Common Breastfeeding Mistakes

Believing a baby doesn’t like breastfeeding because he cries or falls asleep after one or two sucks.

Answer: It is common for a baby to act like this, and it usually means he needs more “hands-on” help to position the nipple far back in his mouth and get the milk flow started. Some babies stop after two to three sucks if they are not latched on well. If he easily slips off the breast and does not have a secure suction, he was not latched on well to begin with.

Some babies give up too soon because they can’t easily get milk to flow from the engorged breast. Help him by getting the milk flowing before he gets on and make sure he is securely latched onto the breast.

Holding the breast at an angle.

Answer: Make sure your fingers are parallel with your baby’s lips so that the shape of the breast will be the same as the shape of his mouth. If your fingers are not parallel, the shape of the breast will not comfortably fit in the baby’s mouth. This would make his nursing as difficult as your trying to eat a sandwich held at an angle. If he is lying horizontally across your chest, hold the breast so the areola looks like image one.

Image 1: Correct

Image 2: Incorrect

REMEMBER: Don’t relax your fingers until your baby has drawn the nipple far back to the PERFECT POINT and has started sucking.

Trying to get all the areola into your baby’s mouth.

Answer: You might be positioning the baby’s upper lip so high that the lower lip just fits below the base of the nipple. Instead, keeping your eye on your baby’s lower lip, bring him to the breast, making sure that you get him to latch onto the area below the nipple more than the area above.

This material was developed by Jane Morton, MD and produced for educational purposes only.  Reproduction for commercial purposes is prohibited.  Utilization and copying of the materials to improve care of pregnant women and their newborns is encouraged with proper citation of source.

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