Friday, August 5, 2011

The Art of Breastfeeding

Just like learning a new skill, knowledge, practice and support from family, friends and coworkers are the key to perfecting the "art" or techniques of breastfeeding.

It is important to discuss your decision with your doctor before delivery and inform your hospital staff in order to provide you with a breastfeeding friendly environment as soon as you arrive to the hospital!

Warming up & getting started 
To help ensure an adequate milk supply and build confidence, start nursing as soon after delivery as possible >> within 20-30 minutes after your baby is born, perhaps in the delivery room. This is why it is important to remind the hospital’s staff of “rooming in” with your infant.
The first feeding will be most probably short, for about 10 minutes. Find a comfy chair with a good arm and back support or lie down with pillows positioned to help support your baby. This way, you won’t feel any tension in your neck, back or shoulders and it’ll be easier to hold your baby while breastfeeding him/her. Keep in mind to plan to nurse your infant on demand, that is, whenever your baby decides it is time to eat.
Signs that your baby is hungry: If your baby is mouthing, rooting toward your breast, playing with his mouth and tongue and has an increased alertness. Usually, crying is a let sign of hunger so learning the earlier signs of hunger could be helpful to better understand your baby’s hunger schedule.
During the first months, be prepared to nurse very frequently: about 8 - 12 months every 24 hours. A newborn’s stomach is small and his nutritional needs are exceptional during this period of rapid growth and development. Frequent nursing helps establish your milk supply and keeps your breasts from becoming hard and swollen. 

Latching on 
Some newborns instinctively suckle when they are first put to their mother’s breast while others take time to get used to the process, but either way is normal. Latching on correctly helps your baby get enough milk and protects you from sore nipples.
>> Help your baby by stroking your baby’s cheek or lower lip nearest to your breast.
>> As your baby turns toward your nipple, guide your baby’s mouth. Newborns have a “rooting reflex” at the breast thus they open their mouths naturally.
>> Try to offer both breasts at each feeding. Let your baby nurse as long as he or she wants – about 10 to 20 minutes on each breast. The longer they stay the more of the “hind milk they take. This milk is higher in fat and helps the baby feel full and satisfied.
Make sure to wash your hands before nursing. 

Breastfeeding – About Your Baby 
Burp your baby when you change breasts and at the end of the feeding. This relieves any discomfort from air swallowed while nursing. Hold him or her upright on your shoulder or lay your baby tummy side down across your lap. Then gently rub or pat your baby’s back. It is normal for a baby to spit up a bit of milk.
Trust your baby to let you know when he had enough to eat.
Signs of fullness: Your baby may close his or her lips, turn away or even fall asleep. Sometimes babies rest during a feeding as well, so this makes it hard to know when one feeding stops and the next begins.

Breastfeeding – About You 
Because babies nurse more energetically when they start breastfeeding, alternate the breast you offer first.This will help ensure that both breasts are empties regularly and helps you prevent breasts stiffness. If your breasts feel tight and full, soften the by expressing a small amount of milk by hand or breast pump. Fullness and discomfort are signs of engorgement and may happen when your milk supply first comes in or if you have gone too long between feedings. Feed you baby often and if your baby is not hungry yet, you can store the milk in a clean container and refrigerate it, then offer it in a cup later on. 
Don't forget to hydrate yourself well during the day!

Book reference: Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, ADA
by Roberta Larson Duyff, 3rd ed.

Photo references:
World Breastfeeding Week Logo 
Mother and infant 
Breastfeeding Rocks


  1. I run a nursing Mothers support group and was wondering if we could use the nursing rocks picture for flyers? It's a great picture that says everything while making me smile.

  2. Dear Errin, this photo is not mine to take credit for, when you click on it, you get this link - you can track its copyright from there