Are you breastfeeding your baby correctly?
If breastfeeding is painful to you, that may be caused by the wrong feeding position. Breastfeeding is a technical task and correct posture makes breastfeeding easier. Let us take a look at a number of correct breastfeeding positions.
Correct breastfeeding postures
The most commonly used method which is suitable for mothers who are recovering from childbirth.
- Mothers lie down on the bed, preferably with a soft pillow supporting the waist and under the arm.
- Hold the baby close to yourself and gently turn his head and shoulders towards the breast.
- Support the baby’s neck with the base of the palm of one hand, by supporting with four fingers.
- The other hand is curved to support the breast.
- Put the nipple lightly in the baby’s mouth, open his mouth to cover both the nipple and areola.
This posture is the most traditional method, quite similar to crossing. The mother supports the baby’s head with one arm, holds his little butt in the palm, and the other hand can be placed on the breast, guiding the baby’s small mouth to find the mother’s nipple.
Lie on your side with your pillows high on your back. Hold your baby’s back with one hand to face him sideways, and rest your arms under your head. Keep your nipples on the same level as your baby’s mouth.
After breastfeeding, the mother must first press the baby’s jaw gently with her index finger to signal the baby that the mother is about to pull out the nipple. If you pull it out without making a signal, your child may continue to latch and damage your tender nipples.
This looks similar to the cradle hold but your arms switch roles so your baby’s body lies along your opposite forearm. This technique is aimed to support your baby around his neck and shoulders to allow him to tilt his head prior to latch. This is a great breastfeeding position for newborn or those with latching difficulties. As your baby is fully supported on your opposite arm. You can control over his positioning, use your free hand to shape your breast to allow good latching.
Remarks: Don’t hold your newborn head as you might push his chin on to his chest. This can result in a shallow latch (as your nipple hits the base of his tongue rather than his palate) and sore nipples for you. As your baby gets bigger this technique becomes much easier, and you can rest your baby’s head in your hand.
Rugby ball hold
Sit on any place you’re comfortable. Put baby’s body tucks alongside your side, with his feet towards the back of the chair, or whatever you’re sitting on. This is another helpful early nursing position because it supports your baby well, and give good view of his face.
This is a good position for mothers who have had a C-section, twins, or a premature baby or those who have larger breasts.
If you have had a Caesarean delivery and couldn’t find a comfortable breastfeeding position, this is for you! Reclining with your baby’s body across your shoulder will let you nurse comfortably without any weight or pressure on your wound, or you could also try side-lying.
Did your baby had frequent reflux (vomiting) or ear infection? This might be for you. This technique is having your baby sits straddling your thigh, or on your hip with head upright as he feeds. If he is a newborn, support the spine with your forearm or palm. This method prevent reflux and reduce risk of chocking. It’s also a convenient way to feed an older baby who can sit unaided.
Breastfeeding Positions to Avoid
Do avoid certain positions that can be bad for you or your baby, which includes hunching over the baby as you might block the baby’s nose with your breast and airway passages will be compromised. Position in such a way that your baby’s body and head facing different directions which will cause reflux or chocking. Lastly, do not hold your baby’s body far away from the breast as it can lead to a bad latching thus, nipple crack.
Tips for Every Breastfeeding Position
Some good techniques to be applied with any positions:
- Support your body by picking a chair with armrests, and use plenty of pillows to support your back and arms to prevent backache.
- Support your breasts by using your hands while feeding. If you have large breasts, you can even place a rolled up towel or blanket beneath your breast to keep the nipple at a straight-on angle with your baby’s mouth. As the breasts are engorged, the heaviness might be uncomfortable.
- Support your baby. Use your arm, palm , blankets or pillow under her head and back for extra support. This is to make sure your baby’s head is leveled with your breasts.
- Alternate position. This can help prevent nipple soreness, clogged milk ducts, and breasts infection.
- Alternate between breasts. When your baby drains one breast, offer the other. For next feeding, start with the full breast first. This can help boost milk production and prevent mastitis.