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The Basics of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is one of the most beautiful and natural aspects of motherhood. Yet, it might not be the easiest, but with the right advice and enough practice you will get the hang of it.

Prepare early

Pregnant mother

Talk to your doctor, nurse and lactation specialist even before you give birth. They will offer you the right advice and support you need to be prepared. Start breastfeeding your baby within the first hour of birth as your baby needs the nutrition and you will have the experts around you to offer you the right guidance.

For the first few days, you will secrete a creamy, yellowish substance called colostrum which is highly nutritive and essential for your baby.

Know when your baby is hungry

hungry baby

Looking alert, putting his/her thumb in the mouth, making sucking motions, whimpering, flexing arms and hands, and nuzzling against your breast are some common signs that your baby is hungry. Usually, you should feed your baby approximately every 2 hours.

 Get it right

The 'latch'

Always encourage your baby to “latch on” by stroking his/her cheek or lower lip. This will stimulate the baby to open his/her mouth and latch on. You can help your ‘let down’ to occur by finding a quiet spot to nurse.

The best position

Feeding positions

After a few times, you will realize the best position for you and your baby.  Cradle is the most common position wherein you hold your baby sideways across your lap and use a pillow to bring him up to breast height, so that his head is resting on your forearm. Clutch or Football Hold is the best position if you’ve had a cesarean section as it will keep your baby away from your incision. Position your baby on a pillow at your side, facing you with his bottom near your elbow and his legs and feet tucked under your arm. Side-Lying Position is a comfortable position for nighttime feedings. Lie on your side with your baby on his side and cradle him in your arm with his back along your forearm.

Breastfeeding has many health and emotional benefits for you and your baby both. So don’t worry and enjoy this relationship with your new bundle of joy.


Dr. Shanthala, OB – Gynecologist at iCare Clinics, Discovery Gardens Branch