Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- When should we decide about breastfeeding?
- Why is the choice so important?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of breastfeeding?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of formula feeding?
- Can we use both forms of feedings for our baby?
- Is there any special preparation required for breastfeeding?
- When can breastfeeding begin?
- What is the proper technique for breastfeeding?
- When should breast pumps be used?
- Should certain foods be avoided while breastfeeding?
- How can one manage minor discomforts related to breastfeeding?
- Clogged milk ducts
- Sore nipples
- When should one seek medical care for problems with breastfeeding?
- Can supplements or medications increase a low milk supply?
- Is it possible to breastfeed while pregnant?
- Is smoking harmful when breastfeeding?
- Do breast implants, surgeries, or reductions affect breastfeeding?
- How should one wean a baby from breastfeeding?
- Breastfeeding and Formula Feeding At A Glance
What is the proper technique for breastfeeding?
Observing other breastfeeding mothers and talking with breastfeeding support organizations can help new breastfeeding mothers learn techniques for optimal breastfeeding that can help reduce the likelihood of any discomfort or complications. These techniques are briefly outlined below.
After the mother has assumed a position comfortable for her, she can nestle the baby in a cradle hold (cradling the baby with the mother's arm on the same side as the breast being presented). The baby's body should be on its side, so that the baby does not have to turn his or her head to reach the nipple.
1. First, manually express a few drops of milk to moisten the nipple.
2. Cup the breast with your hand and using the milk-moistened nipple, gently massage baby's lips, encouraging the baby to open its mouth.
3. When the baby's mouth is opened, the nipple is inserted into the center of the baby's mouth while pulling the baby in very close. The baby's gums should take in at least a 1-inch radius of the areola.
4. The mother may have to make adjustments for the baby's breathing by changing the angle of baby's position slightly or using the thumb to press gently on the breast to uncover the baby's nose.
5. Hold the breast throughout the feeding so the weight of your breast does not tire your newborn's mouth.
6. When feeding is over, to avoid trauma to your nipples, do not pull your nipple from baby's mouth without first breaking the suction by inserting your finger into the corner of baby's mouth.
When should breast pumps be used?
Many women find the convenience of a breast pump to be an invaluable aid in breastfeeding. Basically, breast pumps allow the nursing mother to expel (and store, if desired) breast milk at times when she is not available to nurse the baby.
There are different types of breast pumps. Large, dual-action pumps are typically used in the hospital setting and may be rented for home use. The options for personal use and purchase include automatic models that are comparable to hospital-grade pumps, small electric or battery-operated units that double- or single-pump, and one-handed manual pumps.
Breast pumps may be useful for working mothers who wish to provide a supply of breast milk for their newborn and keep up their own milk production. Sometimes, women must stop breastfeeding on a temporary basis due to an infection or need to take certain medications. In these cases, use of a breast pump can keep milk production active during the breastfeeding hiatus.
Viewers share their comments
Parenting and Pregnancy
Get tips for baby and you.