Breastfeeding Techniques - Everything You Need To Know

Breastfeeding Techniques

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A mother feeding her little bundle of joy is one of the most beautiful moments nature could ever create. There is no denying the fact that it is one of the simplest and natural phenomenon. Breastfeeding is a learning skill that takes practice. You need to learn how to hold and support your little one in the most comfortable position that requires both coordination and patience.

Are you clueless and curious to know about the different and best breastfeeding techniques? Worry not! Go ahead and give this post a read!

When Can You Start Breastfeeding?

Your newborn will be ready and eager to breastfeed soon after birth. Place your little one skin to skin, as often as possible during the initial days of birth. It will help your baby adjust to the environment outside and for a better breastfeed. Babies start displaying various sucking behaviors like sucking, linking, bringing their fingers near the mouth, rooting and nuzzling nipple. Your little one’s sucking reflex will be great in the first 45 minutes to 2 hours after birth. The feedings at this time period will have an everlasting effect on both you and your baby.

At around 20 to 24 hours of age, your newborn will be more interested to feed. She will feed often and sleep less. Healthy and full term babies may breastfeed every hour usually in the late night or early morning hours. Your baby will feel satisfied when you respond to her cluster feeding needs.

Breastfeeding After A C-Section:

A c-section may not affect the breastfeeding process. But, fatigue, discomfort and medicines taken during surgery will pose risks when you start nursing. For this, you should feed your baby soon after delivery at least 8 to 12 times or the next 24 hours. Once you start feeding your little one regularly, your milk supply will also increase.

You can take the help of your partner or caretaker to help you position your baby. You and your baby will be more comfortable using cradle hold, side-lying or football hold positions. Let us know all about these different breastfeeding techniques below.

[ Read: Advantages Of Breastfeeding ]

Breastfeeding Techniques That Work:

Look at some time tested breastfeeding positions that may help nursing go smoothly.

1. Cradle Hold:

Cradle Hold Breastfeeding Position

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It is a natural and most comfortable position for older babies who can handle their head better.

  • Sit comfortably with your baby at the level of your heart
  • Cradle your little one in your arm with her tummy against yours and head resting in your elbow bend. Her ear, shoulders and hip should follow a straight line.
  • Place your baby’s lower arm under your breast or your underarm with her mouth near to your breast.
  • Using your free hand to support your breast.
  • Rest your thumb above the areola and the rest of the fingers beneath the breast.
  • Now gently fondle your nipple on her lower lip. In response to the rooting reflex, her mouth opens wide that takes some time.
  • Pull her quickly onto the breast and let her latch-on.
  • Another variation, the laid back breastfeeding, the mother rests in a reclined position with tummy to tummy contact with the baby where her instincts work to get on the breast. It is a learning process that takes time for the baby to latch-on.

2. Cross Cradle Hold:

Cross Cradle Hold for Breastfeeding

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This is the common breastfeeding position that is also known as crossover hold. It offers a great support to the baby and the mother ill have complete control over her baby with just one hand.

  • Sit comfortably with your baby at the level of your heart
  • Cradle your little one in your arm with her tummy against yours and your hand at her head base and neck. Her ear, shoulders and hip should follow a straight line.
  • Place your baby’s lower arm out of the way with her mouth near to your breast. Here you will use opposite arms from the cradle hold position.
  • Use your free hand to support your breast.
  • Rest your thumb above the areola and the rest of the fingers beneath the breast.
  • Now gently fondle your nipple on her lower lip. In response to the rooting reflex, her mouth opens wide that takes some time.
  • Pull her quickly onto the breast and let her latch-on. Do not lean over your baby, instead pull her near you.

This position works well when you:

  • Nurse a newborn
  • Are learning how to position an infant correctly

3. Football Hold:

Football Hold Breastfeeding

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The football hold is ideal for a mother whose breasts are very large or who had a C-section. It is also a perfect position for premature babies or tiny babies as it gives excellent control for mother over the baby.

  • Place your baby so that her legs and body are beneath your arm and your hand at the base of the head and neck.
  • Place your palm below the breast and let your little one latch-on by pulling her in close. Hold your baby’s head with her chin and nose touching your breast.
  • When the baby latches on, the mother should make sure that her shoulders are in a relaxed state.

This position works well when:

  • You have undergone a C-section and want to hold your baby against the incision of the abdomen
  • Your breasts are large
  • You want to check in your baby latch-on
  • Your little one is restless and fussy
  • You have inverted nipples

4. Football hold For Twins:

Football Hold for Twins

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If you are a mother of twin babies, you might want to feed them separately or simultaneously. If you wish to feed them simultaneously, you could try the clutch or ‘football hold’ to allow each infant to latch onto each breast.

  • With one baby in each of your arms, hold them while partially bending your elbow.
  • You can also place your babies on a pillow each.
  • Support their neck with your palm, let them incline towards your body.
  • Let your babies latch on and suckle.

This method is a good choice when:

  • You have undergone a C-section
  • Your breasts are large
  • You have a tiny baby
  • You have a forceful milk ejection reflex

5. Side Lying Position:

Side Lying Breastfeeding Position

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The side-lying position is best when the mother needs some rest while nursing her baby. It is a bit tricky, but once both the mother and her baby gets hang of it, it will become the most favorable position. It is best recommended for those who have undergone a c-section.

  • Position yourself and your infant towards side tummy to tummy.
  • Bend your upper leg and position your upper knee with pillows.
  • Lift your breast upward by placing fingers below and then take your baby close to latch-on.

This position is a good choice when:

  • You need to lie flat after a C-section
  • You are facing discomfort while sitting due to hemorrhoid pain
  • You want to take a rest.

Latching on:

If your newborn latches on to your nipple but not the areola, problems can occur like sore nipples and poor milk supply. In such a case, you have to repeat some steps for your baby to latch-on properly:

  • Sit with your tummy facing against her tummy.
  • Ensure that your baby’s ear, shoulder and hip lie straight and nose is on the same level as nipple.
  • Touch nipple to your little one’s lips
  • Bring her close to your chest
  • When her mouth open wide, bring her quickly so that she latches-on.

Here is what you need to look for after your baby latches-on:

  • Chin touches your breast
  • Tongue is seen when the lower lip is pulled
  • Lips should be outward the breast
  • The sucking motion will be along the jaw
  • The ears, shoulder and hip will lie in a straight line
  • You should feel a rhythmic tug on your breast
  • Ears wiggle
  • Cheeks are round
  • You will not hear smacking or clicking noises
  • You will hear swallowing
  • While your baby takes off breastfeeding,your nipples are not flattened
  • Your baby ends the feeding with great satisfaction that are shown by signs like – looks relaxed, falls of the breasts with open hands and immediately falls asleep.

Tips For Every Breastfeeding Technique:

Support Your Body:

  • Use a comfortable chair that has armrests and take pillows for extra support to your arms and back.
  • Keep a footstool or coffee table so that you rest your feet and do not bend over much. A pillow or a folded blanket on your lap also keep you comfortable.
  • Whatever may be the nursing position, you should make sure you bring your baby near to your breast.

Support Your Breast:

  • Breasts turn heavier and larger when lactating. You should use your hand to support them using a C-hold (4 fingers below the breast ad thumb above) or a V-hold (between index and middle finger).

Support Your Baby:

  • Use your hand and arm along with folded blanket or pillows to offer a support to your baby’s head, neck, back and hips.
  • You can wrap her in a blanket or hold in your arms for making her feel comfortable.

Alternative Feeding:

  • Experiment and find the best position that you and your baby feel comfortable.
  • Regularly alternate the breast holds since continuous hold can put pressure and can cause sore nipples.
  • Alternating the breast holds will also boost milk production.

Relax Before Nursing:

Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and stay calm, Also keep water, juice or a glass of milk while you nurse since you may feel dehydrated.

Time To Stop Feeding:

If you feel there is need to stop the feed for any reason, slowly insert your finger near the corner of your baby’s mouth. A gentle pop will break the feed and can pull off your little one.

Now you know all about breastfeeding your little one. Why wait? Go ahead and enlighten other moms!

Which technique did you try to breastfeed your baby? How long did you nurse him? Please share your experience and advice with us.

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