What every new mom needs to know about baby's first feeding, latching on, and letting down.
Baby to Breast: Latching On continued...
And while it's natural to feel a "tugging"
sensation during feeding, if your breasts actually hurt, the latch may be
insufficient as well.
If you need to start over, gently insert your finger
into the corner of your baby's mouth to break the connection to your body, then
reposition your breast and your baby, and try again.
"It can take several tries, particularly the first
few times, for both baby and mom to find the most comfortable and correct
position," Wenk tells WebMD.
In addition, if it seems as if your baby is having difficulty
breathing during nursing, the nose may be too close to your breast. To relieve
this problem, simply press down on the flesh of your breast closest to your
baby's nose to provide more breathing space.
Ask any expert, and they'll tell you that
breastfeeding is the most natural of a woman's mothering instincts -- an almost
indescribable urge, some say, to both nurture and nourish your new born
But as any experienced mom can tell you, the moves and motions
of feeding a newborn might feel anything but normal or natural, at least
in the beginning. Mother Nature may be sending breastfeeding signals your way,
but when it comes to knowing exactly what to do, you could find yourself at a
"Lots of women wonder why, if breastfeeding is such a normal, natural
thing, the skills don't just magically appear," says Jan Wenk, IBCLC,
certified lactation counselor at NYU Medical Center in New York
The answer, she says, is simply a lack of exposure to
the process itself. "A generation or two ago, little girls watched their
mother's breastfeed, sisters watched each other -- and women generally had a
support system as well as role models they could emulate," says
Today, she says, many women don't have any experience
on which to draw -- so it's not uncommon for some to feel awkward or even
The good news is that with just a little bit of
knowledge and a tiny bit of patience, you can quickly and easily master the art
of breastfeeding, while increasing your comfort level at the same
Breastfeeding Right After Baby's Birth
While you may be feeling more than a bit exhausted
after labor and delivery, experts say it's best to begin breastfeeding your
baby within 30 minutes after birth, if possible. The American Academy of
Pediatrics advises placing baby in direct skin-to-skin contact with the mother
immediately after birth to encourage breastfeeding right away. Why? Here are
four key reasons:
Babies are born with very little immunity -- so they
need the antibodies present in your milk to gain key protection from disease.
And the sooner that protection can begin, says Wenk, the better off your baby
Experts at the American College of Obstetricians and
Gynecologists, point out that the yellow, watery premilk (called
"colostrum") produced during the first few days of feeding is packed
full of protective nutrients. It can also help develop your baby's digestive
system. This helps your baby avoid gas and cramping later on.
Huotari says that feeding your baby shortly after
birth will help keep the baby's blood sugar level stable.
Babies who feed at the mother's breast soon after
birth generally have an easier time adapting to the latching-on process when
regular feedings begin.