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How to start breastfeeding

Staying healthy is as much as you can do to prepare your body for breastfeeding. But learning as much as you can about breastfeeding before your baby is born will help you when the time comes.  Read how to prepare for breastfeeding, and encourage your partner to learn about it too, so he’s ready to support you. 

  • Feeds can take anything from five minutes to 40 minutes, so find a comfortable place before you start. In the early days of breastfeeding, when you’re still trying to get the hang of it, creating the right atmosphere is important.
  • If you’re easily distracted by noise, find somewhere quiet. If you tend to get bored, you may want to feed with the radio or television on, but only if breastfeeding is going well. Try different spots until you find what works for you.
  • Hold your baby in a position that won’t make your arms and back ache. Have cushions or pillows nearby to support you or your baby. Laid-back breastfeeding involves lying on your back, so that your baby can rest on your body, while your hands are free to support her. Or try the cradle hold, which means cradling your baby across your chest, raised up on a cushion or pillow. It depends on what’s most comfortable for you.
  • Get yourself and your baby in a relaxed position before you start feeding. Pay attention to how your breasts feel when your baby latches on. She should take in a big mouthful of breast tissue.
  • If you have large breasts, you may find it more comfortable to lie on your side while feeding, or you may want to try holding your baby under your arm in a rugby ball position.
  • If latching on hurts, break the suction by gently inserting your little finger between your baby’s gums and your nipple, and try again. Once your baby latches on properly, she’ll be able to do the rest.

Though some women take to breastfeeding easily, many new mums find it hard to get going. So if you’re feeling discouraged, you’re not alone. Talk to your community midwife, or ask to be referred to a breastfeeding specialist, if you’re having problems. She can watch you feed your baby, and suggest ways to make it easier.  The National Childbirth Trust, La Leche League and The Breastfeeding Network can put you in touch with skilled supporters.

Breastfeeding takes practice, and is a skill that you and your baby will be learning from scratch. Give yourself as much time as you need to get it down to a fine art. Take it a day, a week, or even just one feed, at a time. If you’re having a bad feeding day, tell yourself that tomorrow will be better, and that any problems you are having are likely to pass. By the time of your postnatal check, you’ll probably be breastfeeding without giving it a second thought. If not, ask for support.

Original article: https://www.babycentre.co.uk/a613/breastfeeding-for-beginners