1. Start by placing your nipple between your baby’s upper lip and nose (higher than pictured here), then encourage her to open wide by gently brushing her upper lip with your nipple. Another option is to brush your baby’s cheek with your nipple, which will cause her to turn toward it with her mouth open.
2. When your baby is “rooting” (looking for the breast with her mouth open), pull her to your breast (rather than bringing your breast to her mouth).
3. As your baby latches on, you want her to get a big mouthful of breast tissue. The best way to do this is with an “asymmetric latch,” which means that she gets more breast tissue on the underside of the areola, rather than an equal amount all around.
4. Your baby’s lips should be opened wide around the breast. The best latch is one in which you don’t feel any pain and your baby is getting milk. (Listen for the sound of your baby swallowing.) If latch-on hurts, break the suction – by inserting your little finger between your baby’s gums and your breast – and try again.
5. As your baby nurses contentedly, hold her close. You may also want to support your breast, especially if your breasts are large.
6. Getting comfortable with breastfeeding takes time – for you and your baby. Don’t be discouraged. Once you and your baby are in sync, breastfeeding can be a beautiful experience.