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Whether you are breast or bottle feeding, when your baby wants to feed, just concentrate on you and your baby. Make sure you're comfortable because if your baby's really hungry you could be in the same position for quite a while! You might find that your baby is hungry day and night – and while that will be tiring for you, it’s actually great news for your baby as they’re clearly enjoying their milk! With that in mind it’s always worth trying a few different positions so you can get easily comfortable at night as well. 

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Getting comfortable

When your baby is in a good position they can attach correctly at the breast and feed effectively. It’s important to find a position where your breast hangs naturally and to tuck your baby in close. You may find this ‘laid back’ position comfortable – and useful in the early days,  if you and your baby have difficulty attaching.

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Feeding from both breasts

When your baby comes off the breast naturally, offer them your other breast. They may not always take it, but whether they do or not, always start the next feed with your second breast. Some mums like to put a hairband on their wrist to remind them which breast to start feeding from on the next feed. You could also tie something to your bra strap to remind you which side to start with next. You’ll find a way that works best for you. 

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How do I know if my baby's correctly attached?

It’s important that your baby is latching on to your breast correctly. You can read our step by step guide to correct attachment here.

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How long should I feed for?

There is no "normal" length of time for feeding. Let your baby finish feeding on one side and always offer the other breast. Wait for signs that your baby has finished. Most babies will move from having deep sucks and swallows to having little "flutter sucks", then detach themselves from the breast or just stop swallowing. Sometimes you can think that your baby will never want to stop feeding, so just get comfy and make sure you have a glass of water to hand!

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What if I can't find a comfy position?

It’s important to be comfortable when you’re breastfeeding. If you carry on with a poor position you may end up with sore nipples and your baby may not be getting enough milk. If you’re uncomfortable and you need to change your position, you can break the suction safely by putting your finger in the side of the baby's mouth between the gums. 

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Make sure to speak to your health visitor, other mums, or call the National Breastfeeding Helpline on 0300 100 0212 if you're struggling to find a position that works for you both. You can find out more about getting support here.

You could also watch the video further down the page to see if you can pinpoint where the problem might be and ask your health visitor or a breastfeeding counsellor for their advice.

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What other parents say

Don't worry if you don't immediately find a breastfeeding position which works for you and your baby - most mums need a wee bit of time. In the video below, a mum tells her story about getting the hang of good positioning and attachment.

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Top tips for feeding at home

Tip #1: Get comfy

Choose somewhere you feel calm and comfortable – maybe you have a favourite chair or sofa. If the bed is your favourite place then go ahead and feed there! However, it's important not to fall asleep with your baby.

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Tip #2: Try different positions

Lie back and let your body rather than your hands support your baby, that way you can use your hands to read a book or magazine, scroll through articles on your mobile, or cuddle another child. And of course breastfeeding is a great time to bond with your baby, smiling at them, talking to them and getting to know them. 

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Tip #3: Have what you need to hand

Make sure you have the remote control or a magazine beside you. Remember if you have visitors around they are there to help you get what you need. Get them to cook the dinner, or hanging the washing up!

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Tip #4: Keep drinking water

Treat yourself to a snack to keep your energy up and always have a glass of water within easy reach. Breastfeeding is thirsty work!

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Tip #5: Use cushions to support you when you're feeding

Use cushions to support your back and relieve tension from your shoulders. You might find it comfortable to use a pillow under your arm to give you some support when you're holding your baby, although you shouldn’t need to use cushions to support your baby. When your midwife visits, they can show you how best to position the pillows so you're comfy and supported. 

You can buy special breastfeeding pillows but these are rarely needed and often unhelpful as they can raise the baby up too high and away from the breast. You can always buy later if you need one and until then a pillow will do the job.

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