while others will go for 20 minutes. Since it varies so much, keeping track of diapers and your baby’s weight for the first two weeks is recommended to better estimate how much your baby needs.

Pacifier Use
Pacifiers are amazing when it comes to soothing your baby but be sure that they are not fussing or crying because they are hungry. Pacifiers should not be used to delay feeding. If you are considering using a pacifier, do not use it until your baby is about 2 weeks old, so breastfeeding is established.