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The basics of breastfeeding

Advice about how to breastfeed your baby, with information on latching on and ways to make sure your baby is breastfeeding properly.
Getting started

As soon as possible after your baby is born lift them onto you so that your baby has direct skin contact. Newborn babies get cold easily so you will need to make sure your baby is dried and that you are both covered in a couple of towels or blankets.

Placing your baby directly on you will help keep them warm, help them to adjust to newborn life and allow you to get to know each other better. After a time your baby will start to lick their lips and open the mouth turning their head sideways. These are signs that your baby is ready to feed.

Latching on

Ask your midwife or partner to help turn your baby so that your bodies are facing and your baby's nose is in line with your nipple. In this position when your baby opens his or her mouth they should be able to latch onto the breast correctly.

Your baby needs to have a lot of the dark area around the nipple in it's mouth in order to feed. It does not feed from the nipple but from the breast itself. The best way to help your baby latch on is to wait until the mouth is wide open and then move your baby onto the breast aiming the nipple towards the roof of your baby's mouth - this can take a little practice.

When fixed on the breast properly your baby's bottom lip should be turned down and the nostrils should be clear of the breast so that he or she can breath easily. This can be difficult to see but your midwife or partner will be able to help you.

When your baby feeds you will notice that there is movement in the whole jaw. If this is not happening or your baby is sucking his or her cheeks in it might not be attached correctly. If in doubt ask your midwife.

If your baby is latched correctly breastfeeding is not usually painful. If your baby starts to feed the first few sucks may cause you some discomfort, after this things should get better.

If you find that things get worse as the feed goes on your baby may be sucking at the nipple. Slide your finger gently into your baby's mouth to break the seal, lift them away and start again. If it is possible, get someone to help you.

Midwives in hospital and in the community will be there to give you support in the first few weeks. After this time your health visitor and the NCT will be able to help you overcome any feeding problems.

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Our baby is one week old.Its very painfull for my wife when she is breastfeeding.Her nipples get sore while the baby is sucking.Is there any advice to relief her pain?
by reindeer 14th May 2010, 4:06pm
Do i need bottles to breat feed? Well what i mean is can you fill up bottles with breast milk. x
by MrsJohnson22 14th May 2010, 3:55pm
i need help on getting my 8 week old baby to latch on my breasts again. i stopped breastfeeding her for almost a month, whenever i try to feed her i worry that there isnt enough milk, and she cries hard i really want her to drink from my breasts again. i tried putting a bottle nipple over my nipple but i worry that she will suck air first before getting some milk. pls. help me..
by krisna 14th Dec 2009, 9:24am
hi to 1stlittlebump my baby is 6 weeks old and im having a similar problem. Hv advised that the flow is probably too quick which iv found to be true. You can find out by hand expressing. One side is fine but he cries and gets lots of wind from the other as he is gulping and taking lots of air through his nose. Iv found expressing a little from that particular side helps x
by lyndseylou86 26th Aug 2009, 10:57am
Hi, I am breastfeeding my six week old baby, things have been going up and down, was good at it then was bad at it. At the moment its not too bad but she keeps making sucking noises which I think are causing her real wind problems as every time I put her down she cries and when I lift her she has wind which takes over an hour to get up, and she is also spuing up. Is the suckng causing the wind. I've tried changing position but so far nothing is working, i'm worried her latch is not good. Sometimes she seems to pull away from the breast and likes to be at the end of the nipple which is not good
by 1stlittlebump 25th Jun 2009, 9:22am
to mummy percy my wee man is 5 weeks and I can sympaythise with you as he too would feed every 2 hours sometimes every 2 and half. It's really hard especially at night and although it's got easier and he sleeps for almost 4 hours at night during the day it's the same. I get nothing done and occasionally he wants the breast constantly. Keep going it pays off the Dr. weighed him yesterday and at 5 weeks he weighs over 12 lbs!!! as healthy as can be!
by lynsgibson 23rd Mar 2009, 9:05am
Hi there everyone, My little boy is 2wks and 5 days and i breastfeeding. It hurt at 1st but not at all anymore so i think he must be latched on well. but my only issue at the moment is that he's feeding day and night every 2hrs maybe sometimes 2 and a half hrs at a push. Is this normal how long will it last. I don't seem to have time to do anything? I also find it hard in the mornings to put him down even when he's fed, clean and winded he just won't let me lie him down he just wants to be held. can anybody help?
by mummypercy 15th Jan 2009, 9:58am
I stopped trying to breast feed my baby after 11 days because my midwife told me to. 9 days later I met my health visitor and she advised i start again.By this time the milk was gone. It took over 2 weeks to get my milk back, expressing every 2-3 hours as well as caring as normal for my baby... I now have milk back and my baby fed from me 2 days ago (now 6weeks old!) but she has rejected me since and normally screams when i put her to the breast (she has had 4 weeks of bottle), any advise out there greatly appreciated as i'm working so very hard to get her to latch on...
by ejw2709 10th Nov 2008, 9:47am
will the change in soap or the soap used by mom on her breasts affect the breast feeding of the baby, like the smell or fragrance of the soap make her cry and not want to suck..
by Pugal 27th May 2008, 8:35am
i was scared the first time but it is completly natral ellie mum of lara smith 3 weeks
by u2 13th May 2008, 8:45am
Do you think it's O.K. to give cooled boiled water to baby in a bottle in between breast feeds?
by delightfuldoll 30th Jan 2008, 9:48am