Top Tips for Breastfeeding
The HSE and their expert Lactation Consultants provide reassurance, support and help with any breastfeeding issues. Visit breastfeeding.ie for more information.
1. Skin to Skin Will Help
Safe skin to skin contact with your baby in the first hour after birth can help get the first feed off to a good start. In this position Mom and baby act together instinctively to make it easy to feed:
- Baby is held close supported, and facing the breast.
- Mom and baby feel calm and relaxed.
- Mom supports the baby's neck, back and shoulder, which allows baby to tilt his head back easily.
- The baby's chin touches the breast first, he opens his mouth wide and attaches on to the breast.
- Mom strokes baby's hands and feet
For videos on the early stages of breastfeeding, click here.
2. Find A Comfortable Position
- Hold your baby close - your baby should be able to reach your breast easily without having to twist his head.
- Your baby should be able to tilt his/her head back easily and open his mouth wide.
- Support baby's neck, shoulders and back.
- Some babies like their feet to be supported too.
To find out more information on the best position to use for feeding click here.
3. It's best to feed when baby shows Early Feeding Cues
These are the little ways that baby lets you know they are ready to feed:
- Eyes fluttering, before they even open.
- Sticking our the tongue.
- Moving their hands to their mouth, sucking fists or fingers.
- Making mouth movements (opening and closing their mouth.)
- Making sucking noises.
- Moving their head from side to side, moving towards your breast, or their little head may bop around a bit as they try to find your nipple.
- Moving their head when you touch their cheek trying to latch (this is also called 'rooting').
Find out more here.
4. Correct positioning and attachment to the breast is Key
When your baby is positioned and attached well, they will find it easier to feed and you will find it more comfortable. A correct attachment to the breast is the secret to successful breastfeeding. Get latching help to position and attach your baby to the breast here.
5. Newborn babies have tiny tummies and feed often in the early days
Early and often feeding helps to build your milk supply (drained breasts make more milk). These early feeds help you to get to know your baby and to get comfortable with breastfeeding. Here's a guide for moms and dads on what to expect in the early days.
6. DO feed from both breasts
When your baby is finished feeding he will come off the breast. In the early days and weeks always offer your baby your second breast. If he/she doesn't feed from your second breast or falls asleep, don't worry; just offer your other breast the next time you breastfeed.
7. DO look after yourself
Get as much rest as you can and forget the housework. Eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of protein. Drink lots of fluids and have a drink by the bed if you need a drink during night-time feeds. Some useful tops may include: Set up a feeding area - a comfortable chair, a small table with a drink and snacks, the remote control or a book nearby. Limit visitors and take advantage of offers of help from family and friends - making meals, general housework, shopping, helping with older children. Sticking a 'chore-list' on the fridge or cupboard can be a great way of reminding people of the type of help you'd really appreciate.
8. DO accept help if it's offered!
If people offer help, accept it and ask your midwife or public health nurse to put you in touch with new, as well as experienced, mothers. If you have a partner and he can be at home with you during these first few weeks after the birth, involve him as much as possible. Encourage dad to hold and cuddle your baby as you get ready to feed, or after feeding, it is important that you all spend time together as a family getting to know your new baby.
9. DO wear comfortable clothes
Wear what is comfortable when you are at home. When out and about mothers often find wearing a strappy top underneath a looser top, means you can lift the outer top up and the top of the strappy top down to feed your baby. Here are some more tips on breastfeeding out and about. A good nursing bra is important to support your breasts and help you feed your baby. Choose one with easy click straps to enable your baby to breastfeed comfortably. You don't need any special equipment for breast-feeding, although good nursing bras and some breast pads will help.
10. Enjoy this time with your baby
As your baby gets older many mothers find they become more confident when breastfeeding. Going to a breastfeeding support group is a great way of meeting other moms and babies, sharing experiences and making new friends.