Breastfeeding basics that can be useful when you're just starting out or if you encounter any breastfeeding challenges.
Includes latching technique, how to know if the baby is getting milk, and using compressions.
Spend as much time as you can with your baby skin-to-skin with you. This will help you to catch your baby's early feeding cues (rooting for the breast, bringing his/her hands to the mouth, etc.) and it will help your milk to flow.
Without moving or lifting your breast, align baby's upper lip with your nipple. Once your baby opens his/her mouth as wide as they can, press firmly between his/her shoulders. Once latched, your baby's nose should be about a finger's-width distance from your breast and his/her chin should be lifted off his/her chest and pressed into your breast.
Watching for drinking
Milk flow varies throughout a feeding. If you watch the movement of your baby's chin while he/she is feeding, you will see some sucks that are short and quick and some that are longer and slower. The longer and slower sucks mean the milk is flowing well. Good milk flow helps to make feedings more efficient, minimize nipple pain, and drain the breasts effectively.
If you notice your baby is doing more of the short and quick sucks, you can increase the milk flow by compressing the breast. Use your whole hand in the shape of a "C" to squeeze your breast firmly while your baby is sucking. You should see that your baby starts to do more of the longer and slower sucks that indicate drinking. Hold the compression as long as your baby is sucking and relax your hand when he/she takes a break.
When compressions no longer help to increase the milk flow and your baby is again doing more of the short and quick sucks, break the latch and switch to the other breast.
Continue using compressions and switching back and forth to keep your baby drinking. Your baby is likely finished feeding when he/she falls asleep or comes off the breast despite good milk flow (as opposed to sleeping or pulling off when flow is slower and he/she is doing more short and quick sucks).
©2017, The Breastfeeding Collective
The information presented here is general and not a substitute for personalized treatment from an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant or other qualified health professional.