Beginning a Nursing Relationship

Since I’ve never breastfed, I can’t really be much of an advisor during National Breastfeeding Week.  Beginning a nursing relationship is far from an area of expertise for me… but I’m fortunate to have friends.  Meg, Huan’s mommy and Eudora’s future mother-in-law, has been breastfeeding for nearly a year and a half.  Here’s her story on the early days of establishing a nursing relationship with Huan.

Building a Breastfeeding Relationship (Cloth Diaper Addicts) #breastfeedingWe were in the hospital for 3 day attempting to establish a good latch.  When babies are born, they don’t have great muscle strength in their jaws and need a good deal of extra help latching on.  I spent a lot of time in those first 3 days hand expressing colostrum into his mouth.  This is the “liquid gold” of breastfeeding that comes in before your milk and is quite thick.  The good news is they don’t need a ton of milk those first few days and will be ok if you are struggling to establish a good latch.  When babies are first born, their stomachs are pretty tiny.  (On day 1: roughly half a tablespoon, day 3: 0.75-1 oz and day 7 approx 1.5-2oz.)  So, really, the lack of milk isn’t actually an impediment to beginning your nursing relationship.

It wasn’t until day 3, however, that we finally got him latched on.  A nurse came in, grabbed my breast and pretty much just popped it in my son’s mouth.  Was it a little shocking?  Yes of course, but it was effective and helped a ton.  The nurses didn’t pressure me with formula even once those first three days, nor did they pressure me to leave until they were sure I was comfortable with getting him latched on properly.

Once we got home, latching on was a challenge again.  At this point (day 5) my milk had come in and I was engorged and crying.  I was so frustrated, in pain, and wasn’t sure how I was going to make this work.  How on earth were we supposed to establish a nursing relationship if I couldn’t even get him on the breast?  My mom suggested to change my nursing position.  In the hospital, they showed me the football hold.  My mom suggested the side laying position.  This was the best advice I could have received right then. If one nursing hold or position isn’t working for you, change it up!  As they get bigger, you most likely will have to anyways.  Find the position that works best for you and your baby.

The key part of building a nursing relationship is just that: find what works for you and your baby.  Don’t be afraid to get help.

What was the best piece of advice that you received for establishing your nursing relationship?

Image courtesy of Jomphong /


About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.


  1. Shannon Gregory says:

    I just remember being told to be patient and my son would eventually get it down to a science because it’s insitnct.

  2. Jennifer says:

    I think I was too impatient to breastfeed, I was young with my first child and well I just didn’t with my second either.

  3. I think just being patient was one of the best pieces of advice I got.

  4. Ramblings Mom says:

    some great tips. nursing takes time to get used to with each baby (I’m currentky nursing my 4th) but once you get the hang of it, it’s so easy and practical.

  5. I couldn’t agree more with the fact that you have to try different positions to do what works for you and your babe. I tried a bajillion (to me) positions, and what finally worked for us I literally NEVER strayed from for fear of losing that incredibly important relationship.

    The best advice given to me? Never be afraid to ask for help!

    PS I linked up from A Mama Collective, Suzi. Thank you!

  6. Breastfeeding was such a struggle for me and ultimately I ended up exclusively pumping with both my girls. Kudos to you for sticking with it and finding what worked for you and your baby!

  7. I couldn’t get my first baby to latch. I started using a nipple shield and he latched right away. I ended up using it for the entire 14 months I nursed. With my second baby I had no latch issues and didn’t need a shield.

  8. We are an extended breastfeeding family and I love the relationship that is so precious between my toddler and I. I didn’t have a lot of trouble initially, but I’ve been recently fielding comments and insults, etc. for BFing after 2 years old. From several sources… So ironically, it’s the latter stages of our relationship that’s hard, instead of what seems to be more common for moms having trouble initially. No matter what, I believe in doing what’s best for the two of you.

  9. Thankfully I didn’t struggle with breastfeeding either time. Both of my kids were champs right out of the gate. I don’t remember any particular advice that I received but if I were asked what my advice to a nursing mother would be, it would simply be to trust your body. It was designed for this and in most cases will do its job. And use a nipple cream to get through the first week or so.

  10. I am thankful that I chose to breastfeed my three children. I started a blog to help breastfeeding moms continue their relationship after they return to work.

  11. I’m hoping that i am able to develop a successful nursing relationship! It’s kindof intimidating!

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