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How to Start and End Breastfeedings
Breastfeed as soon after birth as you and your baby feel ready.
Make yourself comfortable — sit or lie down.
Ask the nursing staff to help with getting started. Place a pillow or folded blanket on your lap to support your arm and baby. You may feel awkward or clumsy at first.
Hold your breast with your thumb on top and four fingers underneath, supporting the breast. Keep your hand behind the brown part around your nipple.
Make sure your baby has your entire nipple and some of the brown part around the nipple well into his/her mouth.
Pull your baby's bottom toward you or lift up with the hand holding your breast to make an airway for his nose if needed.
Listen for the baby's sucking and swallowing. You should hear a suck-suck-swallow pattern.
If you need to end the nursing, put your finger between the gums to break the suction.
Burp your baby, then offer the other breast.
Keep track of the breast used last by pinning a safety pin on that bra strap. Use that breast first during the next feeding.
Let your nipples air dry after each feeding.
How Often and How Long to Feed Your Baby
Your baby may do more nuzzling than nursing his/her first couple times at the breast, but these are good starts. Watch for your baby's hunger cues that tell you he/she wants to eat. Hunger cues include making eye contact with mother, chewing on a fist, pulling things to the mouth, and licking and smacking lips.
Let your baby feed as often as needed. This may result in a 3-minute feeding or a feeding well over 15 minutes. The milk at the end of a feeding has more calories than the milk at the start of a feeding. The longer the feeding, the more higher calorie milk your baby will get.
Newborns should nurse often, about every 1-1/2 to 3 hours (around 8 to 12 times every 24 hours). At first, feeding times will be irregular. After a few weeks, your baby will get into a schedule of eating every 2 to 3 hours.
If you have a sleepy baby who is not gaining very much weight, wake him/her every 2 to 3 hours in the daytime, and at least twice at night to feed. Your baby needs at least 8 feedings in 24 hours.
Breastfeeding Positions You May Want to Try
How to Tell If Your Baby is Getting Enough to Eat
If you answered “No” to any question, try nursing more often and longer at each feeding.
Call your baby’s doctor if:
(Source: San Diego County Breastfeeding Coalition)