There are many mothers' groups, health organizations, and health care provider associations that provide very detailed information and support on how to breastfeed. The following overview is provided for information only—it is not meant to take the place of a health care provider or lactation consultant's advice or recommendation. Visit the
Resources and Publications section to find the names of some breastfeeding organizations.
Infants who are hungry will nuzzle against their mother's breast and make sucking motions or will put their hands in their mouths. During the first weeks after birth, you may nurse your infant often, perhaps as often as eight to 12 times in 24 hours.1
After your infant is born, follow these tips for getting started:2
Infants will naturally move their head while looking and feeling for a breast to feed. There are many ways to start feeding your infant, and the best approach is the one that works for you and your infant. The steps below can help with getting your infant to "latch" on to the breast for feeding.2
A good latch is important for both effective breastfeeding and your own comfort. Review the following signs to determine whether your infant has a good latch:2
To break the suction and end a breastfeeding session, insert a clean finger between your breast and your infant's gums. After you hear a soft pop, pull your nipple out of your infant's mouth.1
You should allow your infant to set his or her own nursing pattern. Many newborns will feed for 10 to 15 minutes on each breast. If your infant wants to nurse for a much longer period—say 30 minutes or longer on each breast—he or she may not be getting enough milk.1
For more information, visit the Office on Women's Health's page on learning
how to breastfeed your infant.
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