Breastfeeding: Starting out Right

Breastfeeding:  Starting Out Right

Expecting Moms often ask me, “How can I start out right breastfeeding my baby?'

My quick answer is:

* Skin to skin:  As soon as the baby is born he/she should be placed on mom’s chest, skin to skin, and have access to the breast. This is the beginning of a good breastfeeding experience and should be kept up as much as possible in the first few weeks of life.

** Early feeding: Newborns usually have an alert time the 1st hour after their birth and it is the perfect time for them to breastfeed!  Going from skin to skin to latching-on for a 1st feeding is a great predictor of breastfeeding success. A proper, non-painful latch is critical.

*Frequent, nonrestricted breastfeeding:  Newborns will often feed frequently the first few days after birth. This is normal newborn behavior and helps establish the milk supply. A good latch, breast compressions, and maintaining skin to skin contact helps this transitional period go well. 

*Avoid all supplements and artificial nipples, unless medically indicated, and breastfeeding is well establish.

Here are some other things to consider:

Before your baby is born, gather as much information possible and educate all family members about your infant feeding choices. Talking to friends and family and your midwife or doctor, as well as attending a Breastfeeding education session or class will give you the opportunity to ask questions and address any concerns you may have.

Here are some of the “Basics of Breastfeeding” that are important to cover in any Breastfeeding education session:

  • How breastfeeding works.

  • How to establish a good milk supply/skin to skin/early breastfeeding expectations.

  • Positioning & Attachment (how to hold and attach your baby to the breast).

  • How to know your baby is getting enough milk.

  • Discussion of what is “normal” for a breastfeeding infant.

  • Learning your babies hunger cues.

  • Roles of partners in breastfeeding.

  • Adjusting to parenthood - Survival tips for the early days & weeks with a new baby.

  • Overcoming common obstacles & problems that may occur.

  • When & Where to get help when you need it. The most important information you need!!!

Line up your “Support Network” before the baby is born:

Finding a Breastfeeding Support Group is a huge help to get support before and after your baby is born.  We are lucky to have an excellent “Postpartum Resource Guide” to help new parents find the appropriate support in the Bozeman community.

Choosing a healthcare provider for your new baby before your baby is born is an important decision to make.  The provider and office staff need to be there to support your family infant feeding choices.  Many pediatrician offices now employ Lactation Consultants (IBCLC’s) or Lactation Counselors (CLC’s) to support breastfeeding families. This is a great clue the office values Breastfeeding.

Many new parents like to go online to search for information, but this can also create more confusion, misinformation and therefore increased anxiety.  I recommend,, or as quality online sources of information.

I hope this is helpful getting you and your baby off to a great start breastfeeding. Good luck!