If you're a first-time mother, breastfeeding may seem like a complicated task to you because it takes time, patience and practice. The way that you hold your baby during lactation decides whether or not he will get enough breast milk. Hence, finding a comfortable breastfeeding position becomes very important to you. To help you out, here are some time-tested breastfeeding position to try, plus some valuable tips to make nursing an enjoyable experience for both you and your baby.
Best Breastfeeding Positionsworth a Try
The Cradle Hold:
This is the most common breastfeeding position many mothers try soon often after giving birth to their baby. Perfect for older babies who already know how to latch properly, this classic position requires you to hold your baby's head in the crook of your elbow on the same side as the nursing breast. Since it puts too much pressure on belly, you should not even try it if you have had a cesarean delivery. In other words, the cradle hold position works best for babies born vaginally.
The Cross-Cradle Hold:
Also known as the cross-over hold, this position is quite similar to the cradle hold except the only difference that you support your baby with the opposite arm as the nursing breast. For instance, if you’re feeding on the left breast, you’re required to use your right arm to support the baby and support the feeding breast with your left hand. Because of giving mothers more control over how their baby latches on, the cross-cradle hold position is ideal for early breast-feeding and proves useful for babies who have trouble latching on.
The Side-Lying Hold:
This easy and comfortable breastfeeding position works best for mothers who have had a C-section (Cesarean Section) or difficult delivery because the baby doesn’t put pressure on mum's tummy.In this position, you lie down on your side and breastfeed the baby lying on his side facing you. Sometimes also called Reclining Position, the Side-Lying Hold is ideal for nursing in bed at night and getting some rest while feeding the baby. However, you may need to roll over to switch breasts.
The Football Hold:
As you can guess from the name, in this position the baby is tucked under mom’s arm - on the same side that infant is feeding from - like a football or handbag. Also referred to as the Clutch or Underarm position, this position proves very helpful for mothers who have had a caesarean, twin babies, premature newborns, milk ejection reflex and large breasts or flat nipples. As the Football Hold allows babies to get breast milk more easily, it can be used until the baby learns how to latch well.
Also called Biological Nurturing, this easy and relaxing position requires a mum having a comfortable, semi-reclining position (either in a chair or in bed) and laying the baby to breastfeed across her stomach or shoulder vertically. Establishing a natural physical connection between a mother and her baby, it encourages baby to use his instincts to find the breast and milk. Used mostly by small-breasted mums, Laid-back breastfeeding position sometimes doesn’t even require you to hold your breast or support your baby.
Helpful Tips for Every Nursing Position
Whichever nursing position you prefer to use, getting yourself and your little one comfortable is the key to successful and enjoyable breastfeeding. Use a soft and cozy nursing pillow to support your baby in your lap and try not to bend towards your baby when breastfeeding. Also, keep experimenting with different positions until you find a position that allows you to nurse your baby successfully and makes you feel comfortable while breastfeeding.
Support Your Nursing Breast:
Breastfeeding is not just about pulling out your breasts and fitting the nipple into your baby’s mouth. Since your breasts get heavier and bigger during breastfeeding, you need to support the nursing breast using your free hand. Mothers with large breasts are required to support their breast during entire nursing session, whereas small-breasted moms often hold their breast only during latching. While you’re supporting your breast, it’s suggested to keep fingers at least two inches behind your baby’s mouth.
Support Your Baby:
To make sure your little one gets the maximum possible amount of breast milk, support him as much as possible during lactation. Use your arm and hand to support your baby’s body and keep his neck, back, and hips in a straight line. Keep his nose and mouth towards your breast and gently rub the nipple across his top lip to encourage him to open his mouth. Additionally, to make breastfeeding more efficient, swaddle your baby using a receiving blanket.
Switch Breasts When Necessary:
If your baby is nursing properly, then you should not disturb him to switch your breasts. But if you feel your breast is going to empty or your baby appears hungry even after feeding from one breast, you can offer him your full breast until he gets full. In case you don’t switch, remember to use the full breast for the next feeding.
Relax, Then Nurse:
Last but certainly not least, relax and don’t panic. Take a few deep breaths, close your eyes and let peaceful thoughts come into mind. To stay hydrated and maintain your milk supply, consider drinking a glass full of liquid diet - like water, milk or juice – during lactation. As a general rule, you should drink 3 liters of water a day to produce enough milk in the lactation period.
This is a guest post written by Nishant Gupta – founder of WobblyWalk.Com – An Online Baby Pillow Store.