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Quick Tips: Successful Breast-Feeding - Topic Overview

Get baby latched on

A proper latch helps prevent problems.

  • Lightly touch the middle of your baby's lower lip with your nipple until the baby opens his or her mouth. The baby's mouth needs to be wide open, like a yawn, before attempting to latch.
  • Support and narrow your breast with one hand. This will help you control your breast as you bring your baby onto your breast.
  • Bring the baby quickly onto the nipple and the areola (the dark circle around the nipple), so it goes deep into your baby's mouth. If the baby does not immediately get the idea to suck, squeeze a little milk into his or her mouth.
  • Listen for a regular sucking and swallowing pattern while the baby is feeding. If you cannot see or hear a swallowing pattern, watch the baby's ears, which may wiggle slightly when the baby swallows.
  • If the baby's nose appears to be blocked by your breast, reposition him or her by raising the baby's hips or relaxing the baby's head back slightly, so just the edge of one nostril is clear for breathing.

Provide a complete feeding

Let your baby feed until he or she is satisfied.

  • Offer the other breast when the first breast feels empty and the infant sucks more slowly, pulls off, or loses interest. Usually the baby will continue breast-feeding, though perhaps for less time than on the first breast.
  • Anytime you need to remove your baby from the breast, put one finger into the corner of his or her mouth and push your finger between your baby's gums to gently break the seal. If you do not break the tight seal before you remove the baby from your breast, your nipples can become sore, cracked, or bruised.
  • If your baby falls asleep before finishing breast-feeding, you may need to stimulate him or her to finish the feeding. After a while, you will learn your baby's patterns and will know whether he or she needs rousing or has fed long enough.
  • When your baby is satisfied, gently pat his or her back to help him or her let out any swallowed air. After the baby burps, offer the breast again. Sometimes a baby will want to continue feeding after being burped.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 03, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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