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  • How do I breastfeed my baby?

    How do I breastfeed my baby?

    How you choose to feed your baby is entirely your decision. It’s good to know all of your options from the outset to help you make the choice that’s right for you, your partner and your baby.

    Why should I breastfeed my baby?

    Breastfeeding helps to give your baby the best start in life. Not only does breastmilk give your baby the nutrients they need to protect them from infections and diseases, it also provides you with many health benefits too.

    Your guide to breastfeeding

    You’ve probably already noticed that the advice you receive about breastfeeding can vary from one person to the next. That’s because every new parent masters their own techniques, it just takes a little bit of practice.

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    Happy mother and baby

    How often should I breastfeed?

    Your newborn baby has a tiny stomach and can only drink a small amount of milk at a time. You will probably feed them little and often, usually around 8 or more times a day. Rest assured they will let you know when they’re hungry.

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    Healthy baby

    Step1

    Before you start, make sure that you are comfortable. Sit down with your back straight and supported by cushions. To help bring your baby closer to your breast, place a cushion on your lap, this way you can relax your shoulders and arms.

    Step2

    Hold your baby across your lap, resting their head in the crook of your arm. Try and position them in a straight line so their head and body are aligned - this will make it easier for them to swallow. Make sure their nose is facing your nipple and you are supporting their neck, shoulders and back as they tilt their head back.

    Step3

    Once your baby’s nose is opposite your nipple they should open their mouth wide enough to cover your nipple and the lower part of your areola. If they don’t open their mouth, you can encourage this by gently stroking their lips with your nipple.

    Step4

    You will know if your baby has latched on well if your nipple is pointed towards the roof of their mouth and their chin is touching your breast. Once your milk begins to flow you will be able to hear your baby swallowing. As you continue to feed, your breasts will start to feel tingly which is completely normal.

    Step5

    After feeding, offer your other breast in case your baby is still hungry. If they’ve had enough they will usually let go or fall asleep. Just try to remember to offer the breast you haven’t used next time.

    Is my baby getting enough milk?

    Your baby will get into their own feeding routine, feeding frequently throughout the day will stimulate a steady milk supply as your body will produce milk if it’s being used.

    If you’re not sure that your baby is drinking enough milk, look out for these signs of success:

    • You hear your baby swallow during feeding
    • Your baby produces around six wet nappies and two soft, yellow poos a day.
    • Your baby steadily gains weight
    • Your baby seems satisfied after a feed
    • Your breasts feel soft after feeding

    If you’re still unsure, watch out for your baby’s “I’m hungry” cues, such as:

    • Crying
    • Restlessness
    • Sucking their hands or fingers
    • ‘Rooting’ - turning their head and opening their mouth as if they’re ready to latch on

    Ask for help

    Breastfeeding and the pressure to breastfeed can be intimidating for new mums, particularly if this is your first baby.

    Remember, you’re not alone. Lean on your other half for a bit of moral support if you’re struggling. You can also talk to your mum friends or join some online forums for advice. Or if you’re interested in getting support in your local area, ask your midwife for recommendations

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    A walk in nature with baby helps reduce the pressure of breastfeeding.