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Before the birth of your baby you can begin preparing your breasts for breast feeding. During breast feeding, nipples may become cracked and sore. Friction on the nipples will help toughen them for breast feeding. Going without a bra a few hours each day can help achieve this, as well as rubbing them in the months before the birth of your baby. Your breasts should be washed using only water and a washcloth. Ordinary creams and lotions should not be applied. There are creams made exclusively for breast feeding mothers. They contain mostly lanolin and are fine to use.

After your baby is born you can begin breast feeding right away. Babies have a natural rooting reflex, and touching the breast against his cheek will help him to locate the nipple. If the breast is blocking the baby's nose, use your hand to keep his airway free. At times your breasts may become too full for your baby to latch on, and you will need to manually express some milk to relieve the pressure. Warm washcloths also work well when the breasts are engorged and painful. Feeding your baby at regular intervals will prevent this from happening.

Another natural reflex your baby has is a sucking reflex. His sucking reflex will form a tight seal. Not taking in enough of the areola while feeding can lead to sore nipples. When removing him from the beast, you can break this seal by inserting a finger between his cheek and the nipple. If your breasts become sore, the same lanolin cream you used before his birth will help in healing. Regular use of these creams will help prevent further cracking and irritation.

Be sure to buy good quality nursing bras that have plenty of support and fit comfortably. There are disposable and washable absorent pads available for lining your bra. The disposable pads are great for convenience, but the washable kind are more cost efficient. They can be washed and reused again and again. Also, loose fitting shirts that can be pulled up from the bottom are a must have for breast feeding moms. Try to avoid wearing tops that zip or are tight fitting. A receiving blanket can be used to cover you and the baby for privacy when you are feeding in public.

Being relaxed is very important in successful breast feeding. Try to find a relaxing place away from interruptions and just sit back and enjoy this quiet time with your baby. You can feed your baby while lying on one side or sitting up. Whichever is most comfortable for you will also work for your baby.

Some women use a breast pump when they have to leave their baby with a caretaker. Using a breast pump also allows the father or other people to help with the feedings. There are bottle nipples designed to be the most like a mother's breast and are great for a breast fed baby. He is more likely to accept this type of nipple when you cannot feed him yourself.

The length of time you breast feed is a personal choice. Some women breast feed for just a few weeks, while others choose to do it for a couple of years. Even breast feeding for a short time is beneficial to your baby. Remember, the decision is yours to make. You know what is best in the care of your baby.