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How to Breastfeed a Baby? How Long to Breastfeed?

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a mom breastfeeding her baby

Breastfeeding may be the way nature intended for a baby to eat, but it can still be necessary to learn how to breastfeed a baby. Learn how to breastfeed a baby, as well as how long you should breastfeed.

One of the most important things to remember is that your baby needs to have more than just the nipple in his mouth. Having part of the breast in his mouth will help massage the breast and express the milk. Many moms find it's more comfortable to have a nursing pillow or two to use as support, rather than just holding their babies in their arms.

How to Breastfeed a Baby? Positioning Advice

Your baby should be lying horizontally with his hips, shoulders and forehead in a straight line. One basic position is to be tummy-to-tummy while you position his head and shoulders with your fingers and thumb.

You'll want your nipple just at your baby's nose. Use a C-shaped hold with your hand to support your breast underneath and on top of your nipple.

Tickle your baby's mouth with your nipple and wait for him to open his mouth wide. When his mouth is open, bring him to you, putting your nipple under the roof of his mouth. The nipple should be at the back of his throat and his bottom lip should be on the areola, not the nipple itself.

His chin should be pushing into your breast, his nose should be clear and his cheek should just touch your breast. You should be able to see a little bit of areola above his top lip. Try not to hold your breast away from his nose with your fingers, as this can create an unnatural and painful latch. If your breast is blocking his nose, reposition his bottom closer to your body. This should create a clear nose passageway.

Until your baby has started actively eating, hold him very close. Once he has started eating, you can move your hand underneath him. If your arm is tired, a pillow can help support it. If you're not sure how long to breastfeed, let your baby decide how long he wants to eat.

If you have more questions about how to breastfeed a baby, talk to your healthcare provider or a lactation consultant for help.

 
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