What are the Best Tips for Successful Breastfeeding?

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  • Written By: Amanda Barnhart
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 07 October 2018
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Breastfeeding provides your baby with nutrients and antibodies to help prevent and fight disease. It also helps you bond with your baby and releases endorphins to help you feel relaxed. Successful breastfeeding can be difficult for many new mothers who may have trouble with their milk supply or are frustrated with nursing issues. The best tips for successful breastfeeding include positioning your baby properly, helping him latch on, and preventing and treating sore nipples or breasts.

Positioning your baby in a way that is comfortable for both of you will make successful breastfeeding easier and more relaxing. Many women prefer a traditional cradle hold, in which they pull the baby to their breasts while cradling the baby's body in the crook of their arms near their elbows. In the cradle hold, the baby's head, back, and legs are aligned against your abdomen. If your baby starts to turn over while latched onto your breast, it could lead to sore nipples.


If the cradle hold does not work for you or if you had a C-section, hold your baby along the side of your body and cradle his head with the back of your hand. This will allow your baby to nurse without putting pressure on the incision. Some women prefer to lie down on their sides and pull the baby to their breasts to nurse. Whichever position you choose, cup your fingers under your breast and gently press your thumb into the top of your breast well above your areola to support your breast while your baby nurses. Holding your breast also prevents the weight from pressing down on your baby's chin, which can make it difficult for him to latch on and suck.

Helping your baby latch on properly is one of the main components of successful breastfeeding. If your child does not have proper suction, he may not get enough milk and nursing can be painful for you. Tilt your baby's head back slightly and gently push on his shoulders to guide his chin and lower jaw against your breast when he opens his mouth. Bring your baby in against your breast quickly and try to aim his lower lip as far down on your breast as possible so that his tongue is pressed below your nipple.

Apply warm, moist compresses to your nipples if they get sore. Talk to your doctor or a lactation consultant if your nipples become excessively dry or cracked. You may need to apply a lanolin ointment to help keep the skin moist and encourage healing.

When you remove your baby from your breast, gently insert a finger into the corner of his mouth to help break the seal before pulling your breast away. Tugging on your breast when your infant is latched on can hurt your nipple. If your breasts become engorged and painful, try nursing your baby more frequently. Use a breast pump to remove excess milk. Resist supplementing with formula, since your breasts will automatically adjust to your baby's needs and keep your milk supply up after four to six weeks of regular feedings.



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