Breastfeeding 101: Tips for New Moms


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There’s a host of studies supporting the numerous ways breastfeeding helps baby's development -- and the health of mothers, too. 

However, too many women are hesitant to start breastfeeding or stick with it if they do, according to Nadine Rosenblum, a perinatal lactation program coordinator at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

1. Getting started, ‘latching on’

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Key to successful breastfeeding is what’s known as the “latch-on,” the CHOP experts said. That’s when baby latches his or her mouth to the nipple. 

Resist the urge to press onto the back the baby’s head, but do support your breast with your hand during the feeding. Keep your fingers way back behind the areola and be sure not to press inward on your breast (this will also help prevent sore nipples).

For the most successfully latch-on, “your baby needs to open his mouth wide enough to take both the nipple and some of the areola [the dark area around the nipple] into his mouth,” according to CHOP. “The corners of the baby’s mouth should be at a wide angle and both his upper and lower lips should be outside his mouth.”

2. Do I have enough milk for my baby?


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Nature has designed breastfeeding so that the milk supply increases with a baby’s increasing demand. Your breasts should feel softer after a feeding, and that’s a good sign that baby is getting enough milk.

Resist the temptation to “supplement” breastfeeding with formula or bottle-feeding, the CHOP experts said. 

3. How long should each breastfeeding session last? 

breastfeeding and stroke risk

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As a rule of thumb, allow your baby to breastfeed for at least 15 minutes.  The CHOP experts note that breast milk is more watery at the beginning of a nursing session, and gets fattier as breastfeeding continues, until baby is receiving high-fat “hind” milk towards the end of a feeding. This highly nutritious form of breast milk is important, so allow baby sufficient time to receive it. 

Babies typically let you know when they are full by releasing the breast. At that point you can burp baby or change their diaper. You may want to offer them the second breast. If baby is hungry they’ll accept the breast and suck.

4. Growth spurts

sleeping infant

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New mothers will notice that, at around 2 weeks, 6 weeks and 3 months of age, infants may want to breastfeed every 1 to 1½ hours for a day or two. That’s because they are typically undergoing growth spurts at these ages. 

Baby’s demand triggers an increase in mom’s milk supply. “ Allow your baby to breastfeed as often as he wants during these days and you will make enough milk in a day or two,” the CHOP experts said.

5. Breastfeeding support


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Find a local support group. Many hospitals help coordinate support groups for breastfeeding women. At these gatherings, “mothers can share stories, learn from each other’s experiences and practice breastfeeding in a group setting,” Rosenbaum explained.

6. Source and more information

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Source: Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore; Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

For more information on child health, check out these additional resources:

Newborn Screening: What It Is, What It Covers and Why It’s Important

Baby Milestones: 0-12 Months Old

Colic in Babies: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

'Baby-Proofing' Your House: A New Parent's Guide