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14. Common Breastfeeding Techniques, and Points to Remember When the Mother Requests Assistance with Feeding

a. Wash your hands.

b. Assist the mother to assume a comfortable position.

c. Encourage the mother to help the baby start nursing by holding him or her close so that the baby's cheek touches the breast.

d. The baby should take as much of the areola (the darker area surrounding the nipple) as possible into his or her mouth, not just the nipple. The nipple should be erect; the mother may need to roll an inverted nipple between her thumb and index finger to make it protrude.

e. If the mother's breast is full, explain to her that using one finger to press the breast away from the infant's nose will allow easier breathing for the baby.

f. Encourage the mother to use both breasts and to alternate the side she begins with; a safety pin fastened to the bra strap may help to remind her.

g. Never pull the nipple from the baby's mouth. To break suction, press the breast away from the corner of the mouth or lift the baby's lip by putting a clean finger into the corner of the mouth.

h. The baby should be burped after feedings.

i. A nursing bra may provide comfortable support.

j. Encourage the mother to leave the nursing flaps of her bra down whenever possible to allow the nipples to dry. Allow the nipples to dry before applying any cream recommended by the physician/practitioner.

k. The mother may ask questions about cramping during nursing. This is nature's way of returning the uterus to its normal size.

l. Breastfed babies may desire nursing every 2 to 3 hours.

m. The mother's milk supply will increase with an increased amount of nursing.

n. Do not use soap or antiseptics on the nipples as they tend to cause excessive drying of the skin.

o. Encourage the mother to drink 10 glasses of water daily to help keep her supply of milk adequate, and to avoid caffeine and tobacco. Caffeine and nicotine eventually enter the mother's milk and are consumed by the baby.

p. Six or more wet diapers a day assures the mother that her baby is getting enough milk.

q. Support and encourage mothers in breastfeeding. "We must identify and reduce barriers which keep women from beginning or continuing to breastfeed their infants." C. Everett Koop, M.D., Sc.D., former Surgeon General.

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