You've heard that breast is best: Nursing provides ideal nutrition for your baby and can help the two of you bond. The following tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) can help you and your baby get off to a good start:
Start right away If you can, breastfeed within an hour of birth to take advantage of your baby's immediate sucking instinct. This also starts the process of establishing your future milk supply and helps your uterus contract and return to its prepregnancy state.
Enure proper latch-on Use your free hand to support your breast and present the nipple to your baby. Your fingers should be well behind the areola so they don't get in your baby's way. Tickle your baby's lower lip with your nipple. When she opens wide, quickly draw her to you. Experienced moms can stop this after a while.
Breastfeed on demand Keep your newborn close to you so you can feed him as soon as he shows hunger cues, such as smacking his lips, making suckling motions or rooting. Try not to wait until he begins crying, since that's actually a late sign of hunger. Offer both breasts at each feeding, alternating the one you give first, and let him feed until he detaches by himself.
Keep track of feedings Your baby should nurse at least eight to 12 times a day and seem satisfied for a few hours between feedings. By the end of the first week, your baby should have three to six bowel movements and four to six wet diapers each day. To learn more, check out the AAP book, New Mother's Guide to Breastfeeding.