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How to Breastfeed

Babies use their lips, gums, and tongue to suckle (take milk from the breast). Your baby is born with an instinct for suckling. But it takes time for you and your baby to learn how to breastfeed. There are steps you can take to support your baby’s natural instincts.

Newborns should be nursed every 2–3 hours, day and night, for a minimum of eight feedings in 24 hours.  Getting the baby to latch on correctly is the most important step to successful breastfeeding.

Offering your breast

Offering Your Breast

Hold your breast with your thumb on top and fingers underneath. Gently touch your nipple to your baby’s lips. When you see your baby open his mouth wide, quickly bring the baby to your breast. As you get ready for the baby to latch on, take slow, deep breaths. This will help the milk flow.


Latching On

Latching On

The way your baby connects with the breast is called the latch. Be sure your baby’s tongue is under your nipple. The nipple and as much as possible of the areola (the dark ring around your nipple) should  be in your baby’s mouth. Turn the baby’s entire body toward you, with her nose and chin against the breast. If a latch pinches or hurts, gently release the latch and try again.


Releasing the latch

Releasing the Latch

Slip your finger into the corner of your baby’s mouth. You should feel the suction break. Only when the seal is broken, move your baby off your breast. Don’t take the baby off your breast until you’ve felt a decrease in suction.

Burping Your Baby

Try to burp your baby after each breast.

  • Hold the baby at your upper chest or slightly over your shoulder. Gently rub or pat the baby’s back.

  • Or hold the baby sitting up on your lap. Support her head and chest in front and in back. Slowly rock her back and forth.

© 2000-2017 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.