Breastfeeding Basics In The Early Days
Before you feed your baby, make yourself as comfortable as possible because you may be there for a while. While you are getting breastfeeding established this can involve a lot of cushions to provide you with support for your back and your arms, enabling you to feed without getting sore. If you are sitting, it can also be helpful if your lap is flat, rather than your knees sloping towards the floor.
It won’t always be like this but using cushions will help to support your baby in the right position, to make you comfortable and to help you conserve energy.
If you feeling tense, sit comfortably, focus on your breathing and relax your shoulders.
Positioning Your Baby
- Sit upright with your baby across your lap. At the beginning, use pillows to support your baby so he is in a straight line facing your tummy and you can allow your arms and shoulders to relax.
- Lying down – you and baby can lay facing each other, with your baby’s nose next to your nipple. You can this on the bed or on the floor, but the sofa is not recommended.
- The Rugby Ball Hold – place your baby on a pillow, under your arm, so his nose faces your nipple.
With all of these positions, aim to have your baby’s spine in a straight line, so he doesn’t turn his head to feed.
Make sure your baby is tucked in to your body, to prevent him from slipping off the breast. It can also help if your baby’s feet are rest on something like a pillow so he feels more secure and comfortable.
- Ideally your baby’s spine needs to straight when he is feeding, so his head is not turned to the side. Even if your baby is latched on properly, a baby who turns his head to feed may not feel well as it is harder to swallow.
- At the correct angle, your baby’s nose will be next to your nipple. As his head tilts back to open his mouth widely, his tongue, bottom lip and chin will touch your breast first. This will enable your baby to take a mouthful of breast rather than just the nipple.
- Your baby needs to take the areola into his mouth, if you can see any of this when he is feeding make sure this is above the nipple. This is to stop you from getting sore and cracked nipples. If feeding is hurts or you can see areola underneath the nipple, take your baby off your breast and try again.
- Become aware of how it feels when your baby is feeding – when your baby is latched on and feeding well it will feel comfortable, you can feel you baby’s rhythmic sucks and you become aware of what feels right.