How to Breastfeed: A Step-By-Step Guide
While yes, it's natural, it's actually a practiced skill
4 August 2015
Sure, you're shown how to do it after giving birth, but if you're breastfeeding your newborn baby and child for the first time, here's some tips you can keep to hand on how to make sure your little one is feeding correctly!
While the act of breastfeeding may come naturally to some women, it's actually a practiced skill. Like learning to play an instrument, breastfeeding successfully comes from a combination of knowledge of skills, motivation and practice.
The first step is to master the latching, as any good lactation consultant will tell you.
1. Position the baby on their side so they're directly facing you, with their belly touching yours. Then prop up the baby with a pillow if neccessary, and hold them up to your breast. Don't lean towards them.
2. Place your thumb and fingers around your areaola a.k.a. your nipple.
3. Tilt your baby's head back slightly and use your nipple to help open your baby's mouth wide.
4. Help your baby "scoop" your breast into their mouth by placing their lower jaw on first, well below your nipple area.
5. Tilt your baby's head forward, while placing their upper jaw deeply onto your breast.
Note: Make sure that they take your entire nipple, with at least 1.5 inches of the areola in their mouth.
There are a few positions that are perfect for breastfeeding, that are both comfortable for you and your baby; these are commonly called the cradle, football or side-lying.
1. Cradle: position your baby on your forearm, with their head in the crook of your inner arm. Support their bottom with your other hand. Pull your baby close to you, belly to belly, with their ear, shoulder and hip in a straight line.
2. Football: while useful for all mothers who are breastfeeding, this one is particularly good for those who have had a Cesarean section (C-section). Start by placing your baby on a pillow, tucked closely to your side. Then rest your arm on the pillow to bring your baby's mouth up to your breast, then suppor their head with your hand.
3. Side-Lying: this one is also useful for mothers who have had a C-section, or for mothers who wish to rest while nursing their baby. Lie on the side you wish to breastfeed from, place your head on a pillow and draw your baby in close to you, using your arm to support their bottom. Then use your other hand to bring your breast up to your baby's mouth.
While short and quick, we hope these simple and quick tips and step-by-step guides will help you if ever you need to refresh your breastfeeding skills.