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Proper Breastfeeding – Tips & Positions

Breastfeeding is important for your baby’s health. In fact, this natural process doesn’t just do your baby good; it also has health benefits for you i.e. the breastfeeding mother. If you are breastfeeding for the first time, then it is completely okay to feel worried. However, with the tips mentioned here, you will become an expert in no time. This is because one of the most important things while breastfeeding is proper positioning of the baby. If that is taken care of, then your newborn will have no trouble latching on the right way.

What do we mean by proper positioning anyway?

Follow these steps to see exactly what we mean:

  1. Place your baby on one side with their face turned toward your breasts.
  2. Arrange them in a way that their whole body forms a straight line. A good way of ensuring that is to position the baby where their lower half is parallel to the breast they won’t be feeding from yet.
  3. The baby’s facial development, including the structure of the jaw and teeth will be better
  4. Support and elevate your baby with the help of a pillow.

So, this is how you position the baby properly. The next important bit is finding a breastfeeding position that won’t be hard on you. Here are some positions commonly used by mothers all around the world:

The Classic Cradle Hold

This position requires you to hold your baby so that their head is nestled between the crooks of your arm. To make the position more comfortable for you, it would be better to sit down on a chair that has armrests you can use to support yourself. Alternatively, a bed with lots of pillows would serve the same purpose. Don’t lean down in your baby’s direction or you might end up with a backache. If that happens, these tips can help. It is also recommended that you keep your feet elevated by resting them on a stool etc during the process.

The cradle hold is recommended for babies who have been delivered after a complete 9 month gestation period and vaginally. This is because women who have delivered a baby via cesarean section think the classic hold exerts pressure on their abdomen. For babies who can’t seem to find the nipple at such an early age, you might want to try out another position for breastfeeding.

The Cross Cradle

In this method, the baby will be lying down on its side with a nursing pillow supporting them. If they're to latch on the left breast, then you can support their head with your right hand and their body with your right arm. Many mothers have found this position nurturing since it brings both their and the baby’s bodies in close contact.

Football Hold

For mothers who have had a baby via cesarean, the football hold is a good idea. It is also recommended as a comfortable way to breastfeed for women with large breasts. The baby will be positioned on one side of the mother under her arm. Make sure that the baby’s bottom is touching the surface that the mother is occupying, such as a chair, couch, etc. To help the baby latch in the right way, bend their legs at the hip. That way, they won’t keep bumping against the chair as they feed.

The tips mentioned here can help your baby latch faster and more easily.

Side-Lying

It can be more comfortable to feed your baby at night, if you are lying down. This position requires both you and your baby to face each other while lying on your sides. Use a pillow or a rolled up blanket to keep the baby in position. You can also support your back with a pillow behind you. Cradle the baby in your arm as you feed it.

Laid-Back

This is another position that many mothers find relaxing. This is because it feels natural to their baby. It requires the mother to find a comfortable surface, such as the couch, bed, recliner etc. and reclining back about 45 degrees. When you feed the baby, it will be lying face down on your breast. More contact will be ensured between the mom and the baby since they will be hugging the breast with both arms.

Upright

Also called the koala position or the upright football hold, this position requires the baby to be sitting upright on your knee. Arrange them, so the baby is facing you. With the arm from the same side that your baby is feeding on, support them as they feed. With your other arm, support your breast.

If you are worried whether your baby is latching the right way or not, then there are indications that can help you out.

Tips for Initial Breastfeeding

Some babies can have trouble latching on later. The solution is to get them acquainted with your breast as soon as you can once they have been delivered. If you need help, ask the nurse in charge of looking after you.

Secondly, in order to keep the feeding problems to a minimum, it is best that you continue feeding your baby as often as possible. Usually, this means, you will be feeding them every 1- 3 hours daily. This practice will also make it less likely that you will experience breast engorgement.

To get through the whole process peacefully and comfortably, find a place where you will be able to relax and focus on you two. Another important thing is to only breastfeed while in a comfortable position. If you want your baby to adjust to the process quickly and as seamlessly as possible, you must start by making yourself comfortable.

Before you start feeding, check if your baby needs changing. Once they sense the change, your baby will be more active. That is the perfect time to stimulate them to start nursing. If they are already up, then wait until you have nursed them before changing their diaper.

Most babies will be sleepy for the first 24-48 hours after birth. You will have to coax them to breastfeed in such a situation

Breastfeeding doesn’t have to be a complicated or even exhausting experience. As long as you know that your comfort is as important as getting the baby to latch, you will do fine!

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