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Nursing Your Baby A QUICK REFERENCE GUIDE Why is Breast Best? Breastfeeding (also called nursing) provides the perfect nutrition for your baby. Milk from your breasts is the only thing your baby needs from birth through six months, and babies benefit from continued breastfeeding through a year or longer while you gradually introduce other foods. Breastfeeding gives a jump start to your baby’s immune system, so by breastfeeding, you are helping protect your baby from infections, allergies, asthma, diabetes, obesity and cancer. Breastfeeding also gives you added protection from diseases like diabetes, cancer and osteoporosis. Starting Out Right e r P Skin-to-skin contact with your newborn immediately at birth will help you both get off to a great start. Given the chance and time, many newborns will use their rooting instincts and senses to find their own way to the breast and latch on with very little assistance. This is often called “baby-led breastfeeding.” When possible, delay all non- essential newborn procedures and stay skin-to-skin with your baby for at least an hour after birth and after the first feeding. Baby-led breastfeeding can be done at every feeding, although some babies benefit from a little more active help. Be patient while you and your baby learn what works best. When to Feed w e i v Getting a Good Latch A comfortable latch is important for successful breastfeeding. To achieve this, baby’s mouth opens wide and takes in a large amount of areola (the darker skin surrounding the nipple). Newborns need to nurse frequently (which may be as often as every 20 minutes to 2-3 hours) and should not be put on a feeding schedule. Feed baby when he shows signs of hunger, including: • Smacking lips or using tongue. • Squirming, fussing or searching for breast. • Note that crying is a late sign of hunger. Her tongue curls around the bottom of the nipple and pulls it deep into her mouth. Her lips are flared and her chin is touching the breast with her head tipped back slightly. When baby is ready to nurse, recline comfortably with pillows for support and place baby skin-to-skin on your chest. Give your baby time to find her way to the breast and latch. If she needs more help, you can line up baby’s nose to your nipple, use your nipple to tickle baby’s lips and wait for her to open wide. When she does, gently guide her open mouth toward your nipple, supporting her neck and back. If the latch is uncomfortable, place your finger in the corner of baby’s mouth to break the suction and begin again. Some women experience discomfort at first during a feeding. However, women who experience pain throughout a feeding, between feedings or damage to the nipples may benefit from the help of a lactation professional to identify the cause and get suggestions to correct the problem. © Plumtree Baby 2019. All rights reserved.