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February 7, 2019 | OB/GYN
When you breastfeed, you’ll need to stay in one place for a long time, and if you don’t start out in a comfortable position, the process may seem even longer. If you need to use pillows to support yourself, go ahead and do so.
As your baby feeds, you should notice a rhythmic pattern of sucking and swallowing. If this pattern is not present, your baby may not have latched on properly. If you don’t notice the rhythm, release the suction and start again.
If possible, avoid giving your baby bottles or pacifiers until he or she is at least four weeks old. There’s a difference between the way your baby sucks on a bottle or pacifier and the way your baby sucks on your breast. Babies who receive pacifiers or constantly switch back and forth between the bottle and breast may develop difficulty latching on—a term called “nipple confusion.” Although nipple confusion is often correctable, it is better to avoid it altogether. Bottles and pacifiers can wait until the baby gets a little older.
Breastfeeding is like any other skill; you probably won’t do it perfectly the first time, but the more you practice, the better you’ll get. Here are some things to try to avoid.
In other words, don’t lean forward in order to put your breast within the baby’s reach. Holding such an awkward position for an extended period of time will tire you out quickly. Instead, bring your baby to your breast by cradling him or her close to your body.
Do this by taking your finger and inserting it into the corner of the baby’s mouth.
Your baby knows better than you do when he or she needs to eat and how much, so follow your baby’s lead. Don’t try to force your baby to nurse at certain times, don’t release your baby from the breast before he or she is finished and if your baby shows no interest in the second breast, don’t force the issue.
Above all else, be patient. Your doctor or a lactation consultant can help you learn how to breastfeed properly, and you and your baby will work as a team to figure it out as you go. Most mothers ultimately find breastfeeding to be well worth the effort.
“Breast-feeding tips: What new moms need to know.” Mayo Clinic.
“What is Nipple Confusion and How to Resolve It.” Medela.
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.