Breastfeeding Positions – Make Your Feeding Time Relaxing!
Breastfeeding should commence as soon as your baby is born. Early skin contact with the mother and suckling helps in let-down reflex due to which the milk secretion and expulsion kicks in. This occurs due to the action of hormone oxytocin. The first time you put the baby to the breast, the inborn sucking reflex will make the baby suck on its own. It is surprising how nature teaches them the most important survival reflex. In the hospital, a nursing mom can take the help of a lactation consultant who will explain and demonstrate the basics of breastfeeding like how to hold the baby, the correct technique to latch the baby on the breast, burping the baby post feeding etc. Since you will be feeding your baby every 2-3 hours in the first few weeks, it can be physically tiring for you. But the benefits of breastfeeding for mom and the baby are both great. So, it is very important that you know about the different breastfeeding positions and choose the one that suits you the best and makes breastfeeding a wonderful experience. Here are some of the well know nursing positions that will help in making the process smooth and enjoyable.
A basic and the most common newborn feeding positions of all. It is useful for mothers who have had a vaginal delivery. To adopt this position, hold your baby horizontal and keep his head in the fold of the arm in which you wish to hold the baby. Turn him to the right if you are feeding from the right breast. Keep the rest of the body touching your stomach and hold the baby close to you. Extend your forearm and support his spine and back. With your other hand you can position the nipple and ensure that baby latches onto the breast well. The baby should be at a slight angle while feeding. Prop the baby with a pillow so that you are not leaning on top of the baby. Leaning can give you a backache as feeding sessions are long in the early weeks. This position puts pressure on the stomach so it not very suitable for mothers who have had a C-section as the scar may still be painful. This position is also used in bottle fed babies.
There are several parents who wish to give their babies both breastfeeding and bottle feeding, to ensure complete nourishment and health. In such situations, choosing this cradle hold position for the baby is best.
Cross Over Hold
This position differs from the cradle hold because here you do not support the baby in the fold of your arm. Instead the opposite arm (left arm-when you are feeding from the right breast) supports the head of the baby. The rest of the body is facing your stomach and the baby is close to your body. This position helps the mother to guide the baby’s head to get a proper latch. It is useful in those babies who are premature and have troubling latching properly onto the breast.
Football Hold (Clutch Hold)
In the football hold position, the baby needs to be tucked right under your arm in the same manner as a football or clutch. The baby’s head is kept facing you and the body and legs are towards your back. Support the head of your baby using your forearm so that you can guide him to latch onto the nipple properly. Support the head of the baby with a pillow. Be careful that you do not push the face too close to the breast as it can block the baby’s nose and make him breathless. This position is very useful for mothers who have had twins as both the babies can feed simultaneously. It can be used by C-section mothers as it does not put pressure on the abdomen.
Lying Down Position
For feeding in this position, you need to lie down on your side with your neck and back aligned in a straight line. Keep pillows behind your back for support. Tuck one hand (on the side you are feeding) under your head and turn your baby to face you. The head of the baby should be near your armpit so that he does not have to strain to reach the nipple. If required, support the head with a small pillow. With your free hand support the baby’s head and position the nipple correctly into the mouth of the baby. This is one of the best breastfeeding positions for mothers who have had a c-section or are troubled with severe back aches. It helps you to get some rest and feed at the same time especially if you are feeding in bed.
Position is one of the aspects you need to take care of. Ensure that nursing sessions do not become stressful. Do not bend over your baby. Keep your back well supported and prop the baby with a pillow. Feed well from both the breasts and always burp the baby after each feeding session. Staying hydrated helps you feed better so have lots of water and juices. You must select the best breastfeeding positions for newborns and make your breastfeeding moments a memorable experience for life.