“Successful breastfeeding doesn’t comes naturally, but is learned”
Breastfeeding comes with numerous benefits for a mother and her baby. It’s completely a personal choice whether to breastfeed the baby or not. But if you choose to continue breastfeeding comfortably, correct positioning and attachment is the secret. It is a learned skill that takes patience, to provide a positive breastfeeding experience for the mother, baby, and their families.
When starting to breastfeed, learn and look for the early breastfeeding cues such as:
- Baby starting to wake.
- Eyelids fluttering before opening.
- Moving his head side to side.
- Rooting, licking, opening, and closing his mouth.
- Putting thumb and fingers in his mouth.
- Crying (late feeding cue).
RULES FOR CORRECT POSITIONING
- A relaxed and comfortable position.
- Her back, neck, arms, and feet are all well supported. (Use cushions, pillows, soft towels wherever needed).
- The baby’s neck, hip, and feet are aligned in the same line.
- The mother should support the baby’s neck, back, and shoulder which will allow the baby to move his head freely.
- The baby should be in the proximity of the mother.
EASY TIPS TO ENSURE CORRECT ATTACHMENT
- Place your nipple between the baby’s upper lip and nose. It helps the baby, feel the nipple, and smell breast milk.
- Let your baby’s chin touch your breast first and then let his mouth open wide to grab the attachment.
- The mother’s nipple and areola should be deep at the junction of the soft and hard palate of the baby’s mouth.
- The baby’s nose should be free to breathe.
- The deeper the attachment, the more comfort for the mother, and better experience for the baby.
SIGNS YOUR ATTACHMENTS IS GOOD
- The baby’s mouth is wide open and lips flanged out.
- Pause noticed in between the suckling.
- The baby’s chin is pressed on the breast.
- The baby’s jaw is moving and ears may twitch as he feeds.
- Baby’s first few sucks are quick and short transitioning to slower and longer.
- His cheeks are full and rounded and not dimpled.
- The mother’s nipple should not be sore, pinched, or blanched after the feeds.
A correct attachment and positioning is the first step to make breastfeeding a blissful experience. Some of the most common positions are listed underneath.
- CRADLE POSITION: In this position, the mother’s elbow cradles the baby’s head and supports his back with the forearm. The mother and the baby are chest-to-chest. It might not work for you in the beginning. Try keeping a pillow on your lap. Remember not to keep it too high. Let your breast be at its natural height to avoid sore nipples.
- RECLINED POSITION: This is one of the first positions, mothers can try with the newborns. Mother’s lie gently on their back (not flat) with cushions and pillows placed underneath. The baby lies on your tummy and looks for your breast to grab a latch. This is known as the ‘breast crawl’.
- CROSS CRADLE POSITION: This looks much like a cradle position. Only, your rams switch the job. Your baby’s body rests on your opposite forearm and the other arm is now free to tend your baby, shape your breast, and help in latching with babies with poor latching abilities.
- FOOTBALL/CLUTCH HOLD: In this position, your baby rests along your forearm, with his body lying on your side. His legs lie towards your back. This is one of the best positions to give a full view of your baby’s face. Importantly, this is the ideal position for moms who have undergone a c-section, have pre-mature baby or twins
- SIDE LYING POSITION: This position has the mother and her baby lying side by side, belly to belly. The baby’s face should align with the breast to grab a latch. It is a comfortable position for late-night feeds or if the mother feels exhausted for sitting positions and for the babies with tongue-tie.
- KOALA HOLD: In this position, your baby sits on your thigh with his legs on either side. Your arm supports his back. It is good for your baby who can sit unaided or one with tongue ties or ear infections (who often prefer to be upright).
There is a wide range of breastfeeding support available in hospitals. The breastfeeding supporter if necessary can help identify issues and make a plan with parents for improving breastfeeding in conjunction with the health care team.
PRO TIP: Mothers Remember! Open, Angle and Oomph.
OPEN: (a wide open mouth)
ANGLE: (nose to nipple, head slightly tilted back; chin first; shoulders, hips, legs
and feet pulled in close)
OOMPH: (a gentle push on baby’s shoulders at latch to move the nipple into the