Five Keys to Successful Breastfeeding
Keep your baby skin to skin with you until after the first feeding
The first feeding sets the pace for next several feedings. In the time right after birth, babies are often awake
and ready to feed during that hour. Take advantage of this special time by asking the nurses to delay the eye
treatment, weight, and routine injections until after the first feeding. Your partner can do skin-to-skin too,
especially if you have had a cesarean and skin-to-skin may be delayed a bit. Ask your nurse for assistance.
Room in with your baby
Keep your baby with you during your hospital stay so you can learn your baby’s hunger cues and feed on
demand. Babies typically feed more than 8 times each 24 hour day for the first several weeks. Offer the
breast whenever your baby seems willing.
Avoid supplementary feedings
All your baby needs is you! Rarely is there a baby who needs more than the breast in the first 24 hours. Offer
the breast often. The fast flow and different feel of a bottle nipple can confuse babies and make subsequent
Breastfeed whenever your baby seems hungry. Observe your baby for feeding cues: mouthing, sticking the
tongue out, bringing hands to the face; offer the breast – before he begins crying.
Limit the use of pacifiers and swaddling
Anytime your baby seems hungry, offer the breast. In-between, continue your skin to skin holding.
Later your health care provider may recommend the use of a pacifier to reduce the risks of SIDs, but
not until breastfeeding is well established.
Babies who are constantly swaddled do not wake up as often for feeding. And their hands help them
find the way, so babies’ hands should be free during feedings. Frequent feedings in these early days
assures that you will bring in an abundant milk supply and your baby will feed adequately.
Ask for help
If things don’t seem to be going well, or your breasts become sore, ask to see the lactation consultant
in the hospital. She can watch a feeding and give you tips on how to hold your baby at the breast.
When you get home, contact a breastfeeding support group, a lactation consultant in the community,
or other breastfeeding assistance. A family member who was successful with breastfeeding may be
able to help.
Lactation Education Resources. 2019. www.LactationTraining.com This handout may be freely duplicated. Please be aware that the information provided is intended solely for general educational and informational purposes only. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your healthcare provider for any questions you may have regarding your or your infant’s medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have received in this information.