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Breastfeeding is a way to nourish your baby with breast milk from your own body.

Breast milk is produced in mammary glands. From there, it travels through milk ducts to openings in your nipples.

When your baby suckles on your nipples, your body releases the hormones prolactin and oxytocin.

Proloactin controls milk production, and oxytocin controls the release, or "let down" of milk through milk ducts.

Breastfeeding benefits your baby by: providing the optimal balance of nutrients,

providing antibodies to support your baby's immune system,

reducing your baby's risk of asthma, allergies, colic, obesity, diarrhea, and certain ear and lung infections;

providing nutrients that are easily digested, and reducing your baby's risk of sudden infant death syndrome.

Breastfeeding benefits you by: giving you a convenient, inexpensive way to nourish your baby,

helping you lose excess body weight, helping your uterus contract after delivery, and increasing the bond between you and your baby.

There are four basic breastfeeding positions: cradle hold position, side-lying position, cross-cradle hold, and football hold.

Your baby is born with the instinct to turn to your nipple with an open mouth, and suck.

To trigger this instinct, lightly stroke your baby's lips with your nipple.

When your baby opens his or her mouth, position your nipple toward the roof of the mouth, and pull him or her close to your breast.

It may take some time for your baby to learn to get his or her mouth around the nipple, or “latch on”.

When properly latched, your baby's mouth will cover your nipple and most of your areola, the darkened area around your nipple.

Your baby's lips will curl out, and his or her nose will touch your breast.

You should hear smooth, regular sucking sounds, along with swallowing.

Let your baby nurse as long as he or she wants. Many newborn babies nurse 8-12 times a day.