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Latching On

When your baby starts to suck you may feel some tenderness.  Within a minute, it should be painless and feel like a tug.  If you feel discomfort throughout the feeding, take the baby off the breast by breaking the seal with your finger and begin latching on again.

The following steps will help your baby latch on properly:

  1. Support your breast with your four fingers below the breast and your thumb on top, without touching the areola - the "C-hold".
  2. With your nipple, stroke the baby's lower lip until he opens his mouth wide (like a yawn).  This may take a number of attempts.
  3. As soon as the baby opens wide, quickly bring the baby in close to the breast. Do not lean towards the baby or push your breast into the baby's mouth.
  4. The baby should have the entire nipple and at least some of the areola in his mouth.
  5. The baby can be held close enough so his nose touches your breast. Babies have broad noses and can breathe out the sides. The baby will pull her head away if he cannot breathe.  It is not necessary to push down on your breast.
  6. Once latched on, the baby's lips are flanged out and relaxed. If either top or bottom lip are rolled in, it may be uncomfortable for the mother.
  7. Your baby should have a rhythmic suck and swallowing should be heard on a regular basis.

The first 1-2 days, your baby may be very sleepy and you may need to wake your baby to nurse.  Feedings may be 2-5 hours apart during this time.  Attempt frequently to help your baby learn to breastfeed.