Breastfeeding is not as easy as it looks in stock photos of moms nursing their babies. You’d think breastfeeding happens naturally — yes, it can – but it doesn’t often happen instantaneously. You need to do your research and know everything you can about it. Information is power, and it will help you navigate through the breastfeeding struggles more easily.
One of the hot topics on breastfeeding is positions. How do you properly hold your baby so he or she can get the first and best nourishment she needs? At the “The Smart Moms Birth & Baby Workshop” held las month at the Discovery Suites Hotel in Pasig City, pediatrician and international breastfeeding and lactation consultant (IBLC) Jamie Isip-Cumpas, M.D., shared the basic holds or nursing positions every new mom should know.
Cross Cradle Hold
If you’re breastfeeding on your left breast, hold your baby with your right hand. Cup your right hand and place it at the nape of your baby to support it. “It will be much easier for you to maneuver your baby around. Babies are very flexible, so don’t be afraid to move them,” Dr. Isip-Cumpas advises. In this breastfeeding position, your left hand is free to hold the breast so your baby can latch properly.
The football is similar to the cross cradle, but the difference is your baby is feeding on the same aide arm. If you’re right hand is cupping the nape of your baby, your baby is also breastfeeding on your right breast. Notice that your baby’s legs and feet should be under your same side arm pointing at the back — that’s natural. “It’s like holding a football or a clutch bag,” says Dr. Isip-Cumpas.
It’s the most popular hold you see in nursing photos. It simple: just cradle your baby in your arms and make sure that your baby’s mouth directly latches onto your nipples. However, Dr. Isip-Cumpas says this position doesn’t work out for all moms. “If you’re a first-time mom, sometimes it’s hard to put the baby’s mouth in the breast [in this position]. [The cradle hold] is easier for those who already had some experience in breastfeeding,” she says.
A very good positon to learn as it will save you a lot of time, the sideline position is just you and your baby lying down on your side facing each other and tummy to tummy as he latches on to your breast and feed. In this position, “you can have a few minutes of sleep while nursing — just make sure somebody else is in the room to make sure you don’t accidentally fall on top of your baby,” Dr. Isip-Cumpas stresses. This position is highly recommended for moms who had a C-section and are still having difficulty sitting up right. “It’s also perfect for middle-of-the-night feedings,” she adds.
You can actually adapt any kind of position when breastfeeding. You don’t have to restrict yourself and your baby with these basic positions. However, in any position you adapt, remember these guidelines:
1. Make sure your baby’s tummy is touching your tummy.
2. Your baby’s nose should touch your nipple. “Always bring the baby towards you and never you towards your baby,” Dr. Isip-Cumpas says. Don’t be afraid to push you baby towards your breast. “Your baby will be able to breathe,” she stresses. If your position is correct, there should be air pockets on the side of your breast that will allow your baby to breath. “And your baby won’t actually suckle if they can’t breathe,” she stresses.
3. Your baby’s ear, shoulder, and hips should always be aligned.
To help you baby latch, hold your breast with your free hand to aid baby in latching onto your breast. There are two kinds: the ‘C Hold’ and the ‘U Hold’.
“Imagine a very big hamburger, you’d want to compress it so you are able to eat it better. In the same way, compress the breast in a way that is parallel to the baby’s mouth. Use a C hold if you’re in a football-clutch position, while the U-Hold works if you’re using the cradle hold positions,” Dr. Isip-Cumpas explains.
Always check if your baby is latched on properly to ensure he’s receiving the nourishment he needs and also to prevent any pain or complications for you. “Breastfeeding should not be painful. It may be a little sore in the beginning, but it should not be painful,” Dr. Isip-Cumpas emphasizes. Here’s a list of signs your baby is latched on properly.
1. His mouth should be wide open. Babies have a rooting or latching reflex, wherein he will open his mouth wide and turn towards the breast of a finger that strokes his or her cheek.
2. Your baby’s chin should be touching your breast. “Usually the lower portion of the areola is not visible,” she says, adding that the baby may not always fully cover your areola when feeding.
3. Your baby’s lower lip is curled.
If your baby is able to drink your precious liquid gold, you should see his jaw and temples move moving while feeding. The sucking should begin with rapid bursts to stimulate let down, and you’ll hear an audible swallowing. Usually, babies who are satisfied are able to produce six wet diapers, move two to three stools without any untoward smells, and gains 20 to 30 grams per day. “Make sure to follow up with your baby’s pediatrician after 48 to 72 hours to make sure everything is going right,” advises Dr. Isip-Cumpas.