From the moment your baby is born to at least six months of their life, breastfeeding is essential for baby development. However, many new moms usually struggle in the beginning. After all, learning how to breastfeed is an entirely new experience for both you and the baby. So, no need to worry mothers, we are here to help.
It will take you a little practice and time for you to learn to breastfeed. Fear not, the act of nursing is fairly straightforward and quite simple. Here are the basic steps for it:
1. Looking for signs of hunger
When babies are hungry, they will let you know by licking their lips, putting their hands in their mouths or making sucking sounds. But, the noticeable cue is when your baby tries to turn toward anything that brushes against its mouth or cheek. Ideally, you should breastfeed your baby before they start to cry because that is when the little one is too hungry.
2. Find your perfect position.
A part of learning how to breastfeed is figuring out which breastfeeding position suits you and your little one. Because every baby is unique so there is no specific position that is ideal for everyone. But, you might want your baby as close as possible to you so the breast won’t drag in your baby’s mouth. After a week, we believe you will know what feeding position is the best for both of you. Plus, you can also use a breastfeeding pillow for support.
3. Entice the baby to nurse more effectively.
Rubbing the baby’s cheek or gently pushing your nipple against the baby’s upper lip helps the baby to open wider. Moreover, you can try to attract the baby by expressing a bit of milk and rub it on your breast.
4. Perfecting a good latching during breastfeeding.
You should hold your fingers in a V shape around your areola to ensure that the baby gets a proper breastfeeding latch. The baby’s lower lip should be well below your nipple so your baby can get a large mouthful of breast. A deep latch will make sure that your nipple is at the baby’s soft palate at the back of the baby’s mouth instead of the hard palate toward the front, which can cause discomfort.
5. Breastfeeding time for babies
It depends on your baby’s age. Normally, newborns need time to practice and learn while older infants can empty a breast in no time. Newborns should be put close to the breast every 2-3 hours and nurse for 10-15 minutes on each side. In order to ensure that the baby can get enough milk, the average time should be around 20-30 minutes per feeding. 3 to 4-month-olds only need about 5-10 minutes to empty the breast and get all the milk they need. 6 months and older, you can start to let your baby try solid foods so sometimes they only need quick breastfeeding.
Don’t worry if it is too difficult for you on your first try. Both you and your baby need time to practice this. So, be patient because even second-time moms can have difficulty with it. If you have any problems during the breastfeeding process or your milk supply, please contact your doctor for more advice.