The ABCs of Breastfeeding
|By Dana Sullivan for Your Baby Today |
You can't really prepare your breasts for breastfeeding, but you can prepare your head. Before your baby is born, learn as much about breastfeeding as possible. Start by taking a class at your hospital or birth center, or reading pamphlets from your physician. The more information you have about nursing before you begin, the more confident you'll feel about it once you start. Remember that confidence, comfort, and relaxation are three keys to successful breastfeeding. Simply put: the more confident and comfortable you are, the more relaxed you are, the easier it is for you to produce milk.
During the first few days nursing your newborn, you'll want to make sure he's establishing a solid latch, which is essential for successful breastfeeding. To make sure your baby latches on to your breast properly: Hold your breast with your free hand, with your thumb above and the rest of your fingers below your nipple and just behind the areola (your thumb and index finger should form a "C" around your nipple). Gently touch your baby's lips with your nipple. When she opens her mouth, center your nipple in her mouth and draw her closer to you. Hold your breast until you're sure she's latched on -- she should have your entire nipple and an inch of your areola in her mouth.
Since you'll spend several hours each day nursing your baby during the early months, you'll want to experiment until you find the position that works best for you. Here are a few of the most common:
Nevada-based freelance writer Dana Sullivan is a frequent contributor to Your Baby Today and also writes for Fit Pregnancy and Parenting. She's mom to Liam, 4, and Julia, 2.
The content on these pages is provided as general information only and should not be substituted for the advice of your physician.