For newbie moms, breastfeeding can be an onerous task especially if your baby is struggling to latch on to your breast. For this reason, lactation specialists recommend some basic positions which women can explore and employ.
These help your baby to get a correct latch thus reducing discomfort for you.
One of the most basic positions is the baby on his side facing your nipples. In this the baby’s head, ears and shoulders are all in one line and the two of you are in close contact, tummy to tummy. The most common breastfeeding positions are the clutch hold, crossover hold, cradle hold and the side lying position. The latter two can be mastered when mothers are a couple of months down on the road towards breastfeeding.
Hold your baby in such a way that you are supporting him with the arm opposite to the breast from where you will be feeding him. Your wrists should be supporting his head with the thumb behind one ear and the other fingers behind the other ear.
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Using your free hand, cup your breasts with your thumb and forefinger around the areola. Lightly compress the areola to promote let down. Compress the areola in a way that resembles the baby’s mouth and helps him latch on to your breast.
This is one of the most commonly used and comfortable breastfeeding positions. It is recommended for women who have just undergone a c-section and find it too painful to take on the pressure of the baby on their abdomen. In this you need to take 2-3 pillows under you.
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Position your baby on the side in a semi upright position in a way that his legs are under your arms. Support his head under one arm. Make sure that his face is aligned with your breast. Make sure that the pillows are just high enough. With the opposite arm, cup your breast and help your baby to latch on.
Cradle Hold Position
This is one of the classic breastfeeding positions but requires some expertise in getting used to. Most new moms are a little under confident in this position as they fear dropping the baby or hurting him. In this the baby is diagonally across your chest and you are holding him in such a way that his head is resting in the crook of your elbow.
The length of your hand and palm supports the rest of his body. The head is elevated to the height of your breasts. The free hand is used to cup the breast. The baby’s arm is tucked away, away from your breast.
Side Lying Position
This position is by far the most comfortable and is suited for the marathon feeding sessions at night when you are too groggy and sleepy to get up and need some rest. In this the mother lies sideways with her head on a pillow.
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Bring the baby close to you and have him lie down on his side in such a way that he is facing you tummy to tummy. Support his back with the help of a pillow and your hand. Bring his head in line with your breast and let him latch on to your breast.
Whichever position you try, be sure that you bring baby to breast and not breast to baby. Many latch-on problems happen when mothers are awkwardly positioned, hunched over or are forcefully shoving their breasts into the baby’s mouth. Your baby will automatically latch on if the position is correct.