This post is for all new moms who tend to breastfeed properly.
And when we say properly we mean 2 things:
- Breastfeed exclusively for the first 6 months without adding formula or water, “vitamin D and medicine is accepted.”
- Breastfeeding as long as you can “1-2 years besides the solid foods.”
But all over the world, only 38% of women can breastfeed exclusively for the first 6 months due to:
- Breastfeeding challenges “pain – work – study.”
- New moms are lacking a set of breastfeeding skills.
Despite breastfeeding being natural, it needs practice with a solid base of knowledge.
Regarding breastfeeding skills, how to position your baby on your breast called “baby latching” is a crucial skill needed for a successful breastfeeding journey.
Add to it that poor baby latching would lead to:
- Sore nipples, pain, fissures, and even bleeding.
- Diminished breast milk supply.
- Naturally, you would escape breastfeeding sessions and use formula instead.
Regarding all breastfeeding positions:
If you are wondering about what a good breastfeeding latch looks like, see the next illustration.
Image source: Breastfeedo.com
As you can see, this is how an excellent baby latch looks like which causes no nipple pain or decrease in breast milk supply where:
- Your baby’s nose pathway is free where you can pass your finger in between.
- The dark ring of areola “around the nipple” is mostly inside his mouth, especially the lower part.
- Your baby’s mouth is cupping your breast from downside, not the upper one.
- Finally, his chin is inserted into your breast.
But wait a minute. Before getting your baby to latch, you should pay attention to one important thing which is:
Your breast is very big for your baby to latch, especially if:
- Your breastfed baby is in his first month “Tiny mouth.”
- You have large breasts.
Don’t worry. You can handle that issue by applying the sandwich breastfeeding hold.
To understand the idea behind the sandwich latch trick, watch yourself when you approach a large burger, two steps are needed:
- First, you squeeze the large sandwich before mouth catching.
- Second, you open your mouth widely.
The same is applicable for your baby but the difference is he can’t open his mouth wide enough to catch your squeezed breast.
How can you stimulate the wide mouth opening before baby latching?
Follow the steps in the next poster:
After squeezing the breast like the sandwich, hit his nose with your nipple.
At this point, he would try to catch the nipple which is higher than his mouth level.
So, he would open his mouth wide enough with moving his head back to enable him to catch the squeezed breast.
Always keep your baby’s head free to move back in any breastfeeding position for wider and deeper baby latching.
Image source: Breastfeedo.com
- This trick may take several times to get the widest mouth opening. Thus, be patient until you get the best opportunity and then insert your compressed breast as mentioned before.
- Unlatch your baby if you feel that his mouth is not enough widely opened.
Some latching tips for different breastfeeding positions
The side lying nursing
The side by side nursing is one of the most comfortable breastfeeding positions as you can do it in bed at night time.
Regarding side-lying nursing, please consider the following:
- One of your hands is above your baby’s head and the second one is compressing your breast “the sandwich hold.”
- Both of your baby’s hands are hugging your breast for best control.
- Your trunk and baby’s body are forming a V shape as you can see in the previous illustration.
- Using pillows in that nursing position is essential to prevent neck, back, and leg pain.
The breastfeeding football hold
This breastfeeding position is suitable for moms who have large breasts or after having a c-section delivery because the baby’s weight is away from the abdomen.
While you are breastfeeding in the football position, keep attention to the following:
- Your baby’s foot is away from any solid surface to avoid pushing himself against that surface to ease the latching process.
- Use a pillow under your baby to raise him to the level of your breast instead of pulling your breast down.
- Avoid the football hold if your baby is suffering from GERD “GastroEsophageal Reflux Disease” to prevent the entrance of breast milk into his lungs.
The laid-back nursing position
This position has special benefits for both the baby and the nursing mother because:
- You can apply the laid back nursing within 1 hour after delivery.
- The gravity controls and supports your baby while breastfeeding and no much assistance is needed from your side like in the other breastfeeding positions.
- Skin to skin contact during laid back nursing makes your baby more secure. For mom, skin to skin contact increases your prolactin hormone “vital breastfeeding hormone” which affects your breast milk positively.
For better latching during laid-back breastfeeding:
- For the first time, let your baby try to latch himself by putting him tummy to tummy. Trust me he knows what to do and your nipple/areola are darker in color to be recognized by your smart breastfed baby.
- Stay in semi-reclining posture “about 25 degrees” and don’t go for flat to avoid baby’s weight overload on your abdomen.
- Don’t forget to support your head and neck by using a pillow to avoid further pain problems.
This is a guest post submitted by my friends over at breastfeedo.com. Please do check them out, they have tons and tons of amazing educational breastfeeding graphics.