Guide to Breastfeeding | Emma's Diary India

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Beginners guide to breastfeeding

Guide to Breastfeeding

Get your breastfeeding advice here

While breastfeeding comes naturally to your baby, it is a skill that you will find improves with practice. Once you've mastered it you'll find that breastfeeding is the easiest and most satisfying way to feed your baby.

It shouldn’t hurt, but you may feel some tenderness when your baby latches on in the first few weeks.


However you hold your baby to feed him, it's important to find a position which is comfortable for you and which allows your baby to latch on easily.

  • Make sure your back and arms are well supported with pillows. You may find it helps to raise your feet a little, perhaps by putting them on a low stool or even resting them on a pile of books on the floor.
  • Position your baby close to you, holding him so that he doesn’t need to turn his head to reach the breast. His mouth and nose should be facing your nipple and his body should be facing your front. Your shoulders, arms and wrists should be relaxed and most of your baby’s weight should be on your body.

Latching on

Encourage your baby to open his mouth really wide by lightly brushing his lips with your nipple. Once his mouth is open wide his head should be slightly tilted back so that his nose is at the level of your nipple.

Draw him onto the breast, chin first, so that at least half an inch of the breast below the base of the nipple goes in to his mouth. This way your nipple will be pointing towards the roof of your baby’s mouth.

If you feel comfortable the latch-on is good.

If you experience any discomfort or your milk doesn’t begin to flow, or if you feel pain when your milk does begin to flow, detach your baby gently from the breast by inserting a clean little finger in to his mouth between his jaw and tongue to release the suction, and then try again.

Points to check:

  • Your baby’s chin should be touching your breast and his nose should be clear.
  • His bottom lip should be curled back.
  • You should be able to see more areola (the dark area around the nipple) above his top lip than below his bottom one.

Your baby will suck without swallowing when he is first offered the breast. This sucking encourages your breast to let down milk.

Once the milk starts to flow, you will see your baby’s jaw working all the way back to his ear and his swallowing pattern will change from short sucks to long deep sucks with pauses.

If your baby is correctly latched on you will feel a deep pulling sensation in your breast.

If your nipples become sore

  • The first thing to check is your baby's positioning to make sure he is latching on correctly.
  • Gently rub a few drops of your milk on your nipples after a feed and let them air dry.
  • A small amount of purified lanolin may help with healing.
  • Wear a cotton maternity bra and change your breast pads at each feed.

Further help and advice

If you have any questions or concerns about breastfeeding, there is a lot of help and support available.

  • Ask your doctor or contact your hospital.
  • Read advice and recommendation on breastfeeding provided by the Ministry of Health India in conjunction with World Health Organisation Ministry of Health & Family Welfare
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