Breastfeeding is the best nutrition recommended for babies because it has all the nutrients that a baby requires, plus the mother’s antibodies to help fight off disease. Breastfeeding also helps relieve pain from engorged breasts after birth, and provides mother and child with quality bonding time. These breastfeeding tips should give you the best breastfeeding help.
1. Know the right position
Different circumstances call for different breastfeeding positions to ensure both the mother and the baby are comfortable. Getting to know the following four breastfeeding positions will go a long way to ensure a stress-free breastfeeding;
The Cradle Hold
It is the best breastfeeding position, and it is the most common. With this hold, you cradle your baby’s head in the crook of your arm. You hold your child in your lap making sure he/she is laid on his/her side with their tummy against yours. Some mothers find it easier if the baby is swaddled, otherwise tuck baby’s arm under yours otherwise it will get in the way! To avoid your back and shoulder muscles from straining it is important not to lean down toward your baby but to raise baby up to your breast, you can achieve this support with a pillow on your lap and by resting your feet on a stool. It is important to support baby’s neck, spine, and bottom with your forearm and hand throughout the feed unless they are resting comfortably on the pillows.
The Crossover Hold position
It is best for small babies and newborns who may be having difficulty latching on (particularly in the early days). In this position, you support baby’s head with your hand rather than the crook of your arm. Be especially careful though not to push on the baby’s neck to get their head closer to the breast, instead use your whole arm to pull baby in close and with your fingers and thumb behind her head and below her ears, gently guide their mouth to your breast. Do NOT slouch, drop your shoulders and bring your breast to the baby or you will strain your back and shoulders.
Related: Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms
The Clutch or Hold position
It is a situation where you tuck your baby under your arm. A great hold for mothers you have had Cesareans has small babies and large breasts or flat nipples. Parents with twins wishing to feed both together often find this hold works best. Baby is placed comfortably at your side (supported by pillows if that helps), under your arm, on her side facing you with her nose level with your nipple. Using your hand you can support baby’s neck back and shoulders gently bringing the baby onto the breast, and your forearm should comfortably support baby’s back.
In a Reclining Position
It involves lying on your side on a bed you can comfortably nurse your baby. A very useful place for inevitable night feeds, during the day if you need a rest and also following a Cesarean. As with the previous positions you can use pillows to support your back, between your knees to ease pressure on your hips and also a small pillow or rolled towel may prove useful for baby to lift their head slightly higher or to prevent them from rolling off the bed
2. Eat the correct diet
To ensure successful breastfeeding, the mother should care for herself by having a sensible diet with plenty of calcium-rich foods and lots of fluids. She should wear a good nursing bra, and care for her nipples by applying lanolin cream to keep them soft.
3. Ensure both the mother and the kid are comfortable
Both mother and baby must be comfortable and well supported. A low arm chair is best, with a cushion to support the mother’s arm if needed. The nose should be clear, and the nipple should be well into the baby’s mouth.
Cracked and sore nipples can develop if the baby is not feeding in the best position, or if he bites the nipple. Lanolin cream will relieve the cracking, and the baby can just feed on one breast for a while until the other is better.
4. Demand feeding
At first, the baby should be fed when he seems to want it. This is known as demand feeding. This may be inconvenient, but he will soon make his routine. At first, he will feed every two or three hours, but later he will fall into the four-hourly pattern of six feeds per 24 hours.
5. Establish a close maternal bond
Breastfeeding can only be successful if mother and baby enjoy it. A tense, tired mother will upset the baby. She should try to be calm and relaxed, and use the breastfeeding time to establish a close maternal bond.
6. Determine at what age the baby should stop breastfeeding
A baby can be breastfed up to the age of two or three years, according to the mother’s preference. Most mothers in Western countries, however, stop breastfeeding when the baby is between nine and twelve months. Even a few weeks of breast milk will give the baby a good start in life. Breastfeeds can be topped up with complementary bottle feeds if the mother is unwell and not producing sufficient milk, or if she has to leave him for a some time
7. Stay focused
It is common for the baby to lose a few ounces after the birth (up to 10 percent of birth-weight), but he will make up his birth-weight within two or three weeks. Some mothers worry that they do not have have enough milk, and this can lead them to give up breastfeeding. As long as the baby sucking stimulates the breasts, there will be sufficient milk produced. If the mother is very anxious, she can test weigh the baby to check on his intake. (Test weighing is weighing the baby before the feed and after.) The difference in weight is the amount of milk he has taken.