The proper sucking technique

Figure 4: The correct approach of the infant to the breast nipple

To breastfeed in the most correct and comfortable way, it is essential to find just the right position to attach the baby to the breast. Proper sucking is one of the most important factors to prevent and address any breastfeeding problems.

The baby sucking as if it were attached to a bottle, in fact, will definitely not take in milk in sufficiently nutritious quantities, and will soon become restless, hungry and angry to the point of even refusing the breast. This scenario creates the ripe conditions for breast engorgement caused by the obstruction of the milk ducts, and resulting in a decreased production of breast milk. It is important to remember that “newborns should not be nursed from the nipple, but from the breast”.

Figure 5: The right milk sucking technique

Infants should be breast fed as follow:

  • The baby’s mouth should be really open, wide open, with the lower lip everted (turned out).
  • Lips and gums should press against the areola, or the portion of dark pigmented skin around the nipple.
  • The tongue placed under the areola should cover the gum and the lower lip, facilitating the extraction and the transfer of milk through rhythmic compression of the areola and nipple against the hard palate.

How not to breast feed infants:

  • The child sucks or “chews” the nipple.
  • The tongue acts on the tip of the nipple.
  • Lips and gums press on the nipple and not on the areola.
  • The lower lip is vertical or introflexed.

After feeding, the nipple appears whitish and deformed, with the risk of developing cracked nipples.

How to take care of your breast

During pregnancy, under the stimulus of new hormones, breasts and nipples are naturally prepared for breastfeeding, so that in most cases no particular attention or preparation of the mother is required in this regard.Rather, some precautions are necessary to avoid any problems during breastfeeding of newborns:

  • DO NOT over-wash breasts excessively and never use detergents/soaps on nipples to not deprive them of their natural emollients produced by the areola.
  • AVOID using of creams, ointments and sprays, on nipples, provided as free samples to new mothers
  • NEVER wash nipples before each feeding, it may be detrimental to the areola and make breastfeeding more complicated. On the other hand, get in the habit of cleaning your hands thoroughly before breastfeeding outside the home, particularly when it involves the need to touch nipples.
  • When possible, air dry nipples immediately after feeding
  • AVOID wearing a bra that is too tight
  • DO NOT use nursing pads lined with plastic, because they can make the skin of your nipples more sensitive.