How to Breastfeed | Emma's Diary India

Baby By Month



Sign up Today Watch Now

How to breastfeed


Tips to help you breastfeed your baby

It can take a while for you and your newborn to learn how to breastfeed but once you have mastered the skill it can be a wonderful, satisfying experience.

First feeds

Having skin-to-skin contact immediately after the birth will encourage your baby to feed straight away.

The colostrum that your breasts naturally produce for your baby after the birth is the best food you can give her. This first milk contains everything your baby needs to thrive and grow and is also rich in the antibodies that will protect her from infection and help to make her immune system strong.

Breast milk

Breast milk is the only food your baby needs for the first six months of life because, as she grows, the natural composition of your breast milk will change to meet her needs.

The fat content of your milk increases as your baby feeds, so that as your breast empties the fat content is higher than at the beginning of the feed. Allowing your baby to empty the breast before offering the other one means that she will get both the lower fat milk (foremilk) at the beginning of the feed and the nutrient-rich higher fat milk (hind milk).

Babies who are feeding well will get the right intake and the right type of milk to satisfy their needs.

How to breastfeed

Feed your baby whenever she seems hungry - this could be as much about 10 to 12 times in 24 hours at first. By responding to her needs you will not only satisfy her hunger but will also be offering her reassurance and comfort.

Known as baby-led feeding, or "responsive feeding" - this will help to build up your milk supply and prevent your breasts from becoming uncomfortably full. Feeds can take any time from 10 to 40 minutes so make sure you are comfortable and that your baby is ‘latched on’ properly.

  • Make sure you are sitting in a comfortable chair that supports your back.
  • Hold your baby close with her chest against your chest and her nose in line with your nipple so that she can reach the breast easily. Her head, shoulders and body should be in a straight line.
  • Your baby’s chin should be touching the breast as this stimulates your baby’s mouth to open wide.
  • When she opens her mouth really wide (you can encourage this by brushing her lips with the nipple) then move her, with her head back and chin towards the breast, so that her bottom lip touches the breast as far away from the base of the nipple as possible. This way your nipple will be pointing towards the roof of her mouth.
  • Your baby is properly latched on when her mouth is wide open and she has a big mouthful of breast.
  • Her bottom lip should be curled back and you can see more areola (the dark area around the nipple) above her top lip than below her bottom one.
  • Once she is attached you will notice her sucking pattern changes from short sucks to long deep sucks with pauses.
  • Never restrict the time that your baby feeds. She will let you know when she’s satisfied by either letting go of your breast or falling asleep.
  • Don’t limit feeding if your nipples are sore, rather get the doctor or nurse to check your baby’s positioning. If you want to remove your baby from the breast, gently insert a finger into her mouth to release the suction.
  • Let her feed for as long as she wants on one breast before changing to the other. Always start each feed on alternate breasts.
  • Try to relax as this will help your milk supply which will increase the speed with which your baby feeds.
  • Babies have growth spurts so your baby may want to feed more often during these until your milk supply increases to meet the bigger demand. If you can, let your baby feed as much as she wants to for 24 hours while someone else manages the rest of the household and looks after you.

If you need help

If you encounter any difficulties don't stop feeding, contact dedicated breastfeeding organisations for support such as La Leche League of IndiaCAPPA INDIA or Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India.

Sign up Today Watch Now