Breastfeeding is natural, but it does not always come naturally to a mother.
It is normal to feel a little overwhelmed and many mothers might feel uncomfortable the first few times they try to breastfeed their babies.
Finding the perfect breastfeeding position for you and your baby is very important.
Laid-back Breastfeeding The Best Position for Newborns
Breastfeeding may seem awkward at first, but you and your baby have instincts and abilities for birth and for breastfeeding. You need to trust yourself and know that breastfeeding has been done billions of times before.
Your baby's instincts and reflexes can help him crawl to the nipple and latch on all by himself. Reclining at a natural angle will be more comfortable for you and your baby. Your baby can now lie on top of you, his front on your front, with a blanket over the two of you for warmth. Now your hands are free to caress your baby.
The only things you need to make sure of is that you are completely comfortable and supported - that your head, neck, shoulders, and body are not strained.
Usually, within the first hour, your baby will start to think about suckling. He may begin to drool or make sucking sounds or may bring his hands to his mouth. He may start bobbing his face on and off of your skin. You can help your baby to get closer to the breast or support him so that he can find his way.
The new feeling of having your baby on the breast may surprise you. You can breastfeed your baby as long as you both wish. Inside your womb, your baby was continuously fed via the umbilical cord, now outside the womb, your baby will be expecting frequent feedings to match. Therefore it is normal if your baby wakes up every now and then for feed, and dozes off during feedings. This erratic feeding is entirely normal and is precisely how a good milk supply is established.
Laid back breastfeeding has the following advantages.
There are no instructions to follow.
Gravity does some work for you, you don't have to worry about a specific breastfeeding hold.
Gravity brings your baby's head towards the breast instead of away from it.
Your bodies are touching each other, which triggers more instinctive responses.
Your baby will feel more secure against you.
You will be completely relaxed.
You have your hands free to stroke your baby or to do anything else such as read a book or drink a glass of water.
The Cradle Hold Breastfeeding Position
This position is best for the older baby, who already has control over head and neck movement, and who can latch on easily.
If you want to try this position with a newborn, you will need your baby’s head resting on your forearm; you will need to keep your baby close, with lots of skin on skin contact. The more common and easy breastfeeding positions for newborns are the football hold, and cross-cradle hold explained below.
Another way a mother can cradle hold a newborn while breastfeeding is with a sling or pouch, which is called the sling cradle hold. Learn more about babywearing here.Holding a baby in a sling is more convenient and much more comfortable.
Step By Step Cradle Hold for Newborn Babies
Make sure that your back is supported.
Put the base of your baby’s head in the crook of your arm.
Tuck your baby’s lower arm under his/her body.
Baby’s tummy should be against your tummy. His/her face and knees should be facing your body.
Use a U hold (shown in the image) to hold the breast; when positioning your breasts, make sure that your fingers are not touching your areola; this is so that they do not get in the way when your baby is trying to latch on.
Tickle your baby’s lips and wait until he/she opens their mouth wide; then bring your baby to your breast (not your breast to your baby, this will cause neck and back pain for you).
Baby should have your whole nipple and a large part of your areola in their mouth.
With your free hand, you must hold your breast in a U shape(making sure
that your fingers are out of the way for a good latch-on)
Tickle baby’s lips with your nipple until he/she opens their mouth wide, then quickly push your baby's body towards you and latch on.
Baby should have all of the nipple and most of the lower areola in their
mouth. Your nipple should be quite far back in your baby's mouth. If the latch
feels uncomfortable or painful, you can break the seal by placing your
fingers in the corner of Baby’s mouth and try again.
If your baby’s bottom lip is curled in, it sometimes helps to try to pull it out, for a better latch.
Do not try to make an air pocket on the top of the breast for your baby to
breathe. Doing this can cause nipple pain. Babies’ noses are made
especially for breastfeeding, and if your baby is struggling to breathe, he/she
will pull off on their own.
If your baby is drinking well, with
the cross breastfeeding hold, and your arm becomes tired, you can
transition into the regular cradle hold shown above.
This is a great breastfeeding position for mothers who:
football breastfeeding hold is also referred to as the underarm hold or clutch
hold. With this nursing position, you will be holding your baby on either one
of your sides. This is a great position for Mothers who have just had a Cesarean section.