Guide: Breastfeeding 101

Breastfeeding doesn't come naturally to every mother, it takes practice. You'll find once you start it's one of the best ways to bond with your baby and a natural way to protect your baby in those early stages.

 

The best form of nutrition you can give your newborn baby is breast milk. In fact, it’s so good that baby won’t need anything else until he’s 6 months old.

This is because breast milk:

•  has all the nutrients a baby needs in the early months

•  has antibodies to protect babies against illnesses

•  lessens a child’s likelihood of getting type 2 diabetes later in life

•  increases intelligence

•  it is cheap

Breastfeeding helps mums too they are less likely to get breast and ovarian cancer later in life and they can get back to their normal size before they got pregnant much faster.

 

Getting started

Even though breastfeeding is natural, it takes a bit of practice to get used to. Learn as much about breastfeeding as you can, so you know what to look out for.

 

After the birth

Hold your newborn baby against your skin. This will help trigger his instinct to breastfeed and him to have his first feed as soon as possible – preferably within the first hour after birth.

After that, let your baby feed whenever he wants. Some mums worry about not having enough milk, but feeding itself will help build up the milk supply because the more he feeds, the more milk you’ll produce. At first, it may seem like baby feeds a lot, but this will soon settle down into a routine.

Try to avoid letting visitors pass your baby around in the first few days. Keeping him close to you will help you notice the signs that he needs to feed.

 

Getting into position

To feed properly, your baby needs to get lots of your breast into his mouth, not just the nipple. Getting in the right position will help him do this.

  • Get into a comfortable position where you sitting or lying down and get support for your back.
  • Let your baby face you with his nose level with your nipple so he can reach your breast with his head tipped back.
  • Hold him close, so he can reach your breast easily. Make sure his head and body are in a straight line.
  • Support the back of his head with your palm or his shoulders with your forearm.

You might need to experiment with positioning to find what’s comfortable, but persevere – breastfeeding gets easier the more you do it.

 

To learn more about baby feeding, read our article Breastfeeding.

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