"Breastfeeding 101"


Getting a great start with Breastfeeding!
(also known as “Breastfeeding 101”)

Breastfeeding should not hurt. 
Some discomfort is normal in the beginning - but sores, bleeding and pain are not.   On this page, please find all of our favorite resources for breastfeeding information - videos, informational pages, podcasts, and more!


  • Get support - Pain, sores, or a baby that “doesn’t want to breastfeed” are often thought of as normal, but are signs of a problem.   A wonderful source of support is La Leche League International (LLLI) (www.llli.org) - LLL Leaders are available to help by phone or email, and run monthly support group meetings.  Another excellent source for breastfeeding education, support and troubleshooting is through private in-home consultations with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).  As part of your healthcare team, IBCLCs offer pre- and post-natal visits, and are covered by most insurance policies.  You can find many IBCLCs in your area through www.zipmilk.org 
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  • Deeper More Effective Latch - here are several videos that describe how to get a deeper, more effective, and more comfortable latch:
    • A wonderful video from Global Health Media describing the asymmetric latch.  This video beautifully explains why having the baby approach the breast asymmetrically achieves a deeper latch, and also shows ways to tell if your baby is probably getting milk.
    • ​Another very helpful video, this one from Cherubs Breastfeeding.   While describing the asymmetric latch, she uses extremely helpful analogies to help visualize how to achieve a deeper more comfortable and effective latch.
    • And, one more great video from Janet Jones, IBCLC - highlighting the asymmetric latch with the cross-cradle position.

  • Use a more comfortable position, Laid Back Breastfeeding - In the early days of breastfeeding, many parents are taught positions like the cradle and football holds - but these are sometimes challenging and uncomfortable, especially if you do not have supportive pillows for both you and your baby, or if you find yourself fighting with the support pillows that you have!   Instead, try the “training wheels” of breastfeeding - Laid Back Nursing.  It’s very comfortable for you and your baby and no special pillows are needed.  For more information, watch this video -­ http://www.naturalbreastfeeding.com (it's about 30 minutes, you can also find the individual clips that make up the whole video on Nancy Mohrbacher's YouTube channel), and read this article with the eye-opening title “Many Moms May Have Been Taught to Breastfeed Incorrectly” ­http://www.mothering.com/articles/natural-breastfeeding/
  • Know what it looks like when a baby is nursing effectively - A baby with a wide mouth and using rhythmic jaw movements is probably taking in more milk compared with a baby nursing with a narrow mouth and using their lips to “nibble”.  See our blog post for a lot of information on this topic and also visit The International Breastfeeding Center for many videos demonstrating effective and non-effective latches.
  • Helping baby to get more milk at a feeding, and also increase supply, by using breast compressions - this wonderful video describes this easy and valuable skill.

  • Know if your baby is drinking enough -  In the first few days of breastfeeding, your body makes the perfect food for your baby’s tiny tummy - colostrum.  This “supermilk” is densely packed with nutrients and antibodies and acts as your baby’s first immune system.  Because baby’s tummies so small, they need constant refilling.  This means it’s normal for babies to feed very often.  Frequent effective feedings (see above) are good for your supply, help avoid engorgement, and promote your baby’s growth and breastfeeding skills.  Counting diapers and tracking weight gain are great ways to help you feel confident that your baby is getting enough.  There’s no need to worry about how much milk goes in, when you can see what’s coming out!  A handy one-page resource for counting diapers and tracking baby’s growth in the first few weeks can be found here - http://health.mo.gov/living/families/wic/wiclwp/pdf/enoughmilk.pdf 

  • Engorgement help and a way to get colostrum if baby needs a bit extra early on -  Overly full breasts are very uncomfortable.  Ideally, if breastfeeding is going well (see above), engorgement may never occur.  However, it is more likely to happen if you have had IV fluids during labor and/or if your baby is not nursing effectively.  For relief from engorgement, breast massage and hand expression is wonderful.  Hand expression is also incredibly valuable because, if needed, it can help you obtain enough colostrum (which is thicker than milk and difficult to get with a pump) to fill a tiny tummy.  Learn more about this incredibly valuable skill here - https://vimeo.com/65196007.  And, see this article for even more engorgement relief ideas - http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/mother/engorgement/
  • Help with Nipple Shields - Many women are given nipple shields in the early days of breastfeeding.  Unfortunately, they are frequently provided with little instruction.  If you are using a shield to latch, it's important to know how to use it (and it's very important to contact your LLL Leader or an IBCLC to assess its use as well as determine why it's hard to latch without it!).  Here's a very good video on nipple shield use from DIY Breastfeeding  (note - DIY Breastfeeding's other videos are fantastic too - many topics covered!)
  • Pumping - Because pumps are so common in our world, many people people think that they have to pump.  But - if latch, supply, and baby’s growth are all going well, it is not necessary to pump unless there's a particular reason to.  In fact, pumping can sometimes make breastfeeding harder when it’s not needed - it’s one more thing to do, it can interrupt the flow of your supply, and it can cause you to worry about your supply if you see less milk than you think you should get (which is very common if the pump isn't working correctly, or the flanges don't fit properly, or many other reasons).
    • Please know that, just like breastfeeding, pumping is a learned art.  The amount of milk you get may not related to your supply, but might be related to the settings on your pump, how the flanges fit, and more.  Contacting your LLL Leader or visiting with an IBCLC is a wonderful way to learn how to best use your pump, for help with planing how best to get the extra milk for your stash, returning to work, and more.  To get you started on this process, here are some helpful resources:
  • Podcasts are incredible sources of info!  "All Things Breastfeeding", "The Boob Group", and "Breastfeeding Outside the Box" - all are available from their websites or through a podcast app​.  They have many wonderful episodes on many topics relating to breastfeeding, pumping, starting solids, weaning, specific problems, parents' stories and so much more.  There are new breastfeeding and parenting podcasts coming out all the time, so please ask your LLL Leader for more suggestions.
  • Finally - Combat Misinformation and learn more info by referring to these evidenced-based resources:​
    • Kelly Mom (extensive list of parenting and breastfeeding resources)
    • MOBI Motherhood International (extensive list of breastfeeding resources - low supply, tongue/lip ties, sensory issues, dealing with fast flow, dealing with slow flow, baby's oral-motor skills, and so much more)
    • Nancy Mohrbacher (breastfeeding, pumping and storage resources, and more)
    • Low Milk Supply​ (lots of information on building supply and more)

Happy Breastfeeding from La Leche League of Princeton!   More help can be found at on other tabs on this site.  If you have questions please contact Leslie at 609-275-4644, by email at lrkowalski1@gmail.com, or through the La Leche League of Mercer County Facebook page.   You can also search for an IBCLC in your area through zipmilk.org or uslca.org

2 comments:

  1. I just wanted to say that you guys make a great work! I hope many moms out there get encouraged to breastfeed. I am a mom who loved to breastfeed. But after 6 month my milk supply went down and I had to supplement with formula. An organic one of cause. I am glad, that these formulas exist, but I see them as a supplement, not as the first choice nutrition. I hope more and more women will think of breastfeeding as the first choice.

    Greetings, Breeze

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your story - your baby was nourished by your milk and by your love!

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