Breastfeeding is one of the best things a mother can do for her child. During the last trimester of the pregnancy, every part of a woman's breast also prepares itself for the milk production and for the opportunity to nurse a newborn child. However, despite of the natural process of releasing milk from the breast and mother-baby instincts, the first few attempts of breastfeeding can be quite stressful for the both of them. Aside from knowing the right foods to eat in order to start and sustain breastmilk, proper positioning is another essential thing to consider to become successful in breastfeeding. It helps not only the baby to get the right amount of milk he needs, but also for the mother to avoid breast discomfort, nipple soreness and other breastfeeding problems. Knowing the position that works both for the mother and baby will make their breastfeeding journey enjoyable and fulfilling.
To start of, place your baby toward your breast. His whole body should be facing the breast, ensuring that his face, ear, shoulder and hip in a straight line. Using a nursing pillow can be a great help for a more comfortable position and to ensure that he is aligned well to the breast.
Once done, here are some breastfeeding positions you should try on:
- THE CRADLE HOLD
This can be done by positioning the baby's head on the bend of your elbow of the arm on the side you will be feeding, while the other arm supports the rest of the body. Using the other hand, cup your breast and place your thumb above the nipple on the part where the baby's nose can touch it, while the index finger should put the baby's chin where it can make contact with the breast. Compress lightly the breast so that the nipple slightly points the baby's nose. The baby then can start latching.
- THE CROSSOVER HOLD
To do this, hold your baby using the hand opposite to the side of the breast you will be nursing. Place your wrist between baby's shoulder blades, thumb behind one ear and the other fingers on the other ear. With the other hand, cup your breast just like the cradle hold.
- THE FOOTBALL HOLD
This position, also known as the clutch hold, is suitable for those who underwent caesarean section to avoid touching their abdomen while nursing, women with large breasts, premature babies, and twins.
To achieve this, you have to position your baby at the side, facing you, while tucking his legs under your arm (hence the term "football hold") on the same side where you will nurse him. Using the same hand, support the baby's head, while the other hand to cup the breast just like in cradle hold position.
- THE LAID-BACK POSITION
While the clutch hold is for moms with large breast, this position is good for those with smaller breast. For this, lean back in a bed or couch in a semi-circling position, using the help of pillows. This is needed so that when you put the baby directly into your tummy, head near your breast, gravity will maintain him molded to you. The baby can rest in any direction, provided that the whole front of the baby is placed in opposite to you, and that he can reach your breast comfortably. In this position, the baby can naturally latch, or you can guide him by placing your nipple directly into his mouth. When the baby starts to latch, all you can do then is to laid back and relax.
- THE SIDE-LYING POSITION
This is the best position when you will breastfeed in the middle of the night. This can be done by lying side with your baby, tummy-to-tummy, using your free hand (the one you not lying to) to cup your breast. Before doing this, you should make sure that the bed is free of any pillows or even excess bedding to prevent suffocation to the baby. Because of this, this position only works in bed, and not in other places like the recliner or couch.
There is no harm in trying these breastfeeding positions especially to know which one works best for you and to the baby. However, regardless of the positions, you must consider your position- that you are not bends over to your baby, always maintaining your back laid straight. Also, you must check the baby's position, making sure his head and body are in straight line always, and also his distance to your breast-not that near that will block his breathing, and not too far which can pull your nipple while feeding.