Breast-feeding is one of the earliest and most natural ways in which a new mother bonds with her newborn. It is the first way to get to know your little one. Having said that, it’s important to remember that breastfeeding is new to your baby as well as to you, and you may both need enough practice before you feel like you've got it right.
Here are a few ways to ensure that you as a parent are doing it right -
- If all else goes smoothly, your baby's first feed can take place straight after birth. Make sure you both are comfortable. Getting your baby 'latched on' right means you’re bound to be at ease, and your baby will get a good feed too.
- You may need to support your breast from underneath with your hand, but make sure you don’t have your fingers near your nipple or areola as you could prevent your baby getting a good mouthful of breast milk.
- Don’t try to 'post' your nipple into your baby's mouth - it's 'baby to breast' not 'breast to baby', so bring your child on when their mouth is wide open.
- Even at this early stage, the way the baby feeds from your breast is very important. If it's not done right, breast-feeding can make you sore and lead to an unsatisfying feed for your baby.
- If you’re wondering about which breast to use or not use, follow what your baby wants to do. Some babies want both breasts at each feed, and you can offer the second when your baby seems to take a break. If your little one doesn't want it, just offer the 'unused' breast next time.
- Sometimes, it can help to massage the breast to stimulate the flow of milk.
- This can all be quite tricky at first, and it can be helpful to have a midwife with you to guide you into latching on correctly.