Newborn Care: Breastfeeding

Information, tips and advice on how to breastfeed your baby effectively and when to wean.
Breastfeeding is a special moment between you and your child. Here are some breastfeeding how-tos, latching techniques and common baby hunger cues that you'll need to recognize especially if you are beginning breastfeeding.

You should start breastfeeding as soon as possible after giving birth to improve your chance of setting up an ideal breastfeeding relationship with your newborn. This is the time your baby's sucking reflexes are strongest.

Effective Breastfeeding

A baby that breastfeeds effectively cues (displays readiness) for feedings, latches on deeply at the breast and draws milk forward from the breast into his mouth. Most newborn babies will eat 8 to 12 times everyday initially. The actual nursing frequency varies, depending on how efficiently your baby consumes milk, your milk supply and your baby's weight. As your baby becomes more efficient at eating, he will need to eat less often.

Recognizing Feeding Cues

Effective feeding requires that you recognize your baby's hunger cues. Watch your baby and begin breastfeeding when you see him demonstrate a feeding cue such as licking, sucking on the hands, bobbing the head against the mattress or your neck, placing hands on the face or mouth, or squawking. Crying is a late feeding cue, and many babies have difficulty latching once they become frustrated and begin to cry.
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