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Breastfeeding comes quite natural to many mother and baby pairs, and you may not need to have any specific information to get your baby to latch on. There are babies who just do it, and who will never need any help. But if you suspect a bad latch, you may want to have an overview of the steps needed for a baby to latch on successfully. Let's take a look.

1. Relax and make yourself comfortable. This will be relevant for new a breastfeeding mother later on, you won't even think about it. But the first nursing session is a very special one. Some babies do the "breast crawl" from mom's abdomen up to the breast right after birth, while others receive a little help. While it is always recommended that you often your new baby the breast right after birth, some won't nurse for a while.

2. Make sure your baby is in a comfortable position for nursing. Back-lying is not a good position to start nursing in, as it makes swallowing hard. Two classic nursing positions are side nursing and in-arms nursing. If you want to give side nursing a try, lay your baby on its side next to you, perhaps while cradling it with one arm. Lay down next to your baby and offer the breast. You can also sit up and cradle your baby for nursing. Yet another possibility is upright nursing in a baby carrier. Later on, when your baby starts sitting up, he or she can also sit in your lap to nurse.

3. Make sure a large part of your areola, the area surrounding your nipple, is in your baby's mouth. How much of the areola will be visible depends on the size of your areola. But your baby should not latch on only to the nipple.

4. Point your nipple upwards toward the roof of your baby's mouth and place it inside the mouth once your baby fully opens her mouth.

5. Watch your baby's mouth and throat for signs of swallowing during breastfeeding, and also take note of your let-down reflex if you feel it. You may also like to read about breastfeeding in public.

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