Breastfeeding is beautiful and natural. It does not always come as second nature however. It can take practice and patience for you and your baby to get it down pat. First of all, it is important to try to breastfeed your baby as soon as possible following the birth. These hours are prime time for mother/baby bonding and both of your instincts should be setting in. Your baby might be a great nurser from the start. Or, he/she might need a little more guidance and encouragement. There are several different positions to hold you baby in while you are attempting to breastfeed. A good one to start with is the football hold. Your baby’s face will be facing you and you will be able to see better for positioning his/her mouth on the nipple. The baby’s mouth should open up wide and cover most of the areola (the dark part around your nipple). If the baby gets only the nipple in his/her mouth, breastfeeding will be painful and the baby won’t get as much milk. You should always feed you baby for about 5 minutes on one side, and then switch sides. If the baby is too full to drink from the second side, make sure to start your next feeding on that side. Doing this will help prevent engorgement of one breast and keep both breasts producing adequate amounts milk. If nipples get sore or cracked, use a breastfeeding cream, like Lansinoh, designed just for this task. Keep it up. The more you nurse the easier it will become and the more smoothly things will go. If you need additional advice, ask your doctor or birth hospital for a referral to a lactation consultant. These consultants are trained in helping new mom’s with breastfeeding and are usually available right after you have your baby to give pointers and provide support.