12 Keys to Successful Breastfeeding

We’ve all heard that breastfeeding is the best option for your baby, but it doesn’t always come easy. Breastfeeding is a process that must be learned by both mother and child. Here are some tips that will help make nursing work for you and your baby:

1. Begin breastfeeding as soon as possible after birth, preferably within an hour. The substance emitted from a mom’s breasts during the first few days following birth (colostrum) isbreastfeeding success rich in protein and other substances that help fight infection.

2. Try different positions when breastfeeding. Avoid leaning over the baby. Instead, sit back and bring the baby up to breast level. Use pillows for support.

3. Have your baby suckle on as much of the areola as possible. Getting a good latch can ensure your breastfeeding success.

4. Alternate the breast your baby begins with each time to reduce some of the soreness you may feel.

5. Seek an evaluation of your breastfeeding technique by a trained professional during the first 24 to 48 hours after birth.

6. Feed your baby whenever she shows signs of hunger. It is crucial that infants be fed on demand.

7. Nurse until your baby is satisfied. The fat content of breast milk increases during the suckling session. Let your baby finish the first breast (about 10 to 15 minutes) before offering the second.

8. Burp your baby once or twice during and after each feeding.

9. Avoid pacifiers until breastfeeding has been well established.

10. If possible, breastfeed exclusively during the first six months. Breastfeeding is ideal for your baby’s growth and development.

11. Do not give supplements (water, glucose water, formula, etc.) to your breastfed newborn unless a clear medical reason exists.

12. Your diet plays a crucial role in the success of breastfeeding. A diet based on the four basic food groups is recommended.

Breastfeeding is Best:

With rare exceptions, breastfeeding is the ideal method of feeding all infants and should continue through the first year of life or longer, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The benefits of breastfeeding over formula feeding include:

- lower rates of gastrointestinal disturbances
- fewer inner-ear infections
- fewer respiratory infections
- fewer urinary tract infections
- lower incidence of chronic childhood diseases, such as diabetes and cancer.

Updated August 2012