There is a lot written about ‘how to breastfeed’.  The most important thing is to have confidence in your ability to breastfeed and be a wonderful Mum.  By this stage you will have grown your baby and birthed your baby.  You can also breastfeed your baby.  The following are simple tips which have helped many new Mum’s.

  1. Whilst in Hospital, there will be many Midwives and Lactation consultants giving advice. It will all sound different and many Mums find the advice confusing and even conflicting.  If you are in this category then just listen to the one person that is making sense for you.
  2. NEVER allow a midwife/other to attach YOUR baby to YOUR breast! (There are rare medical circumstances where this is necessary).  Whilst it is comforting to have support and some relevant info., that should be delivered by gentle, calm talking and NOT by shoving baby onto a breast!
  3. Your baby needs to be close to you.  They have been with you, in the most perfect environment for 40 weeks and it takes time for them to adapt to the outside world.  Breastfeeding works very well when baby is as close to his Mum as possible.
  4. For many Mum’s breastfeeding takes time to learn.  Don’t be too hard on yourself.  It often takes 2 or 3 weeks to get to a point where you feel comfortable and the ‘process’ of attaching baby becomes automatic for both of you.
  5. Initially, it is important to be in a comfortable and well supported position.  An upright chair with a straight, firm back is ideal, with feet well supported  You won’t need to sit like this for all of your breastfeeding career, it just makes it easier while you are both learning.  Before attaching, take some deep breaths, drop your shoulders and relax.  If you are relaxed, and are looking forward to feeding your baby, then the experience will be a positive one.
  6. Support baby’s whole body so you are tummy to tummy, and you can bring baby to the breast NOT the breast to the baby.
  7. Ask the Midwife to describe different positions, e.g. the ‘football’ or twin style hold.  It is important to experiment with different positions until you find what’s most comfortable for you.  You may find that you use a different position on each breast.
  8. Wait for baby to have a big wide mouth and then gently bring baby onto the areola, with top lip curled up and bottom lip curled down. Every woman has a different sized areola.  Baby needs to have a good part of the areola, not just the nipple.
  9. There is probably no description about what the sensation of feeding is like.  Initially it is common for women to say it feels very strong and powerful and even ‘vice-like’ grip.  Your nipples will de-sensitize over time.  The initial attachment will feel intense and then as baby settles into a suckling pattern, the sensitivity will subside.  Check nipple shape when the feed is finished.  The nipples should be lengthened but not squashed or pinched.  Sore nipples are caused by incorrect attachment.
  10. When you are in hospital it is worth getting a Midwife to check (without touching) at each feed that baby is attached correctly.  This way, you will learn very quickly, what a ‘good attachment’ looks and feels like and you will feel more and more confident every day.