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Best Positions For Optimal Breastfeeding

Optimal Breastfeeding

Breast feeding is the most beautiful time of a woman’s life, yet filled with insecurities. Relax — feeding your baby is a process you’ll soon master. With passage of time, you’ll both fall into a rhythm.

Biological Nurturing Breastfeeding

This position is also referred to as laid-back breastfeeding because it allows for you to be lying back in a reclined position (leaning back) with the front of the baby’s body in full contact with the front of your body. While feeding make sure you have adequate head and shoulder support for comfort. As long as your bodies are in full contact, the baby can be in any position that is comfortable.

Cradle hold

Cradle your infant in the arm of the breast you plan to breastfeed. Rest the baby on his or her side against your stomach and across your lap. The baby’s mouth should be at the same level as your nipple, while allow the head to rest on your elbow or along your forearm; the baby’s back and buttocks will then rest on your inner forearm and hand providing cradled support. Support your breast with the opposing hand in either the “U” or “C” hold to encourage a good latch.

Cross-cradle hold Breastfeeding

Similar to the cradle hold, let your baby rest across your stomach so that you and the baby are tummyto tummy. The cradle hold requires you to hold your baby across your lap, supporting them with the same arm as your breast. The difference between these two positions is that unlike the cradle hold, this position will have you hold your baby in the opposite arm of the breast you are using to feed from. For example, if you plan to use your left breast to feed, then you will have the baby resting in your right arm and vice versa; use the “U” hold to support the breast. Support the baby’s head,  in your hand with your thumb and index fingers. supporting the ears. Your hand, supports your baby’s neck with the baby’s shoulder blades supported by the palm of your hand, which will be used to push the baby forward when latching.

You may or may not find it helpful to have the baby’s legs and feet straddling the supporting arm or use a pillow for support.

Football/clutch hold

This position can be used by  infants and is  great for women who have undergone a C-section or those women with a forceful milk ejection reflex or letdown. Start by holding your baby in the same arm as the breast that you plan on feeding with. For example, if you plan on using the right breast to feed, then hold the baby in your right arm.

Side-lying Breastfeeding

You may want to breastfeed in the side-lying position if you are recovering from a C-section or  if you are breastfeeding in bed at night or during the day. Your forearm and hand will be used to support his or her head and back, while your other hand holds your breast in a “C” hold. In this position, your baby’s hips will be flexed, and their legs and feet will be tucked under the arm supporting your baby’s back. Pillows may or may not be helpful for this hold. When breastfeeding in the side-lying position, you will be lying on your side (the side in which you will feed from) with your baby facing you on his or her side, tummy to tummy. Some mothers will place a rolled blanket or pillow along the baby’s back to help avoid the baby rolling backward and away from you, while others will simply use their arm to cradle the baby’s back.

When to Stop?

Ideally, your baby will decide when he or she has had enough. If you need to change your baby’s position, switch him to the other breast, or end his feeding for any reason, gently insert your finger into the corner of his mouth. A quiet “pop” means you’ve broken the suction (which can be remarkably strong!), and you can pull him away.

Weight gain is a very good sign that your baby is breastfeeding well. By 2 weeks of age, your baby will most likely have regained his or her birth weight and will gain, on average, 5 or more ounces (141 grams) each week after that. Another positive sign to look for is 6 or more wet diapers a day by day 6 and frequent bowel movements.

The first 4 to 6 weeks are a learning period while your body establishes your milk supply and you become more at ease with breastfeeding and understanding your baby’s cues.

Time, patience, and humour can all help!

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