Every baby is different. And every mom and baby may approach breastfeeding a little differently. But here is a general approach to a breastfeeding session that you may want to try, until you get more comfortable and figure out what works best for both you and your baby.
Most breastfed newborns eat every 1.5 to three hours because their stomachs are so small. Encourage your baby to feed often.
After the first week or so, most babies will let you know when they are hungry by bringing their hands to their mouths, making rooting or sucking motions, or becoming very active. Get to know your baby’s feeding cues and answer them. This is called demand feeding.
When your baby signals she is ready to eat, sit in a comfortable position using a pillow to support your baby and have your baby facing the breast you are going to start with. Each time you nurse your baby, switch the breast you begin feeding with. Most newborns usually don’t empty the second breast as well as the first and this will help make sure that both breasts are equally stimulated.
Make sure your baby’s ears, shoulders and hips are in good alignment. Help your baby to latch-on properly. Hold his head with one hand and guide your nursing breast to his mouth, aiming your nipple at his nose.
When he does open his mouth wide, pull him on to you.
Make sure you keep most of your areola, the dark part around your nipple, in his mouth. His nose and cheeks should be touching your breast and his chin should make a slight indent into your breast.
There’s no need to make an airway. Your baby can breathe fine.
If your baby does not latch-on properly, or if you feel any pain, take your baby off your breast by sweeping your finger in her mouth to break the suction and try again. When your baby does latch on and begin to suck, you may feel a tingling or pulling sensation.
You can tell your baby is actively feeding when his jaws are moving and you can hear his rhythmic swallowing.
Nurse with the first breast for as long as your baby wishes; your breast should soften as you feed. If your child falls asleep after getting just a little milk, you may need to encourage your baby to continue the feeding. To stimulate your sleepy baby, try changing his diaper, changing positions, or rubbing his back, head or the bottom of his feet. You can also wipe his face with a wet washcloth.
After finishing with the first breast, burp your baby before offering him the second. To burp your baby, place your child across your lap, or on your shoulder, and pat the baby’s back. You can also burp your newborn by sitting her sideways in your lap and patting her back while you hold her chin steady with your thumb and forefinger. Then begin feeding with the second breast.
Newborns will usually tell you when they are finished nursing by falling asleep or turning away. After a feeding, your baby should look relaxed and content.
With time, you and your baby will begin to get into a comfortable breastfeeding routine. Enjoy this time of calm bonding with your baby and allow yourself to feel content and relaxed as a mom.