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Breastfeeding 101

The early weeks of breastfeeding for mom can be very painful, tiring, frustrating and yet, rewarding.  Many women will have set a breastfeeding goal:  three months, six months, one year.  During the first several weeks of breastfeeding those goals may seem impossible to accomplish.  How do women tolerate the pain, the frequency, the engorgement for six months or a year?  They don’t – if you can make it through the first six weeks or so,  you are well on your way to an easier and much more acceptable breastfeeding relationship.

The early weeks for baby are full of learning and development – let’s use baby’s current skills and reflexes to create breastfeeding success.

In terms of intellectual development – any intellectual stimulation is very tiring for babies at this stage – breastfeeding skin-to-skin will all prevent over stimulation and encourage brain development.  The overstimulated baby is hard to feed, mouth is tight, closed eyes can’t see mommy’s face – cut down on stimulation and breastfeed as much as possible to help baby transition to our noisy, cold, busy world.

Let’s explore some ways to take advantages of baby’s developmental milestones and get each and everyone of you through the first six weeks!


I know you have heard about this one million times but it really is that important.  Once you get a good latch going, everything else will follow nicely.  Work on each of these components of latch during each feeding until you are no longer feeling much pain – a little pain may be present because of engorgement or tenderness from previous poor latching.


If you get them, we must take care of them. No one wants to be in pain and let’s face it, nipple pain sounds really bad. In most cases, sore nipples mean something is not working right.  With a good latch, pain will diminish.  Will breastfeeding be 100% pain free?  Usually not, tender skin, used frequently will be sensitive.  Sensitive is different than pain and with time and experience, even the sensitivity will decline.  Try not to associate long nursing sessions with pain – again if the latch is right, let the baby feed as long as possible to increase your milk supply.  If you experience sore nipples here are some tips:

Repeat after me:  My baby and I will figure out breastfeeding together.  My baby and I will figure out breastfeeding together.  My baby and I will figure out breastfeeding together.


New Jersey Midwifery

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