5 Best Breastfeeding Positions To Establish A Strong Relationship With Your Baby
Motherhood is a journey of selfless love and care. What does motherhood mean to you? How does it feel to be a first-time mother? These are common questions for women who are about to embark on the exciting journey of motherhood.
Following the birth of your newborn baby, the next transition in this beautiful journey is breastfeeding. Whether you are a first-time mother or you’ve been through it before, there may be challenges, often in relation to painful nipples. This is why we created the gentle breastfeeding guide for new mothers to help you establish a long-lasting bond with your baby and avoid painful nipple trauma.
Breastfeeding - The Early Phase
Being a mother can an overwhelming experience filled with joy, responsibility, love, and selflessness. It means sleepless nights, first-time experiences, and more. For many women, breastfeeding plays a significant role in the journey of motherhood. However, according to Dr Robyn Thompson, so many first-time and experienced mothers find breastfeeding incredibly challenging due to commonly taught forceful techniques and a lack of quality education during pregnancy.
Although breast milk production is a natural process, modern practice often intervenes, interrupts or delays early initiation of breastfeeding, which often leads to painful complications such as breast engorgement and mastitis. The upcoming blog will explore ways to make breastfeeding less painful for new mothers.
Achieving a comfortable breastfeeding position is crucial to help reduce the risk of painful nipple trauma
There are no rules. No mathematics. No right or wrong way. It’s unique to every woman. However, here are some suggestions for women interested in exploring some of the common ways breastfeeding mothers hold their babies.
How to hold my baby while breastfeeding
As a new mother, you must have a long list of questions, and one can be about holding your baby while breastfeeding. First, place your baby on one side facing your chest. Then, make sure their ear, shoulder, and hip are in a straight line. Also, note that the head is not turned sideways; it shall align with the body. You can use a pillow to bring the baby up to a certain height that makes your baby’s reach to the breast easier.
What are the different breastfeeding positions?
Babies adapting to the outside world need to be fed around the clock. Overnight feeds are a necessity for the newborn and young baby. Some women prefer to adopt a side-lying position. To breastfeed in this position, follow these steps:
- Lay on your side and position your baby with knees, tummy, and chest facing you.
- For support, place a tightly rolled blanket or towel behind your baby. This prevents your baby from rolling back.
- Please be aware to mindfully observe your baby at all times, as ‘tired’ breastfeeding may increase the risk of painful nipple damage.
Laid Back Position
Also known as biological breastfeeding, ‘Laid Back Breastfeeding’ may be helpful for mothers with smaller breasts and babies with sensitive tummies. This may not necessarily be a convenient breastfeeding position when breastfeeding in public.
To breastfeed in this position, it is suggested to follow these steps:
- Lean back on a couch or bed in a semi-reclining position. Placing pillows behind your back may offer extra support.
- Gently place your baby on your body facing your breast, lying tummy to tummy with you.
- Mindfully observing your baby breastfeeding will assist in understanding your baby’s cues of hunger and satisfaction.
This breastfeeding position is not recommended by Dr Robyn Thompson
It involves holding your baby by the base of the head, neck or shoulders with one hand, while the other hand shapes the breast. In Dr Robyn’s PhD Research, the cross-cradle technique significantly increases the risk of painful nipple trauma. Many women also report experiencing sore wrists, an aching lower back as well as shoulder tip pain. We do acknowledge that a mother has the right to hold her baby however she chooses. However, we strongly encourage women to be aware of the increased risk of painful nipple trauma when using the Cross-Cradle Technique.
Football hold or clutch hold may be helpful for mothers who have experienced a C-section, have given birth to twins, premature babies, or women with large breasts. To breastfeed your baby in the clutch hold position, follow these steps:
- Place your baby on your side, facing you, tucking your baby’s legs under your arms on the same side your baby is about to breastfeed on.
- Gently support your baby’s head with the same hand (left arm and left hand) and gently position your baby with lips over nipple, observing the principles of The Thompson Method to reduce the risk of nipple trauma.
The Thompson Method Gentle Cradle Hold
This is the preferred position to hold your breastfeeding newborn or young baby, and is the most instinctive position for the mammal species (we’re all mammals!)
To gently cradle your baby in this position, follow these steps:
- Cradle your baby, elbows relaxed by your side
- Gently roll your baby to face your breast
- Guide your baby’s lips over your nipple (not nipple to nose)
- Patiently allow time for your baby’s mouth to open naturally (not wide open)
- Mindfully observe your baby, also observing the Thompson Method principles to reduce the risk of nipple trauma and reflux and colic for your baby.
If you are pregnant and would like to breastfeed, we highly encourage you to do your research to find the most reliable, evidence based education, preferably during pregnancy. Education during pregnancy will assist you in reducing the risk of common breastfeeding complications. If you’re a new mother struggling with breastfeeding or experiencing pain, please visit our website for some solutions that may offer some relief for you and that may make your breastfeeding experience worthwhile. To learn more about The Thompson Method Breastfeeding Program, with 24/7 guidance and support, please visit…..