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4 Steps For A Successful Breastfeeding Session

1. A baby who wakes up alert, quiet and cueing to feed.

2. A baby that becomes aroused as you get set up for a feeding.

3. A baby that opens her mouth eagerly.

4. A baby that latches pain free.

On the road to Blissville:

1. Keep your baby close 

It’s instinctual for a baby who awakens without her mother nearby to be frightened. She needs your familiar scent, your soothing voice and your warmth for a sense of security. With your prompt and nurturing attention, she learns that her communication cues will be responded to, she trusts that her needs will be met and is content.

 2. Establish a ritual 

Alert all your senses to feeding time. Drink your favorite beverage - taste, listen to your familiar music - hear, burn incense - smell. This is about establishing rituals that trigger your brain and your baby’s brain to shift thoughts and energy toward breastfeeding. Your body will respond to these environmental cues with feelings of relaxation and a milk let down and your baby will recognize and be stimulated by the sounds and aromas associated with feeding and satisfaction.

3. Belly - chest - chin to breast 

When your baby feels secure in her 3-point positioning and her body is aligned, she will open her mouth, searching for your nipple. Belly, chest and chin... these 3 zones need pressure to stimulate her brain to cause an opened mouth response. Raise your baby to be level with your nipple, she can be lying on top of you or on pillows. Lean back and pull her in close, belly against belly. Feel her ribcage against you. With her lifted chin pushing into your breast, wrap your arm around her and gently push her butt or the soles of her feet propelling her up onto your breast. Guide her mouth up and over the top of your nipple. You should be able to do this without holding your breast up.

4. Baby on top - Laid back breastfeeding 

Many, many positions can be used for a satisfying feeding. Lying back, with your baby on top of your breast, uses gravity instead of fighting it. Your nipple will not pull to the front of your baby’s mouth as you tire of holding her up to the level of your breast... OUCH. No more back strain from leaning forward over into her. Relax back against your pillows... AAH. Your baby will draw your nipple deeply into her mouth in this position and can self-adjust. If too much milk is coming out, she will open her mouth slightly and let the excess escape. Too much nipple? She will pull her head back so she doesn’t choke. Here’s a short video showing a comfy position for laid back breastfeeding. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYRg8DTbZCc

When your baby is sucking and swallowing, rhythmically and continuously... she’s getting milk.

When you are settled back and pain free and no one is crying... she’s getting milk.

When she detaches spontaneously... milk still in her mouth, and gazes up at you lovingly... it’s BLISS.

Paula Zindler
RN IBCLC

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