Effective Breastfeeding Techniques? Here are 5 most popular ones
Breastfeeding is the most natural thing on earth. But that does not make it easy. For new mums who are eager to breastfeed their babies, here are some smart tips that we have rounded up from experts, which should make the task easier. Even though there is no right way to feed your angel, in this article, we recommend breastfeeding tips and some common breastfeeding techniques for newborns.
Importance of breastfeeding
Breast milk is almost universally acknowledged as the best food for a baby. Here are some of the major advantages of breastfeeding.
Healthy weight gain
Breast milk helps the baby gain the right amount of weight without any risk of childhood obesity.
Breastfeeding reduces the mother’s risk of contracting some major diseases. These include heart diseases and breast and ovarian cancers.
All the essential nutrients are already there
Breast milk is nature at its best. It has the perfect combination of nutrients that your baby needs during the first 6 months. In fact, breast milk actually changes its composition as the baby’s needs change, so no man-made food or animal/plant-based milk can really compare to it.
Breast milk has crucial antibodies like immunoglobulin A (IgA) that help the baby develop a strong immune system and fight infections.
Importance of correct latching
Improper latching can cause enormous discomfort, including sore nipples. That’s why correct latching is one of the most important steps of breastfeeding.
Now, here are some tips to help you get there:
- Bring your baby towards your breast and let him take the initiative. Don’t forcibly put the nipple into the baby’s mouth.
- Once your baby’s mouth is around the nipple, depress the breast a little to make sure it’s not blocking their nose.
- Make sure your baby’s mouth covers both the nipple and the areola. Sucking just the nipple isn’t enough and can result in soreness and inadequate milk production.
- Check your baby’s cheeks for a strong and rhythmic motion. This means that your baby is suckling successfully and is actually getting fed.
- To unlatch the baby, break the suction gently. You can either put your finger into the corner of the baby’s mouth or press the breast near his or her mouth.
- If your nipples are flat or inverted, take your nipple out by pressing your thumb and index finger around the areola and then presenting it to the baby to suckle on.
Different breastfeeding techniques —positions and holds
Here are some of the best breastfeeding methods you can try. Choose the one that suits you best:
- This is the most traditional position and is often known as the Madonna hold.
- The baby is draped across your lap, with your tummy against their tummy.
- The same side arm as the feeding breast will support the baby’s head and body.
- Make sure your index finger is at the point where the baby’s chin is touching the breast.
- Bring your nipple to the baby’s mouth without making him turn his head to the side as this can become uncomfortable for long periods.
Cross cradle hold
- The cross-cradle hold is the same as the more common cradle hold but with one important exception - the arm opposite to the feeding breast will support the baby’s head and the body.
- This is a good position when the baby has trouble with latching. That’s because you can guide the head to a better position by holding the back of their neck between your fingers and thumb.
- In this position, the mother tucks the baby under her arm and to the side of her body. This is just like the way players hold the ball in American football.
- The mother then supports her breast with the other hand. This is a good position when you have had twins, or when you’'ve had a C-section and don’t want to put weight on your tummy, or when the baby is born premature, or when you have large breasts.
- The baby is in an upright position, facing the mother and straddling her knee.
- The arm that’s on the same side as the feeding breast supports the baby.
- The other arm supports the breast.
Reclining or lying down
- In this position, you need to lie on your side, with pillows behind your back, under your head, and between your knees.
- Hold your baby on the side so that he or she faces you with his or her mouth.
- Keep your arm around the baby, and support your breast with your other hand as you guide your baby closer to your nipple.
Understanding how to breastfeed your newborn can feel overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be so. Experiment with different latching techniques and holding positions until you figure out what works for you and your baby.