Many expectant mothers aren’t really sure how the whole breastfeeding process is supposed to work. They don’t know when to start, or how to start. The good news is that you really can start breastfeeding from the moment that you first get to hold your baby when you’re still in the delivery room.
At first, your body makes something known as “colostrum.” This is the first milk your baby will ever have. Colostrum is designed to help keep your baby from getting infections, and to boost his immune system. You’ll only produce small amounts at first, but as your baby grows in size your supply of milk will grow, and change more into regular milk.
To get started breastfeeding, you’re going to turn your baby’s entire body so that it’s facing you, your chest on her chest. She may root around, trying to find your breast, with her mouth open. If not, you can stimulate her upper lip using your nipple. This should make her mouth open. Once it is open, you can pull her toward the breast. Make sure to hold it fully supported. Your baby’s mouth will cover both the nipple and the areola.
At first, your baby is probably going to have some problems locating the nipple, or staying attached to the nipple. This is where you need to be patient with your little one. Eventually, she will get it.
If your baby is born prematurely, chances are pretty good you’re going to have to wait to breastfeed. You can still use a breast pump in order to express your milk, which can then be fed to your premature baby until the time that he’s able to feed on his own.
You can always talk to the staff at the hospital about breastfeeding. Many hospitals have a lactation consultant, who can help you learn proper breastfeeding technique.
Finally, do keep in mind that it shouldn’t hurt to breastfeed. If it does, chances are pretty good that she isn’t properly latched on. Make sure her mouth is covering the nipple plus a sizable portion of the areola underneath the nipple.