Rashmi Hospital

Centre for Minimally Invasive Surgery & Maternity

190, Double Road, Indiranagar Bangalore 38

Tel: 25253311, 25251573, 25251139, 25200447

For Maternity, Gynaecology & ENT: 9880108844/9980015424

Keyhole surgeries performed

E-Mail: info@rashmihospital.com

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All your pregnancy questions answered

Basics of breast feeding

Timing of first feed

When the baby is born, it is recommended that she be breastfed at the first available opportunity. That time is up to you and your doctor and is usually as soon as you and the baby are declared fit after your delivery. When your baby breastfeeds, she is ingesting colostrum (a clearish fluid laden with proteins and immunities). This fluid aids in preparing the digestive track for the motherís milk and eventually solid foods.


Use pillows for support. Have baby turned toward you with the head in the crook of your arm. Baby's face, abdomen and knees should all be towards you. With the opposite hand, hold your breast with all your fingers under the breast and your thumb on top. The entire hand should be behind the areola (dark portion of breast, behind the nipple). You will need to hold your breast while feeding.

Offering the Breast/Rooting Reflex

Move your breast gently, up and down. Keep "tickling" baby's lips and cheek which is towards you with your nipple until the baby's mouth opens wide. Centre your nipple to baby's open mouth and pull baby in close. Roll the baby towards your breast. Do not push the baby's face with a hand on the opposite cheek. The baby has a rooting reflex and will turn away from your breast towards your finger. Baby's mouth should cover most of the areola, not just the nipple. As the baby nurses, you should feel a pulling or tugging sensation. If it pinches or hurts, break the latch and begin again. The tip of baby's nose should touch your breast. If baby's nose is not visible, raise baby's bottom half to a more level position or lift up on your breast slightly.

The latch is extremely important. Just a few minutes of nipple nursing will bring days of irritation. So if it doesnít feel like youíre getting it right, disengage and try again. Donít be disheartened if you and your baby take a while to get used to the feeding. Both of you are learning new skills.

After feeding

When suckling and swallowing slows or stops, burp the baby and offer the opposite breast. Baby may not take both breasts at each feeding. Baby needs a minimum of 10 minutes of work per feeding. Take the baby off the breast by inserting your finger between baby's gums and pulling downward to break the suction. Another cause for irritated nipples is improperly disengaging. Instead of pulling the nipple from the babyís mouth, first insert a finger between her lip and your breast to release the suction.

If you should find yourself with sore or cracked nipples, try to take a few days without breast pads and just let your milk leak. Breast milk has some incredible healing properties and actually acts as a conditioner for the areola and nipple. In fact, itís a good idea to plan on not wearing a bra for the first few days after your milk has come in.

What to watch for?

Good output of both stool and urine shows good milk intake. Count number of wet diapers and stools daily. By 5 days of age the entirely breastfed baby should have a minimum of 6 to 8 wet diapers and several yellow stools in a 24 hour period. Stools will become less frequent around 6 weeks of age but baby should continue to pass urine about 6 times a day.

Long-term breastfeeding can be achieved only as long as you and your infant remain comfortable. Changing feeding positions is a good way to enable this.

Other important points to remember

  • Nourish yourself adequately.

  • Drink enough fluids so that the flow of milk is good.

  • Continue your iron and calcium supplements.

  • Feed your baby every 3 hours or so or more frequently if your baby demands.

  • Try to feed more in the daytime to inculcate a good night sleep pattern.

  • By about a month your baby may sleep upto 5-6 hours at a time and you need not wake the baby for a feed. Feed if the baby gets up on her own.

  • Avoid bottles

  • Avoid pacifiers

Remember, successful breastfeeding does take practice. You canít expect to be a pro the first go around, but with a little persistence, you will be offering your infant the first step to healthy life and the benefits will be felt by her for the rest of her life.


 There are three basic positions to try. The first is the cradle position, cradling the infant in your arms. The second position is the football feed. This position is obtained by sitting upright, with a pile of pillows to your side. The baby is inverted and resting on the pillows so that her legs point toward your elbow and her head meets your nipple. Lastly is the side-lying position. This is often the most comfortable and convenient to put baby to sleep. While lying on your side, lay the baby on her side facing you. Prop yourselves up with lots of pillows and relax.

At the end of the first week youíll know that your newborn is getting enough milk if she has six to eight wet diapers and three to five dirty diapers a day. If you are at all concerned, meet with your pediatrician or find a certified lactation nurse to help guide you.