How can I prevent problems with my breasts while breastfeeding?
* Break the suction from your baby’s suckling before taking him off your breast. Make sure your baby is not suckling anymore before taking him off your breast. To stop your baby from suckling, gently insert your finger into the corner of his mouth. This will loosen his attachment to your breast and you can lift him off easily without pulling on your nipple.
* Breastfeed or pump at least eight times a day, and breastfeed as often as your baby wants. Your baby can feed 8 to 12 times a day, or even more. Make sure your baby has a mouthful of your breast so he could suckle easily. Your baby will get the right milk flow when he has a mouthful of your breast. Offer both breasts when breastfeeding. Be sure the first breast is completely emptied before you offer the second breast. Use a breast pump to remove and store leftover milk after your baby has finished feeding. You may also use it to remove excess milk if you miss a breastfeeding session, or any time your breasts feel very full. Ask your lactation consultant for more information on how to use a breast pump.
* Find a comfortable position during breastfeeding. Hold your baby in a position where he can suckle at your breasts easily and comfortably. Learn the feeding positions that are comfortable and line your breast up well with your baby’s mouth. Use one of these positions every time you breastfeed your baby. If your baby is not in the right position he may have trouble latching-on and suckling easily. He may not get enough milk and may suck harder. This can cause pain or change the shape of your nipple for a few minutes. Make sure your baby is well latched-on so he can suckle easily. Ask your caregiver or lactation consultant for more information about how to hold and breastfeed your baby.
* Learn how to get your baby to latch-on well. To latch-on means that your baby has taken all of your nipple and part of your areola (dark circle around your nipple) far into his mouth. Latch-on is important for your baby to get enough breast milk. You will know your baby is latched-on well if:
o Your breast or nipple does not hurt while feeding.
o Your baby is able to suckle milk right away after he latches-on. Suckling should change from quick short sucks to slow deep sucks. You should be able to hear him swallowing and see his jaw move downward with each suck.
o Your nipple is the same shape as it was before the feed started when your baby comes off your breast.
* Make sure you are relaxed during breastfeeding. You should be relaxed and calm during breastfeeding. This helps increase the flow of your breast milk. Put a warm wet cloth on your breast or take a warm shower to increase your milk flow.
* Make sure your baby is relaxed during breastfeeding. Making sure your baby is relaxed during breastfeeding will help him to completely empty your breasts. Massage your breasts so he does not have to work at getting your milk to start flowing. If your baby is suckling too hard and breastfeeding becomes painful, you need to relax his mouth. To do this you need to massage his jaw below his ears. Stroke in a circular motion to relax and widen his mouth. You can gently pull your baby’s chin down using a finger. This lets his tongue stick out and rest between his gums and your nipple. Hold your baby’s head so that his jaw is behind your nipple. In this way, milk can be squeezed out and there will be enough milk flowing out.
* Use devices for breastfeeding correctly. Read the instructions that come with your breast pump. Use the device as instructed and always keep it clean. If it causes any injury to your breast, stop using it. You may need help to learn how to use it. You can get this from a caregiver or other professional, such as a lactation consultant. Do not use breast pads that irritate your breasts or trap too much moisture. Stay away from breasts pads with any kind of plastic lining. These breast pads increase your risk for nipple damage and infection. Use nipple shields or shells only as directed by your caregiver or lactation consultant.