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Breastfeeding a baby can be a rewarding experience, and one that gives your child the absolute best start in life. By following these top 10 tips for breastfeeding, you can ensure a healthy start that will give your child a lifetime of benefits.

  1. Before you have your baby, learn about breastfeeding positions, proper latching, and what to expect. The confidence you’ll gain from your early preparation will make everything go smoother once your baby is born.
  2. Enlist the support of family and friends. Consider joining a local breastfeeding support group, such as La Leche League, if there are meetings in your area.
  3. Start breastfeeding as early as possible. If you can get your baby to latch on within the first hour after birth, it will be easier to establish the breastfeeding relationship.
  4. Feed your baby whenever you notice signs of hunger. These can include rooting behaviors and putting the hands in the mouth. Avoid scheduling feedings and watch the baby’s signs instead.
  5. Bring the baby to you, not the other way around. Avoid leaning forward and shoving your breast into the baby’s mouth. Instead, bring the baby up and toward the breast.
  6. If anything hurts, get help as soon as possible. Contact a lactation consultant or one of the nurses at the hospital where you gave birth to help you set things right. If you wait, you might end up with nipple sores that make breastfeeding more difficult.
  7. Make breastfeeding a priority. Let your doctor know how important it is to you, and don’t let hospital staff, friends, or family members give the baby formula without your consent.
  8. If you plan to return to work soon after your baby is born, invest in a high-quality pump and learn how to use it while you are still at home with your baby.
  9. Keep track of your baby’s diaper contents. This is the most reliable way to see if the baby is getting enough milk, since the amount you pump, how long your baby spends nursing each day and how full your breasts feel can be unreliable as indicators.
  10. Keep in mind that your baby is an individual. If your breastfed baby is not growing as fast as your friend’s baby or eating more times a day than your sister’s infant did, this doesn’t mean that there is a problem. All babies are different, and if yours is healthy and happy, then the breastfeeding relationship is working just fine.

For more tips check out the medical books at Elsevier Health. One of the best which is related to this subject is 100 Q & A About Breastfeeding.