By Aponjon Content team
If you are reading this article, you’ve already had your baby. How’s is your baby feeding? Is she getting enough breast-milk? Although breastfeeding is one of the most natural acts, many new mothers find it to be a difficult task at the beginning. The key to successful breastfeeding is that both you and your baby are in a comfortable position and your baby is properly attached to your breasts. You may not become an expert right away, but with practice and patience you’ll eventually become a master in the art of breastfeeding – and you will bonding better with your baby too.
Key points to remember while breastfeeding
For successful breastfeeding – remember to follow some key points –
1. Position yourself comfortably.
2. Position your baby close to you and support your baby so that she is comfortable.
3. Support your breast so it is not pressing on your baby's chin.
4. Attach or latch baby onto your breast. Pull her close by supporting her back (rather than the back of her head) so that her chin drives into your breast.
5. Relax, then nurse. If you are feeling pain, detach baby gently and try again.
Comfortable position for you and baby:
You can choose to be in any position you like as long as you and your baby are comfortable. There are many positions known to be useful in different situations. The following positions are time-tested to be the most efficient. You can try any of these positions and find out the one that suits you most.
The cradle position
This is the most common position for breastfeeding. In this position, the baby’s head is held in the bend of your elbow. The cradle position is most suitable for babies more than a month old.
To nurse your baby in this position, sit up straight – preferably in a chair that has armrests or handles. Alternatively, you may sit on the bed with pillows on your side and back to support your arm and back. You may rest your feet on a stool to be more comfortable. For extra support, place a pillow on your lap.
Hold your baby in your lap so that she’s lying on her side with her face, belly and knees facing towards you. To nurse her from your right breast, rest her head in the bend of your right elbow and vice versa. The rest of her body should be supported on your forearm and hand. Your baby should be horizontally or slightly inclined position. Make sure that her ear, shoulder and hip are in a straight line.
The cross-cradle position
This position is almost like the cradle position but you don’t support your baby’s head in the bend of your elbow. Instead, if you’re nursing from your right breast, use your left hand and arm to hold your baby. This position is suitable for newborns and babies born prematurely. In this position, hold your baby in the cradle position but with the opposite hand and forearm. Make sure that her face and the front of her body is facing towards you. Place your thumb and fingers behind her head to guide her mouth to your breast.
Lying on your side
This is the most popular position for night feeding. This position also works well if you’ve just delivered your baby by cesarean section. To nurse in this position, lie on your side in bed. You can place a couple below behind your back for extra support. Draw your baby close with her face, the rest of her body turned towards you. Hold her head with your top arm and tuck your bottom arm under your head. If your breast remains too high for her to reach comfortably, place a folded blanket under her head.
Latch on your baby on your breast properly
For successful breastfeeding, positioning is important. What is more important is that you get your baby attached or latched on to your breast correctly. Once your baby is properly latched on, she’ll will be able to feed easily.
For a good latch, your baby needs to get a good mouthful of breast when she starts to feed. You can encourage this by checking that the following are happening:
If your baby starts to feed almost immediately, it’s a sign of good latch. After you a few short quick sucks, she would be sucking slowly and deeply. You shouldn’t be feeling any pain while she sucks. If you do, gently detach her from your breast and reattach her. This may take a few trial and error.
Once she’s finished feeding, she will let go of your breast on her own. Hold her upright in your cradle for a few minutes and gently pat on her back until she burps. This will help the air in her stomach come out.
How often and for how long?
Newborn babies need frequent feeds through day and night. Your newborn should be nursing 8 -12 times a day for the first month. The interval between feeds can vary widely. So your baby could be asking for a feed as often as every 90 minutes to two hours.
Watch your baby for feeding cues, such as increased alertness or activity, mouthing, rooting and suckling. Crying is a late sign of hunger and makes breastfeeding much harder. If your baby is sleeping and does not show feeding cues in three hours during the day, try to wake your baby for nursing. Your baby should receive at least 8 feeds a day in the first month – that means one feed in every three hours. Newborns shouldn’t go more than 4 hours without feeding even overnight.
Sometimes she’ll be showing signs of hunger even if she just nursed an hour ago. In that case, it’s OK to feed her again. Sometimes newborns ‘cluster feed’ before taking a nap. It does not mean that your milk supply is low. Instead, this is normal breastfeeding behavior.
As newborn get older, she will need to nurse less frequently and can go longer between feeds. When your baby starts solid food, she may cut down naturally. By then, she may even be happy with just two to three breastfeeds a day.
How long your baby nurses depends on her age. As she grows older she becomes more efficient. So, in the first few weeks it may take up to 45 minutes for one session, whereas she may be done in 10 -20 minutes when she’s about six months old. Feed on the first side until your baby stops suckling, hands are no longer fisted, and your baby appears sleepy and relaxed. When these occur, break the suction, burp the baby and go to the other side. Continue to feed your baby until she stops the feeding from the second breast. Alternate the side you start with for the next feeding.
Breastfeeding while you are working:
If you are a working mother, or if you have to stay away from your baby for a few hours for some other reasons like shopping, that doesn’t mean that your baby has to grow hungry. Nor does it mean that you have to give formula milk before she is six months old. You can express breast-milk either with hand or with a breast pump and collect in cup or a bottle in normal room temperature. Ask the caregiver of your baby to feed her with a small spoon from the cup holding her in a partly upright position. Expressed breast-milk stays good up to 8 hours.