I am happy because you reached that place.
You are on the right way as a breastfeeder as seeking breastfeeding latching and positioning is the most important step to maintain successful lactation journey.
Even more, correct breastfeeding positions and baby latching would achieve three crucial goals:
1- Pain-free breastfeeding journey
2- Proper baby weight gain.
3- Breast milk maximum extraction.
Unfortunately, in 2011, the American Centers of Disease Control and Prevention stated that:
Only 18.8 % of USA breastfeeding women
continue the 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding .
And the other 81.2 % failed to continue. That is because of breastfeeding problems & issues.
As a first-time mom, you may face hard times during breastfeeding
in the first 6 months of your baby’s age
(Where your baby latch on your breasts around 8-10 times/day)
So, if you don’t have enough knowledge about baby latch, I can ensure that you would stop breastfeeding within the first 2 months and say welcome to formula.
The laid-back breastfeeding position
It is the first position you should implement immediately after birth.
Within one hour of birth, if your baby is placed on your abdomen (in natural childbirth), he has the ability to find your breast on its own – without your assistant.
This crawling makes your baby decides when to take his first breastfeeding session. Do you know why?
Without thinking, your nipple & areola are darker for that reason. Also, they have special smell your baby can detect and crawl for it.
Newborn breast crawl is due to infant stepping reflex. It is a natural baby reflex when his feet touch a solid surface, he will start walking.
Your breastfed baby should open his mouth widely
50% of correct breastfeeding latch is dependent on this particular latching trick. But it is confusing, how does the proper wide mouth opening look like?
It looks like as in the next drawing:
Whatever the breastfeeding position is, baby’s wide mouth opening is the key to avoid tons of breastfeeding problems such as sore nipple pain.
In the early days, it may take some errors and trials to make it correctly, and don’t forget that your breastfed baby knows how to latch properly.
How to wide mouth opening before baby latching?
It is simple but little tricky, just follow the coming 3 steps:
1-Keep your nipple at a higher level than of his mouth. Your nipple should be facing his eyes not his mouth. At the same time, make sure that his head can freely move back.
2-Start to hit his nose with your nipple which makes him turns his head up and opens his mouth. He starts to search for your breast but he can’ reach it.
3- Repeat the previous step and you would find that your baby is doing his best to hunt your nipple by more and more mouth opening until you catch the widest one. Be patient as it may take several trials but the results would blow your mind.
If you have big breasts, implement one of these breastfeeding techniques
As we said, your breast is a big, heavy, and thick sandwich for your baby. You need to decrease the weight or squeeze the size by these breastfeeding support techniques.
The goal of those breastfeeding holds is to decrease the area or your breast for your child tiny mouth.
The C hold
The U hold
The Scissors hold
It always makes me sad when mothers quit nursing because of sorenessAnne smith , IBCLC
There are 4 main types of nipple problems:
- Sore nipple
- Flat nipple.
- Inverted nipple
- Squashed or lipstick nipple.
What are the tips for breastfeeding while sore nipple?
- Get the benefits of the cooling effect by using a piece of ice wrapped with a piece of clothes. That would tingle the nipple before baby latch.
- Apply breast massage before baby latching to stimulate the blood circulation.
- One of the many benefits of breast milk is it has local calming, soothing, anti-bacterial effect. Rub your nipples with some expressed breast milk – as you do when applying any lotion or cream – before baby latch
- Plus breast milk, moisturize your nipple with Highly Purified Anhydrous (HPA) Lanolin.
- Avoid using soap on the sore or cracked nipple.
For complete information about sore nipple pain causes and the treatments, check our visual guide on sore nipple pain.
Avoid the bad (shallow) baby latching
When we say shallow latch it means that your nipple is not inserted deeply into your baby’s mouth.
You can achieve the correct baby latch when both of your nipple and nearly 70% of your areola are inside your baby’s mouth.
The shallow latch is responsible for numerous breastfeeding problems like:
1 – Bad latch is painful for mom and it is the primary cause of sore, inflamed nipple.
2- By the time, it would cause blocked milk ducts and breast engorgement. More than that, a bad baby latch may lead to serious breast infection.
The best nursing position after C – section (Cesarean Birth) is the football hold
As you can see, no load on your abdomen where all your baby’s weight is behind you. Use a pillow under your baby for a suitable height adjustment.
Actionable breastfeeding latch tricks
Apply these breastfeeding latch tips to get proper and correct baby latch with no pain:
1-Baby’s nose is free even with big breasts. You can pass your finger between your breast and his nose.
2-Areola Most of your areola is in your baby’s mouth. Only, you can see the part above your nipple.
3-Baby’s lips are flanged outward (you can see the inner pinky tissue of his lips.)
4-A Firm seal is formed between your baby’s lips and your areola (no milk leakage.)
5-Both of your Baby’s ears are slightly moving during his efficient sucking.
6-You can hear the swallowing sound.
7-Your baby’s chin movement is rapid before milk comes in. Later, swallowing would decrease the rhythm of chin movement.
8-Your baby’s cheeks are pulled in during sucking then relieved and so on.
9-Baby’s diaper 4-6 wet and 2-3 stool per day.
The nighttime position = The Side lying
Generally, using pillows is important in that nursing position.
- Pillow behind your baby’s back to support him.
- One is between your legs.
- Another one is under your head.
It is also helpful at daytime and for lazy moms. Check our detailed tutorial on how to side lying position while nursing.
The most popular nursing positions
The cradle and cross cradle breastfeeding holds
- Before latching: Back & shoulder are supported with a pillow. Another pillow is under baby carried on her elbow
- Your baby is straight (ear+shoulder+hip at the same straight line.)
Remember: baby’s chin is not twisted to his chest (hard to swallow.)