Several Steps To Consider
Breastfeeding: it’s natural, and it’s a challenge. Many new moms have never done it before, infants don’t even know how “food” works. There’s a learning curve for you and there’s a learning curve for your new baby. Yes, there is a “proper” way to breastfeed; and there are “improper” ways that work, but won’t be comfortable.
For example, if you force your breast in the baby’s mouth, you might not get a latch. The struggle to get a good laugh may cause you to reconfigure the position of your baby in a number of different ways. Sometimes you’ll get a position where the baby starts to nurse and gets a little milk, but when you’re done, your breasts don’t “work” right.
Improper latching can produce soreness and lead to things like sore paps, which make it difficult or impossible to nurse. Certainly, breast pumps are an option. Additionally, salving your nipples with petroleum jelly, lanolin, or other salves may be in order. Even if you breastfeed properly, you may well expect some level of soreness at first.
However, if you nurse properly, then you’ll see your soreness gradually disappear, your nipples will become stronger, and very soon you’ll be able to nurse with very little trouble. You’ll simply bring the baby to your breast and the two of you will get on famously. That said, getting the balance right can benefit from a little direction; we’ll explore it here.
There are multiple “proper” holds. The cradle hold seems to be the classic, you hold the baby across your front with one hand holding up his head, and the other his backside.
The football hold is where you put him lengthwise in the crook of your arm like a football. For simultaneous feeding of twins, or comfortable feeding after a Caesarian section, this hold is recommended.
The lying down hold is when you lie on the bed on one side, the baby lies on the other, and you position the little tyke so that his mouth is either at the same height or a little below your paps. Your free hand can be used to help assure the baby’s mouth is in the right place. These are the three most “proper” holds.
Getting your newborn to latch can be a bit of a challenge. You can sort of “pump” your breast by applying slight pressure around your areola. From there you want to get your baby’s head tilted at the right angle and use your nipple in a tickling fashion to help stimulate your baby into latching.
From there, you put the baby’s lower jaw on your breast first, a little below the nipple. After that, gently tilt the baby’s head forward, getting that upper jaw on your breast atop the nipple. Be sure most of the areola and all of the nipple make it into the baby’s mouth.
Do it right, and you’ll be able to feel it. Also, doing it right will help you keep from hurting yourself with a nipple injury in breastfeeding—follow the link for help if you’ve sustained such an injury.
The latch and the position of your child represent the most important factors of breastfeeding. As you get used to it, you’ll have a lot less difficulty getting your newborn to latch correctly. If you do it properly from the start, and keep up with it, your breasts should be less sore, and both you and your child will be able to experience associated health benefits.