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Successful breastfeeding involves understanding when your baby is ready to eat, finding a breastfeeding position that works for you, and ensuring that your baby can latch. If you have flat or inverted nipples, there are a few tips you can try as well.
When your baby wants to eat, he or she will give you cues to show you he is hungry. Watch your baby and begin breastfeeding when you see:
Babies who are not fed when they show hunger will become frustrated or upset and cry hard. If your baby is upset, calm him down before trying to breast feed again. Skin-on-skin cuddling may work well to calm your baby so you can feed him. It’s best to feed your baby when he is ready to eat rather than trying to follow a set schedule.
Every mother and her baby have different needs, so you’ll want to find positions and holds that are comfortable for both of you. Some of the most common ones are:
Begin by supporting your breast with your hand. Put your thumb on top and your fingers below the breast, cupping your breast with your hand in a “C” or “U” shape. Make sure that the fingers on the underside of your breast aren’t touching the areola.
Next, position your baby’s body by bringing him in close to your side. Position your baby’s head so that his nose is in line with your nipple. Encourage your baby to open his mouth wide by tickling his upper lip with your nipple. When your baby’s mouth is wide open, bring him toward your breast, making sure that:
Support his neck and shoulder with your open hand. (Do NOT push his face into your breast.) With a proper latch, the baby’s tongue will draw in more of the breast tissue so that your baby’s chin and lower lip will be close against your breast, and his head is slightly tilted back.
Do not use your finger to create an air pocket under the baby’s nose — if it seems that your baby can’t breathe easily at your breast, pull his shoulder closer to you and let his forehead fall slightly away from your breast.
When your baby first nurses, you'll feel a tugging sensation. Listen for the sound of your baby swallowing. A clicking sound (the baby’s tongue against the roof of his mouth) may mean that your baby isn’t latched on well. Other signs of a poor latch-on are nipple pain or pinching. If you think the latch-on isn’t right, slip your finger into the side of his mouth to break the suction, then reposition and try again. It may take several tries to get the latch-on correct. LOOK, LISTEN, and FEEL for signs that the feeding is going well.
Let your baby nurse well on one breast before changing to the other side. Most babies will let go of the breast when they are finished on that side. If you need to remove your baby from your breast to switch him to the other side, gently put your finger into a corner of his mouth to break the suction.
Some women have flat or inverted nipples. Most babies can breastfeed on this kind of nipple without problems because when babies are latched on correctly, they suck on the breast, not the nipple. If needed, try these tips:
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