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5 steps to successful breastfeeding

Every time you breastfeed, make an assessment to ensure successful breastfeeding, now and in the long term. Check the following five steps:

  1. Look to see that baby latches correctly, that the chin touches your breast, and the nose is not pressed against your breast.

  2. Trust your nursing experience and respect how you feel. The first initial sucks may hurt so badly that you start deep breathing and your shoulders shoot up to your ears. After baby’s first few sucks, you should be able to relax your shoulders and completely relax. The pain will subside shortly. However, you should not be in pain throughout the feeding session.

  3. Is baby nursing actively and not too lightly/is grazing?

  4. Make sure that baby’s sucking pattern is rhythmic with short breaks—in other words, baby should suck and suck, take a break, suck and suck.

Notice if baby: - sleeps for long periods with breast in mouth - sucks lightly (no pull on the breast) - sucks frantically the entire time without taking a break, pulls off the breast and yells several times.

  1. Assess the appearance of the nipple after baby pulls off and that it looks the same as when you started. If the first four steps are as they should be, but the nipple is slightly flat at the tip, this is not relevant to breastfeeding.

Doing this five-step checkup every time you nurse will help ensure smooth breastfeeding in the long term.