Breastfeeding is a fantastic way to create a precious bond with your baby. Most importantly, breastfeeding enriches your baby’s immunity and helps in his nourishment. Early initiation of breastfeeding is essential along with the appropriate positioning. New moms, you might be wondering how to exactly hold your baby during breastfeeding. Don’t worry, we have come with some breastfeeding positions that can help you feed your baby comfortably. Continue reading this article to know the best breastfeeding positions that can help you create a sweet bond with your baby.
Breastfeeding Position Importance
There is innumerable importance of proper breastfeeding position but always keep in mind that early initiation of breastfeeding is very significant. Lactation should be continued, and positioning is pivotal to get latch on. In case of normal delivery, you should start providing breastfeeding within half an hour of delivery, whereas in a caesarian delivery, within the first four hours of delivery. Babies have a sucking reflex, which allows them to suck and swallow milk. Don’t forget to strengthen your water intake in this crucial phase.
According to experts, you must breastfeed your child within one hour of birth. You must not discontinue breastfeeding in the first six months as it is a very delicate stage. Starting from birth, you should continue it until age two.
Colostrum is the breast secretion during the latter part of pregnancy (2-4 days after delivery). Colostrum contains IgA (Immunoglobulin A), which contributes passive immunity to your baby. Colostrum is followed by transitional milk (next two weeks) and mature milk (replaces translational milk after two weeks). Breastfeeding at night should be strengthened to enhance prolactin secretion.
- Promotes health and helps to prevent diseases.
- Breastfeeding lowers the risk of developing allergies.
- Lowers ear, nose, throat, and sinus infections and prevents respiratory difficulties and diarrhea.
- Downgrades the risk of childhood leukemia.
- In some studies, it is revealed that breastfeeding at an early stage can help increase your child’s IQ.
- It is more likely to gain proper weight in the case of breastfed children and lessen the risk of heart disease.
- Drops off the risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
Apart from clinical benefits, there is also a major psychological benefit of breastfeeding. The mother gets time to relax and spend time with her baby, and the body to body touch helps develop a special bonding between the mother and her baby.
Breastfeeding is not only useful for your baby but also for you too. Breastfeeding helps in releasing the oxytocin hormone, which helps the uterus to return to its actual size.
Breastfeeding Influencing Factors
- Genetic factors
- Emotional status and emotional bonding
- Your attitude and approach towards your baby
Factors Which Hampers Milk Production
- Intaking certain drugs like oral contraceptives. So, better do not intake any medicine without prescribing your pediatrician.
- Complications like a cracked nipple, and contested breast
Infant Hunger Cues (Signs)
Early Baby Hunger Cues
- Opening mouth
- Turning head
Mid Baby Hunger Cues
- Increased physical movement
- Drawing hands to mouth
Late Baby Hunger Cues
- Rigorous body movements
How To Hold Your Baby When Breastfeeding?
Having proper insight into various aspects of breastfeeding is very necessary for a would-be mother. You should master up all the knowledge of how to hold your baby during breastfeeding. At first, this breastfeeding practice can be a troubled one for you, but eventually, you will become familiar with them.
There are several methods and techniques to identify the best and right position for you and your baby. Nowadays, there are various options available for you, such as a crash course on breastfeeding. You have to incite a few steps to encourage your baby to breastfeed.
How To Encourage Your Baby To Breastfeed?
- Pack yourself up before feeding your baby, keep all the necessary things within your reach
- Ensure that your baby feels comfortable and relaxed. You can use comfort devices for you like backrest, footrest, and pillow while feeding.
- Assess whether your baby is latching on correctly or not
- Maintain privacy and sing a lullaby to pamper your baby while breastfeeding
- Place pillow to provide comfort to your baby
- Gently touch your nipple from the nose to lip, which will let your baby open his mouth.
Different Breastfeeding Positions
Proper positioning is as important as feeding your baby. The right position allows your baby to gulp the right amount of milk and proper breastfeeding positions help reduce gas. Upholding proper breastfeeding positioning and attachment is necessary to cultivate a bond with your baby. You should get in touch with a pediatrician or a skillful nurse to comprehend the newborn’s appropriate breastfeeding techniques.
Below are some best positions to feed a newborn.
1. Side Lying Breastfeeding Position
You can exercise the side-lying way of breastfeeding by simply sitting on a sofa or bed. You need to lie on your side, placing your baby down adjacent to you on their side. You and your little one will be facing each other belly to belly with the baby’s head at your breast’s level. You can use additional pillows for extra comfort.
Side Lying Position Benefits
- Helps your baby to manage the flow of milk when you have forceful letdown or oversupply
- Ideal when you had a c-section delivery
- Helps to feed your little one when the baby is sleepy
- Perfect position if you have large breasts
- Extremely helpful when you are exhausted or sick
2. Cradle Breastfeeding Position
This is the most acceptable position. Hold your baby in your lap in an upright position. Grab your baby softly in the crook of your elbow on the proximal side of your breast. It is a tummy facing tummy and chest to chest position. Always make sure that your baby’s ear, shoulder, and hip are in a straight line.
Cradle Position Benefits
- It provides comfort to your baby.
- It allows you to hold your baby quickly.
- Suitable for those who are having latching difficulties
3. Cross Cradle Breastfeeding Position
Sit straight in a comfortable chair, having armrests. Then bring your baby tummy to tummy across the front of your body. Try holding your baby in the crook of your arms opposite to the breast you are feeding on. With your open hand, support the back of your baby’s head, and with your other hand, support your breast. Avoid leaning forward or bending over and try to cradle your baby close to your breast.
Cross Cradle Position Benefits
- Ideal for those having latching difficulties as it helps your baby to latch on deeply
- Perfect in your primary days of breastfeeding as it helps you to view your nipple and little one’s mouth
- This technique becomes peaceful as your little one grows old.
- A flexible way of breastfeeding
4. Back Lying Breastfeeding Position
Your baby has an instinct to move towards the baby’s food source, i.e., your breast. You can use this biological nurturing process by laying your back comfortably and placing your baby’s tummy down on your chest, which would motivate your baby to find your breast, open his/her mouth, and feed by using the tongue.
Back Lying Position Benefits
- Suitable for babies of any age
- Ideal if you have a forceful letdown
- If you have large breasts, this is a good position.
- Perfect when you and your baby are warm and lightly dressed
- Prevents and reduces pain in the nipple
- If you are sore from childbirth, have shoulder or neck pain, or have or cesarean wound, this position is ideal.
5. Upright Breastfeeding Position
For this upright breastfeeding, all you need to do is make your baby sit on your thigh or hip with the baby’s spine or head upright while the little one feeds.
Upright Position Benefits
- Perfect for feeding an older baby who can sit without help
- If your baby is suffering from reflux or ear infections, this is the most suitable way of breastfeeding.
- Ideal for babies having low muscle tone or tongue-tied babies
6. Dancer Hand Breastfeeding Position
Let your baby’s chin rest between your thumb and pointer finger and wrap the rest of your fingers under your breast. Support the baby’s neck or shoulder with the other hand.
Dancer Hand Position Benefits
- Your baby would get plenty of support in this position.
- The dancer position would offer you a great view of the baby’s latch.
- This position is perfect for you to get control over the baby’s position.
- If your baby is premature or has some sort of illness or down syndrome, this position is ideal.
7. Clutch Breastfeeding Position
This is also called a Rugby ball hold position. You have to hold your baby along with your arm with your baby’s body and feet tucked under your arm in this position. Hold your baby’s head in your hand. You can rest your hand on a pillow while feeding your baby.
Clutch Position Benefits
- It is beneficial if you have gone through a caesarian section, or you have a premature baby.
- This position also suits if your baby is having a low birth weight or has trouble latching.
- This position supports your baby very well.
- If you have larger breasts, this position suits you very well.
8. Double Clutch Position
This position is also phoned as a double rugby ball hold. This position is very modest to attain, and you can feed your twins at a time while having your hands free. You use an extra pillow as assistance and to reduce pressure and strain.
Double Clutch Position Benefits
- Highly useful if you have twins. It not only saves your time but also maximizes your comfort.
- It is a very relaxed position for your babies as well.
9. Sling Breastfeeding Position
Although this position is not a cup of tea for everyone, you have to master your skill by practicing it several times. All you need to make a front carrier by draping a cloth around your neck. You have to make sure that your baby is not getting suffocated, and the chin is not pressed against yours.
Sling Position Benefits
- You can hold your baby in all types of slings while feeding.
- If you are skilled at breastfeeding, then this position is convenient for you.
10. Dangle Breastfeeding Position
Hold your baby in a prone position (lying on the back. Slightly bend towards your baby and dangle your nipple to let your baby drink milk. For extra comfort, you can use a pillow.
Dangle Position Benefits
- This position is beneficial in the case of blocked ducts and brings ease in draining out milk.
- If your baby is struggling to latch, this position helps you a lot.
- Though this position can’t be attained regularly, your baby can have it frequently.
Breastfeeding Tips and Tricks
Now that you have gathered a brief idea about the breastfeeding position, now it is time for amassing some essential tips and tricks.
- Do your homework well regarding breastfeeding positions beforehand.
- If possible, do a crash course by attending breastfeeding classes.
- You should be relaxed while breastfeeding. No need to take the stress
- Always stay hydrated so consume sufficient water regularly.
- Take good care of your skin and nipples.
- Comprehend the infant feeding cues to realize if your baby is feeling hungry or not
- Learn suitable ways to latch
- Try to feed equally from both the breasts.
- Let your baby find his / her right position during breastfeeding.
- Avoid developing painful swelling and hardening of your breast.
- If you have mastitis, don’t terminate breastfeeding.
- Breastfeed right after birth
- Try out different breastfeeding positions.
- Women with large breasts may confront issues regarding their breast size. Large breasts are sweaty and heavy. So easy breastfeeding positions for large breasts may be side-lying, feeding the baby lying on your lap instead of supporting your hands.
- After all, if you face any kind of difficulties, do not hesitate to consult a pediatrician or an expert for help.
Breastfeeding Positions Conclusion:
Becoming a mother is a blessing for a woman, and breastfeeding is the most fantastic motherhood experience. Apart from all physiological benefits, there are also various psychological facts of breastfeeding. This helps to make a strong bond between you and your baby and allows you to spend quality time with your newborn that comforts you in relaxation. Consult a physician before deciding on a suitable breastfeeding position and armed yourself with the right nursing supplies before breastfeeding. Do not stick to a particular position for the long term as it may bring discomfort to your baby.