A Breastfeeding Checklist: Are You Nursing Correctly?

Signs of Correct Nursing

  • Your baby’s mouth is open wide with lips turned out.
  • His chin and nose are resting against the breast.
  • He has taken as much of the areola as possible into his mouth.
  • He is suckling rhythmically and deeply, in short bursts separated by pauses.
  • You can hear him swallowing regularly.
  • Your nipple is comfortable after the first few suckles.

Signs of Incorrect Nursing

  • Your baby’s head is not in line with his body.
  • He is sucking on the nipple only, instead of suckling on the
    areola with the nipple far back in his mouth.
  • He is sucking in a light, quick, fluttery manner rather than taking deep, regular sucks.
  • His cheeks are puckered inward or you hear clicking noises.
  • You don’t hear him swallow regularly after your milk production has increased.
  • You experience pain throughout the feed or have signs of nipple damage (such as cracking or bleeding).
Last Updated
New Mother’s Guide to Breastfeeding, 2nd Edition (Copyright © 2011 American Academy of Pediatrics)

How to Nurse on an Airplane

How to Nurse on an Airplane

 Nursing an infant on an airplane presents its own unique set of challenges. Especially if your baby’s car seat is in the window seat, you are in the middle seat, and a complete stranger is on the aisle encroaching on your shared armrest (which, as you know, is not just hypothetical), breastfeeding comfortably may seem like an oxymoron. Here are a few suggestions that can really help.


If the flight is short or you find yourself uncomfortably close to your seatmate, nursing on just one side while saving the other for when you get off the plane may be an acceptable option.

At an Angle

Close quarters can greatly limit a breastfeeding mother’s chance of privacy. Simply angling your body so that you’re facing the window before trying to breastfeed can help minimize your degree of exposure.

Covering Up

For the sake of modesty or convenience, bear in mind how much you want to bare, and wear a shirt you are particularly comfortable breastfeeding in, such as a loose-fitting top layer, a button-down blouse, or custom-designed breastfeeding attire.


Use your jacket, a blanket, a magazine, or even your baby carrier or sling as a practical way of preventing your fellow passengers from having a bird’s-eye view.


Nursing in the lavatory may seem like a reasonable last resort, but it generally poses a huge inconvenience for fellow passengers and isn’t exactly hygienic. In other words, we don’t recommend it.

Laura A. Jana, MD, FAAP and Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP
Last Updated
Food Fights, 2nd Edition (Copyright © 2012 American Academy of Pediatrics)

The Imperative of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is the best way to go…

Breastfeeding has far-reaching, lasting effects, affecting the lifelong health of both the mother and her child. The nutritious components of breast milk provide crucial immunological and anti-inflammatory properties that protect the child against acquiring a host of illnesses and diseases, as well as improving maternal health outcomes. Although, breastfeeding rates in the United States have increased over the last few years, they still fall far short of Healthy People objectives 2010. Now, the Healthy People 2020 objectives, including an overall objective of 81 percent of infants ever being breastfed, are consistent with the universal medical recommendation to breastfeed exclusively for six months with continued breastfeeding for at least one year. Breastfeeding is an essential public health strategy to improve infant and child morbidity and mortality rates, improve maternal morbidity, and assist in controlling the cost of health care.

Economic Benefits to Breastfeeding

Infant formula costs the average family in the United States between $1,200 – $1,500 annually. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a minimum of $3.6 billion in medical expenses per year would be saved if 50 percent of children were breastfed for the first six months. If 90 percent of children in the United States were exclusively breastfeed for six months, an estimated $13 billion annually could be saved from reduced direct and indirect medical expenses.

What are the health benefits of breast milk?

The health benefits of breast milk for children are unparalleled. Breast milk not only contains immunological properties that protect a newborn, but research has shown that the overall risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is twice as great for formula-fed infants compared with breastfed infants. The widespread health benefits of breastfeeding extend beyond their child’s first few months of life. Children that are breastfed experience an overall 72 percent reduction in the risk of hospitalization due to lower respiratory tract diseases. There are numerous health benefits, listed on Table 1.

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Thinking of Breastfeeding For the First Time

As the arrival of my first child approached, honestly, I had not given any thought to breastfeeding or bottle feeding. I was just trying to get through the pregnancy. I lived with a dear college friend who was very supportive of me. My greatest  comfort was in  just being healthy and living in a calm and peaceful environment. She shared so many ‘mama pointers’, and I was happy to be around someone who cared about me especially during my pregnancy.

Days passed quickly, but seemed like forever. I went to my doctors appointments alone and that was ok.  On occasions while at my prenatal appointments I met the sweetest people who were so delighted that I arrived to the doctors safely, since I would alone. On one such day later in my pregnancy,I met Margaret. She was the clinics Midwife. She came up close and sat down right beside me. I read her name tag and asked about her profession which was midwifery. She gave a short general explanation and that was fine. I could understand that she did not have a whole lot of time to spend with me, as I was not her patient. But after her explanation, she shared with me why she felt that she needed to come over  a speak with me.

At first, I was a bit alarmed, wondering if I had sat in the wrong place or maybe I had done something that she didn’t like. However, I said nothing, just listened. Margaret went on to say, “I noticed that your legs are large”. I replied, my mom gave them to me. She then said, ” Oh, and they are fine legs indeed, but do you have problems with them, like leg cramps?”. Wow, this was amazing, and I shared that only of recent since I have been pregnant, when I do my morning stretch, ‘I GET THIS CHARLIE OF A HORSE AND It HURTS LIKE HECK’.  She smiled with an ahh and said, “I thought as much.” Then she asked if I were taking calcium and my response was no, just my prenatals. Margaret then went on to say that for some of her clients, she recommended that they take the calcium carbonate supplement with vitamin D to help with leg cramps, and she added that if I was considering breastfeeding, that it might be a good idea to continue taking so that I don’t become Calcium deficient as a result.   After our brief chat, I thanked her as she scooted off to see her next client. { Ummm, I had not even given breastfeeding a single thought, before she gave this suggestion.}

Though she was a sweet lady, I had to ask my doctor and he agreed it’s ok, but let him take a look at it before I begin to take anything. He gave me his “ok, you can take it”.

Months later in the pregnancy and on this day 30 years ago, my son, Michael was born. Shortly after his birth and all the commotion was done, I was taken from a birthing room to my stay room.  The attending nurse, brought in this machine gadget on a metal stand and said, this is a pump. I said, “what is it for” and she shared that it was to be used to help stimulate the breast milk for nursing.  Awww, and then she asked,” Oh, I’m sorry, aren’t you breastfeeding?” My response was being puzzled and a bit confused.  I thought back to the day of my prenatal appointment, the Midwife and two of my closest buddies in the world, Oneida & Pammy, both women who nursed all their babies.  Was she a nursing spy and were they part of her crew strategically placed? {Breastfeeding Mission Possible}. Tickled, I told the nurse that  I would  try the machine and see how it goes. This was my day one with breastfeeding,  and from Michael to six kids later, this has been my feeding mantra.  I understand that for some this breastfeeding thing is a bit scary, but I have not been one to be so easily frightened.

SO overall, and after many years of breastfeeding, and looking back, if you asked me when did I consider it, I would have to say, I did not give any consideration. There were many loving , non-apologizing professional people who were in my journey path that planted seeds towards my choice. Throughout the course of many years while breastfeeding and afterwards, I had been a lactation support person, mama buddy, doula, labor coach, medical health professional, and an executive director of a health clinic, but my passion for breastfeeding still lives on in Mommy Scrubbs . Happy Birthday Michael, 30 years ago you began my journey towards breastfeeding.

Kathy Hines Owner/ Creator

Mommy Scrubbs