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Evidence continues to mount demonstrating that breastfeeding is extremely beneficial

for both mother and baby’s health. The American College of Obstetricians and

Gynecologist recommends that breast feeding be continued through approximately 6

months of age and is the preferred method of feeding for infants. Although

breastfeeding is a natural act women can encounter difficulties as mom and baby learn

to feed together.


One important first step in breastfeeding is establishing skin-to-skin contact This is

where baby and mom are touching skin to skin – often accomplished by laying baby on

mom’s chest. This contact has been show to improve breastfeeding and should begin

while the mom is still in the hospital. Babies love close contact and feel comfortable

with mom’s touch and smell.


Another important step in breastfeeding is having proper latch-on. This will help prevent

sore nipples. To start it is important that mom is in a comfortable position – not

straining. Mom should have her back supported and have pillows available to support

her arms/baby. Next, the baby should be positioned so that he/she is not uncomfortable

either. The baby should not have to turn his/her head to feed. As mom supports the

breast she can encourage the baby to open wide by tickling the baby’s bottom lip and

then pull baby close to her. As she draws the baby near, the baby’s chin should press

against the breast and the nose will be touching the breast. If the baby does not open

wide! try again. Once latched on~ make sure to support the baby’s head and back.

Once the baby has finished feeding, he/she will often release on their own. But if not,

you can place a finger in the corner of the baby’s mouth and press down gently to

release the seal.


Other questions women often have center around milk supply and how often to feed. In

general babies typically eat 8-12 times in a 24 hour period which averages out to every

2-3 hours. Milk supply follows the laws of supply and demand. As babies require more

milk they will nurse more often leading to an increase in mom’s supply. Babies will have

growth spurts at about 2-3 weeks and again at 6 weeks. During this time mom will

notice an increase in feeds.


There are many questions I had myself when I breastfed my 3 children. One very

useful resource I found was La Leche League International. They can be found online

at llli.org. They have lists of frequently asked questions that were extremely helpful.

You realize that you are not alone and many women share the same concerns. They

also have an online chat forum where you can ask a lactation consultant specific

questions about your breastfeeding concerns.


Breastfeeding can be a wonderful experience for mom and baby that will also have

many lasting health benefits.