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Tips for Making It Work

These tips will help you breastfeed your infant successfully and comfortably. If you still have problems, contact a lactation consultant or other breastfeeding support person right away.

Breastfeed early and often, starting as soon as possible after birth. If you had a vaginal birth you can breastfeed your baby immediately. If you had a c-section or general anesthesia after the birth for a surgery, you should be able to breastfeed your baby as soon as you are both in the recovery room.

Breastfeed your newborn at least eight to twelve times through the day and night.

Keep your new baby in the hospital room with you (called “rooming in”) instead of sending him or her to sleep in the hospital nursery. This will allow you to feed your baby at the first sign of hunger, before he or she begins to cry. Hungry infants often grow more alert and active before they become upset. They may put their hands or fists to their mouth, make sucking motions, or turn their heads looking for the breast.

Make sure your baby is latched well onto the underside of your breast, not just the nipple. You should both feel comfortable and relaxed while nursing. Let your baby decide whether to take both breasts at a feeding or only one. Allow your baby to finish the first breast, then offer the second if he or she is still hungry. Your baby will let you know when he or she is finished, letting go of the breast and often falling asleep.

Hold your baby close. Remember, this is a brand-new world for your baby. He or she will feel comforted from feeling your skin and hearing your heartbeat. You will help your baby cry less and stabilize your baby’s heart and breathing rates.

Unless you have a medical reason for it, don’t give your baby pacifiers, bottles, or formula in the first few weeks after birth. Stick with exclusive breastfeeding to get you and your baby used to nursing and avoid any interference with your milk supply.

Let your baby sleep in your room at home, although not in your bed, to make nighttime feedings easier.


Ways to wake your baby to breastfeed

In the early weeks after birth, you should nurse your baby every four hours at least and wake him or her if necessary to do this. You can:

  • remove your baby’s blanket
  • change your baby’s diaper
  • hold your baby against your skin
  • massage your baby on the back, belly, arms and legs.

Portions adapted from material provided through womenshealth.gov