Breastfeeding is vital to a baby’s health and well-being. Yet researchers found that 35% of women who stop breastfeeding say that it is due to latch problems. Latch problems can be addressed simply by trying out new positions until you find one that suits both you and your baby. When choosing a breastfeeding position, take into account your delivery method (vaginal or C-section) as there are some breastfeeding positions that are more suitable for women who’ve had a C-section delivery. Let’s take a look at some of the best breastfeeding positions.
The 5 Best Breastfeeding positions
The Cradle Hold
The cradle hold is the most common breastfeeding position. With this type of hold, your baby’s head is cradled in the crook of your elbow. Extend your arm along your child’s back and neck so that your bellies are touching. You can use your free hand to support your breast or guide your baby’s mouth to your breast. If your arm starts to ache, you can use a pillow to support it. The cradle hold is ideal for new mums and if your baby has problems latching.
The Cross-Cradle Hold
The cross-cradle hold is great for early breast-feeding. Hold your baby’s head at your right breast and alight his body straight across you so that his feet are near your left elbow. Use the palm of your right hand to support your baby’s head at the base of his neck. You can support your arm by placing a pillow across your lap. The cross-cradle hold is the ideal breastfeeding position for preemies or babies with a weak suck as it ensures a good latch.
The Football Hold
As the name suggests, the football hold allows you to tuck your baby under your arm like a football. Tuck your baby under your arm on the same side that you’re nursing from and cradle the back of his head in your hand. His neck and back should rest on your forearm and his feet should be pointing back. Use your other hand to support your breast so that you can easily guide your baby to your nipple. The football hold is ideal if you’ve had a C-section delivery as it avoids unnecessary pressure on your stiches. It is also a good position if you have a forceful milk let down as your baby will be able to handle the flow more easily.
The side-lying position lets you breastfeed your baby while lying down. In the side-lying position, you and your baby face each other while lying on your sides. Place a folded blanket under your baby if necessary to make sure his mouth is on the same level as your nipple. Pull your baby close and cradle his back with your forearm. The side-lying position is perfect if you’ve had a C-section and need to rest while breastfeeding your little one.
Laid-Back Hold/ Biological Nurturing
Biological nurturing is a new neurobehavioral approach to breastfeeding. The laid-back hold is good for mums that prefer to nurse while lying down or leaning back. Lean back on a pillow with your baby lying flat against your front. Your baby’s head should be between your breasts while you gently support his head and neck and with your hand. Your baby will instinctively find your nipple and begin to suckle so don’t force the latch. The laid-back hold is perfect for mums who prefer a more relaxed, baby-led approach.
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Secrets For Breastfeeding Success
In addition to finding the best breastfeeding position for you and your little one, there are several things that you can do to prevent common nursing problems. The first thing you should do is learn your baby’s hunger signs. Your baby might make sucking motions or show signs of ‘rooting’ (turning towards anything that touches their cheek) when he is hungry so don’t wait for your baby to cry before you nurse him. Follow your baby’s lead as some babies prefer to take only one breast during a feed while others prefer to feed from one and then the other. Do not use pacifiers or bottles for the first few weeks after birth as this could cause nipple confusion. Skin-to-skin contact is very important in the first few days so you can use a soft carrier to keep your baby nestled against you through the day.
Some mothers have difficulty bonding with their babies and are uninterested in breastfeeding. They may exhibit intense irritability or experience anxiety symptoms. If you have such thoughts and emotions, you should speak to your doctor or a mental health expert as they are classic signs of postpartum depression. Approximately 50% of new mothers experience the ‘baby blues’ but 10-20% experience a more severe form of depression known as post-partum depression. Postpartum depression can be treated with counselling, talk therapy and medications based on the severity. The important thing to remember is that postpartum depression is temporary and treatable so seek help immediately.