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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 each feeding, nurse your baby for 15–20 minutes on each 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.
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.
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.
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.