Tips for getting breastfeeding established

Woman standing and breastfeeding babyWith breastfeeding, as with most things in life, getting off to a good start is half the battle. To make your first nipper-to-nipple encounters go as smoothly as possible, we've got Mumsnetters' tips on getting breastfeeding established

  • Get cuddling. As soon after the birth as you can. Lots of lovely skin-to-skin contact is one of the most effective ways to establish breastfeeding.
  • Get comfy. Breastfeeding a newborn can take up to an hour (don't panic: they get quicker as they get older). So, you're going to need somewhere comfortable to sit.
  • Get the 'latch' sorted. This is extremely important to get right because an incorrect latch can cause you pain and can stop your baby getting the nutrition she needs. 
  • Get position savvy. There are loads of different positions you can use to feed your baby. It's worth trying a few out (your midwife should be able to show you how) to see which ones feel most comfortable.
  • Get help. And keep asking for it until you're happy. Your midwife, health visitor and/or breastfeeding counsellor should be able to offer you support and advice but, if you feel you need other expert help or even just some more reassurance, there are excellent helplines you can call.
  • Get real. Breastfeeding a newborn is a full-on occupation. For the first few weeks at least, you will probably be more or less sofa-bound, feeling like an overworked milch cow. At the beginning, feed your baby whenever they are hungry. All babies are different: some will want to be fed little and often; others will spend ages nursing but with larger gaps between feeds.

What Mumsnetters say about establishing breastfeeding

  • The more you keep a brand-new baby skin-to-skin, the more frequently she's likely to come to the breast, hence the quicker your milk will come in. MrsBadger
  • Set up 'feeding stations' in your house with snacks, drinks, TV remote, phone, pillows - and Mumsnet. StarlightMcKenzie
  • In the first week, I had support from my midwife and an NHS breastfeeding counsellor and I still rang the La Lèche League helpline countless times as I was quite unsure but desperate to get it right. I found it all really useful - especially the helplines, as the women who answer the phone are real mums who have breastfed and have trained as counsellors and supporters. GillianLovesMarmite
  • If you think you're feeding too often, you probably have it about right. Pannacotta
  • You need to get your head round the idea that your job is to feed your baby and everything else is someone else's responsibility. The first few days especially, just feed, feed, feed. And, if in doubt, feed. IAteRosemaryConleyForBreakfast
  • Set yourself small goals. Say, 'I will try to feed my baby for two days'. Then, when you complete that time, give yourself a pat on the back and set yourself a new goal. chatee


Image: Shutterstock

Last updated: over 1 year ago