How the breastfeeding person holds baby will determine how well the nursing session will go. Bring baby to breast NOT the other way around. You do not want to bring the breast to the baby because you really want baby to do most of the work. Once a baby is born they TEND to be a bit lazy as far as nursing goes but they need to learn to do the work of nursing. The baby's EAR, SHOULDER, and HIP should be in a straight line and their head tilted SLIGHTLY back, so baby isn't pulling and can easily swallow as they feed.
SUPPORT BABY'S body and make sure that the baby's head is now at nipple level or SLIGHTLY below when baby is ready to latch and begin nursing.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN NURSING REMEMBER: Get comfortable, make sure baby has a WIDE mouth before you attempt to latch to avoid nipple soreness. Once you find a position that works for you make sure that you pull baby in close and keep them close to help them stay on the breast. If baby latches and it HURTS, remove baby and try again or try a different position.
SOME COMMON BREASTFEEDING POSITIONS TO HELP YOU AND YOUR BABY
CRADLE HOLD POSITION
The cradle hold is the most commonly used position when breastfeeding a baby. To get comfortable sit and make sure that you are in a comfortable position. You can place pillows behind your back or to your sides to make sure that your body is well supported before you begin nursing. You can use a couch pillow or a nursing pillow to help support baby as well. Make sure baby's head is resting on your forearm or pillow whatever is most comfortable for you. The baby should be on their side with their knees pulled in close to you. Ear, Hip and shoulder should be in a straight line.
If you have an intense let down make sure that baby is tilted up a little bit that way when they drink they aren't overwhelmed by heavy gulping.
FOOTBALL OR CLUTCH HOLD POSITION
In the football position, the nursing person is sitting up. Baby's head is facing the breast with their body tucked under nursing persons arm at their side with the bottom and legs facing down. After the baby is latched, you can sit back and get more comfortable with your elbows resting on pillows if you wish. The football position offers a better view of baby and better control over baby but this position isn't always for everyone so make sure that you try it out to see how it feels for all. This position is great for those who had a cesarean section delivery because it takes away the pressure of baby laying on your abdomen. This position is also called a "clutch hold" but basically is the same thing. This position is also great for baby's who were born premature or baby's who struggle getting that latch.
SIDE LYING POSITION
This position allows the nursing person to sleep or rest while laying down WHILE continuing to breastfeed. This is a very comfortable position for those who have had a cesarean section as it really does take away pressure from the abdomen. You can lay on your side and get comfortable by using pillows under your head, between your legs, wherever. Baby is comfortable on their side you can prop something behind them but I always like to suggest nothing on the bed/space to avoid any sort of accident while sleeping. An advantage to this position is that it allows everyone rest or sleep while nursing.
CROSS CRADLE POSITION
This is an effective position for baby's who are having a hard time latching as well as for baby's who have low muscle tone, a weak rooting reflex as the extra support of the baby's body and head helps them stay latched. This position calls for complete baby support helping them STAY on the breast for as long as necessary. You can put pillows behind you as you sit to nurse and you can use a nursing pillow which is most commonly used for a position like this. In this position you are able to really have full control over helping baby by quickly giving the breast as soon as baby opens their mouth to nurse. When you get ready to help baby latch make sure baby's mouth is at the level of your nipple or just below the nipple with the baby's body on their side facing you. Make sure baby's body is resting up against you where you are cradling them while you support their head with your hand or arm.
It is important to remember that every baby will be different and not every baby will be able to latch or nurse due to MANY different circumstances. The most important thing to remember is if you are stressed, baby will be stressed. So make sure you are relaxed and in a calm environment when you are just starting to develop a nursing relationship with baby. As the days/weeks/months go on your baby will begin to be more confident in nursing and as will you where you wont need to put as much pressure on the environment ect.
If you are STILL having issues latching baby and finding a position that works for you reach out to your baby's pediatrician or your doctor or a local lactation counselor in the area to get hands on support.
YOU ARE DOING AN AMAZING JOB! I am super proud of you. If NOTHING is working NEVER EVER feel like you have failed your child or yourself! Sometimes it just DOES NOT WORK OUT and that is okay.
Sometimes I wish he would just leave... it would make everything so much easier.
i feel like i'm drowning and no one notices.
i know you're not supposed to have favorite kids, but i do. i don't show it, but deep down inside i feel it. i feel horrible about it, but i can't help it as much as i try. does that make me a bad parent?