Use arm and back support. Before you feed, make sure you’re seated comfortably with full support for your back, feet and arms. Use a breastfeeding pillow or other firm, thick pillow to help support the baby’s weight. She’ll seem very light at first, but after 20 minutes she’ll feel a lot heavier!
Make the nipple sandwich. Compress the entire dark part of your nipple with your thumb on top and fingers underneath. Tickle baby’s mouth with your nipple so her mouth will reflexively open, then stuff the whole nipple sandwich as far back into his mouth as you can. The object is to get the “sprinkler” part of your nipple to the very back of her tongue. You’ll know you’re positioned right when the baby’s mouth makes a tight seal around almost all of the dark part of your nipple.
Careful of cheek touching. Newborns have a reflex to turn their heads towards a touch on the cheek. This can be frustrating if you’re trying to get her to latch on. To avoid this, make sure your hands, blankets, your hair, etc. are away from her face.
Take your time. In the first weeks, you can’t feed too often or for too long. Let your baby feed on demand and for as long as she wants on each side. It can take a newborn as long as 30 minutes a side to get enough, and she will probably need to feed every 1 to 3 hours. Once you and baby get the hang of it, feedings will naturally start to get faster and farther apart.
Count diapers. There’s no simple way to tell exactly how much milk a breastfed baby gets at a feed, but you’ll know your baby’s getting enough if you see her jaw moving and hear her swallowing, if she produces at least six wet diapers every 24 hours, and if she’s gaining weight at a rate of at least a half-ounce per day.
Don’t try to sleep train. Babies will naturally start to sleep in longer stretches as they grow. Trying to stretch out the time between feedings overnight, letting the baby cry it out or trying to put the baby down before she falls asleep has been shown to not help the baby sleep any longer and just causes more stress for parents. You can’t nurse too often in the early weeks and months, but it is possible to nurse too little and affect supply. So night nursing is important, even if getting up to feed is not always easy.