Reviewed by Renee Alli on May 03, 2012

Sources

Jana, L. and Shu, J. "Heading Home With Your Newborn, From Birth to Reality." Shelov, S. and Remer Altmann, T., eds. "The Complete and Authoritative Guide for Caring for Your Baby and Young Child, Birth to Age 5."

© 2011 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

WebMD Archive

Video Transcript

Narrator: Most first-time moms have an idyllic notion about breastfeeding their infants. But what seems to be so natural, may not come naturally at all – at least not at first. We're to help you adjust step by step.

Kelly Hightower, RN: Making sure that your knees are elevated over your hips.

Narrator: Before you nurse, make a habit of taking the time you need to get comfortable and organized to avoid interruption. Cushion yourself with pillows and have some water within reach.

Mom and Baby: Say hi baby girl….

Narrator: Experiment with a position that works best for you and your newborn. The most popular breastfeeding position is the cradle hold.

Kelly Hightower, RN: You want to make sure she's belly to belly.

Narrator: Place a nursing pillow on your lap to elevate and support your newborn – and save you from neck and back strain!

Kelly Hightower, RN: Often times they do need to readjusted by adding extra pillows put her on camera now so that you aren't hunching over ….

Narrator: Use the crook of your arm to prop up baby's head, facing toward your breast. The other arm is free – first, to guide your breast into place – then, to cradle around and beneath the infant, once feeding is underway.

Kelly Hightower, RN: Try to bring his feet WAY back  like a legs up the wall position.

Narrator: With the football hold, cup baby's head in your hand and position the little one's legs beneath your arm and along your side – again, on top of a pillow for support.

Kelly Hightower, RN: Tip yourself way over and if you were here by yourself you would just take this hand and reach behind and tuck…

Narrator: And then there's the side-by-side or lying down position.

Kelly Hightower, RN: So you to bring the baby in nice and close to you and again lining her up nose to nipple.

Narrator: Great for those late-night feedings or whenever you are weary…

Kelly Hightower, RN: So what we're practicing here is the prone position or what's called the down under position because you're down under your baby. It's a very instinctual position for the baby … Chin, nice and close-now if he opens his eyes-look at him, he's peeking right at you …

Narrator: What do you do when there is more than one? If you are breastfeeding twins, it can make a world of difference if you learn to nurse both babies at once – using the football hold. Alternatively, have your partner pitch in – by feeding one baby a bottle of expressed milk – while you're nursing the other. Now that you're in position, the next step is for baby to latch correctly onto the breast. Without a good latch – the baby can't get a sufficient feed – and the mother can end up sore – or even worse – with nipples that are cracked or blistered. You can help your newborn catch on to the latch – step by step. First, try to express a few drops of milk before you nurse to encourage letdown and interest baby Then, allow your little one's head to tilt slightly back, so baby is looking at you.

Kelly Hightower, RN: Having her nose to nipple makes her head have to tip back you want to tickle her ... that's it …

Narrator: Gently stroke around the mouth and cheeks to stimulate the rooting reflex.

Kelly Hightower, RN: You can make her wait until there is a nice big wide gape. Nice big and wide.

Narrator: When the mouth opens wide, nestle baby close with baby's chin firmly on the breast with your finger, guide your nipple into the top of the mouth – above the tongue.

Kelly Hightower, RN: There you go, he's sticking his tongue out.

Narrator: That's important. The baby's tongue must go under the breast - and baby's mouth over the nipple and around the darker area or areola. Finish with baby's lips flared out – like fish lips – around your nipple. That allows baby to suckle in a way that draws out the milk.

Kelly Hightower, RN: Perfect, very nice, you always want to use the finger to break that seal so it doesn't cause trauma…

Narrator: If at first you don't succeed – don't give up. Take a break and try again-you and baby can do it!

Kelly Hightower, RN: Nice…go ahead….

Narrator: Then, when feeding begins, make sure baby's nose is not pressed completely against your breast – and that there is ample space to breathe. Remember, breastfeeding can take some getting used to for both baby and mom. So don't be shy about asking for help. There's no shortage of assistance from nurses to your pediatrician to lactation specialists who will come right to your home. For WebMD, I'm Dr. Tanya Altmann.

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