Breastfeeding tips for new mothers

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Breastfeeding has many benefits for both mother and baby, but can also be a little challenging, especially for new mums. Many mums will need time and practice to get it right. Here are some general breastfeeding tips to help you get started:

  • Find a comfortable position – Start by getting comfortable. Sit upright or semi‐reclined and support your back with pillows if needed. Hold your baby fully facing you and close to your body with their nose level to your nipple. Support your baby’s neck and shoulders with your hand. Don’t hold your baby’s head – allow him or her to find the best position to attach to your breast.1
  • Encourage proper attachment – If your baby is well attached to your breast you’ll be less likely to experience problems such as sore or cracked nipples. Gently brush your baby’s mouth with the underside of your areola, which should encourage them to open their mouth. When they do open their mouth, quickly bring him or her to your breast with your nipple aimed at the roof of their mouth so they get a good mouthful of breast tissue. When your baby is well attached his/her chin should be pressed into your breast and their nose clear or only just touching the breast. Their cheeks should not be sucking in and they shouldn’t be slipping off.2 If you feel pain, break the suction by gently inserting a clean finger into the corner of their mouth and try again.3
  • Building your milk supply – With breastfeeding, supply tends to equal demand. The more you feed your baby, the more milk your breasts will produce. Let your baby feed until they stop sucking and swallowing, and then offer your second breast. Also offer your breast at night time as well as through the day.1 The herb fenugreek may also support healthy breast milk production.
  • Dealing with sore nipples – In addition to encouraging proper attachment, try:
    • feeding for shorter periods more frequently.
    • changing nursing positions.
    • expressing a few drops of milk and rubbing on your areola to lubricate the area.
    • allowing your nipples to air dry after feeding.
    • changing nursing pads frequently.
    • washing your nipples with warm water rather than soap.2
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help – Breastfeeding can be a learning process for both you and your baby, and sometimes problems do develop. For help at any stage, chat to your midwife or lactation consultant, or contact the Breastfeeding Helpline on 1800 686 268.
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    Published November 27, 2014
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