Breast milk is the best nutrition for babies and exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for about the first 6 months, so it’s important you’re clued-in on the breastfeeding basics.
Our baby feeding and wellbeing advisor gives us her top tips for breastfeeding.
Learning how breastfeeding works before your baby arrives will make you feel more confident. You can attend a local class or workshop with a midwife, and talk to friends or family who have enjoyed breastfeeding.
Ask your partner and family to be involved from the beginning. By explaining to them why you want to breastfeed you can gain their support.
It's important to make sure your baby is latched on correctly with a nice wide-open mouth and is in the right position to make breastfeeding as comfortable as possible. If it hurts when your baby is feeding it can be a sign you're not doing it quite right. You can ask for help if you want to improve your technique.
Find somewhere quiet and comfortable where your back is well supported. It's important to be relaxed, as this will help your milk to flow.
Once you start making milk (2 to 5 days after birth) it's important to encourage your baby to feed on the first breast fully before offering the second side. This enables them to drink the rich hind-milk that will help them to settle and gain weight. Not all babies will continue to feed from the second breast, so let your baby decide.
Help your baby have a full feed by stimulating them if they become sleepy after just a short time. Try changing position, removing a layer of clothing or tickling them to rouse them.
How long a feed lasts varies with each mother and baby – it can be anything between 10 and 40 minutes. The duration of each feed depends on your baby's age and technique, and also on your let-down reflex. Let-down is the release of milk from the breasts in response to a baby's suckling.
Just remember, if your baby seems happy and settled between feedings and is putting on weight at a steady rate, your milk supply is plentiful.
Please be aware that the information given in these articles is only intended as general advice and should in no way be taken as a substitute for professional medical
advice. If you or your family or your child is suffering from symptoms or conditions which are severe or persistent or you need specific medical advice, please seek professional medical assistance.
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