In this article I will only give basic tips, and descriptions. But as I always say in one way or another, nothing replaces human support, touch and guidance. So if you are having a tough time please seek the help you need from your doctor, your midwife, your doula, a friend or a relative. Even better would be to have the support of many of these wonderful people in your life. Support is what every woman needs during this new, exciting and very vulnerable time in life. Additionally, professional lactation consultants are great, as well as La Leche League leaders.
Before feeding, make sure that you are in a comfortable position. It pains me to see new mothers nursing in awkward positions in order to get milk to their babies as soon as possible. Babies can wait a minute or more, even if they’re really hungry and crying that heart-wrenching cry that mothers are wired to respond to as quickly as humanly possible. Keep in mind that you will be nursing many times each day, seven days a week, for several more months. Additionally, you will be holding and rocking your baby for years. You must take care of your body, so that you can continue to take good care of your family. So, when it comes to breastfeeding, whenever you can (I know it’s not always practical when you’re out of the house, or when taking care of older children in various rooms) sit in a comfortable chair, prop your arms up with pillows, or use a nursing pillow. Be sure to bring the baby up to your breast. Do not slouch down to bring your breast to your baby.
1. Start by tickling your baby’s bottom lip with your nipple. Your aim is to entice her to open her mouth wide. If your baby is not opening her mouth wide she may need some help. You can try to help her by pulling her chin down with the index finger of your hand that is holding your breast. Try tilting her head back slightly while you pull on her chin.
2. Quickly help your baby as soon as she opens her mouth wide. Push her towards your nipple. Do this with the palm of your hand on her back, shoulders and/or neck so that you’re not jolting her head forward.
If you are still experiencing difficulty helping your baby latch on, you may find that trying new positions is helpful. For more information about nursing positions see “More Nursing Positions”.