Breastfeeding within an hour after birth will give you the best start.
This is because it will release hormones (oxytocin), which stimulate the production of milk. Extensive studies have shown that it leads to a longer and more successful experience with breastfeeding. Here is a step-by-step guide:
- Lay your baby skin-to-skin as directed above (if possible). Research has shown that many babies immediately placed skin-to-skin after birth will latch on and start breastfeeding all by themselves.
- Turn your baby's whole body toward you, chest to chest.
- Touch her upper lip with your nipple, and, when she opens her mouth wide, pull her onto your breast, holding your breast for support. Her mouth should cover not just the nipple but as much of the areola (the darker part surrounding it) as possible.
- Don't worry if your baby has trouble breastfeeding. It requires patience and lots of practice. Ask a nurse or friend with breastfeeding experience for help. You can also call one of our breastfeeding experts for free advice anytime.
- Breastfeeding should not be painful. If it is, try fixing the latch that you have as best you can by pushing the baby’s bottom into your body with your forearm. This will tip the baby’s head back so her nose is in ‘sniffing position’. If necessary, try gently pulling down the baby’s chin and/or bottom lip so he has more of the areola in her mouth.