Breastfeeding Positions

Breastfeeding PositionsThe loving embrace between you and your baby while nursing is one of the most cherished moments in new motherhood. And the way you hold your baby while breastfeeding goes beyond the complete and utter amazement, joy and affection you have for him. It also helps your baby find a comfortable and effective way to nurse.

Today we’re reviewing the most common breastfeeding positions that experts recommend to support your baby and ensure he can nurse properly to reap the phenomenal benefits of breastfeeding.

Before we dive into specific breastfeeding positions, let’s talk a little about the body positions you and your baby should maintain while nursing. Your baby should always be facing you so she will never have to turn her head to nurse and her body should be in alignment. That means her ears, shoulders and hips will all make a straight line. Always bring your baby to your breast rather than leaning into your baby. A breastfeeding pillow or any regular pillow can be useful in helping you position your baby properly for nursing.

Now that that’s squared away, let’s review breastfeeding positions:

Cradle

As the name suggests, your arm creates a cradle for your baby in this breastfeeding position. While your baby lays on your lap support her with the arm on the same side you are nursing and allow your baby’s head to rest in the crook of your arm opposite your elbow while your hand extends down his back to his bottom. Your other hand is free to support your breasts as needed. This position is often best for older slightly larger babies who need little assistance latching.

Cross-Cradle

Similar to cradle, cross-cradle or crossover hold simply switches up your arm positioning  Again with your baby lying across your lap, support his head with the opposite hand and arm from the side he is nursing. Cross-cradle allows you to easily guide your baby’s head to your breast with your supportive hand. That’s why it is often taught as a great breastfeeding position for newborns and small infants who need help latching.

Football

In this position you will tuck your baby under your arm as if he were a football. Your baby will lay to your side beneath your arms with her nose facing your nipple and her feet pointing upwards. Support your baby’s head with the same arm as the side he is nursing and use your hand to guide his mouth to your nipple. Sometimes called clutch, this position is a favorite of moms who gave birth via c-section because your baby will not lie across your tender incision area.

Vertical

Your baby may prefer to nurse sitting up due to acid reflux or bruising to the back of the head during childbirth. Sit your baby on your lap facing you with his legs straddling your legs. Gently cradle his jaw with your thumb and pointer finger and guide him to your nipple encouraging him to latch starting from underneath your breast. You may need to adjust your lap height by crossing your legs or placing a pillow on your lap depending on your baby’s length.

Side-Lying

A popular position for nighttime feedings, side-lying allows both you and baby to lounge during nursing. You will both lay on a firm, flat surface facing each other. Position your baby’s mouth at breast height and use your top arm to support your baby as necessary. You can further support your baby’s body by scooping your bottom arm beneath his body towards his back.

Dangle

Dangle feeding position may not be a regular in your toolbox, but it can be useful at certain times. In this position your baby will lay down on a firm, flat surface such as a blanket or your bed and you will hover over him on all fours “dangling” your breast over his mouth. You may find this useful when you have a plugged milk duct that you need to clear or simply to encourage gravity to assist your milk flow.

Sources: What to Expect, Today’s Parent, Parents Magazine and BabyCenter

 

Loving Moments believes moms should have the knowledge, resources and power to make the healthiest choices for their babies, starting with breastfeeding. In celebration of World Breastfeeding Week and National Breastfeeding Month in August, we are sharing Breastfeeding Basics, our educational blog series that we hope will empower you with information, encouragement and inspiration to meet your breastfeeding goals.

 

Breastfeeding Positions for your Baby’s Style

Breastfeeding Positions for your Baby’s StyleFinding the most comfortable way to breastfeed may be mostly dependent on how your baby likes to feed. Once you and your baby find your breastfeeding rhythm, you’ll learn your baby’s style. Chances are she’ll have a favorite position and will let you know it pretty quickly. Here are some tips on figuring out the breastfeeding positions for your baby’s style.

Cradle

The traditional cradle position lays your baby across your lap while her head is supported by the arm on the same breast side she is nursing. This breastfeeding position maximizes your skin to skin contact because your baby’s body intersects with yours length-wise. It also frees one hand to caress your baby so it’s ideal for babies who like a lot of touch and sensation during nursing. Cradle is often better for babies one month or older who are experts at latching quickly and efficiently.

Cross-Cradle

Similar to cradle, your baby lies across your lap. But in cross-cradle you hold your baby with the opposite arm as the breast she is nursing and support her head with the hand on the same side breast. Again, you get lots of opportunity for skin-to-skin contact with cross-cradle. Newborns and smaller babies often enjoy cross-cradle because of the added support and help with positioning for a proper latch.

Football

In the football hold you position your baby to the side of the nursing breast. She will lie face up under your upper arm while your lower arm supports her body. Your hand tips her head towards your nipple for latching. The football hold is great for moms who have had a c-section as it does not lay your baby across your incision site. Also, if your baby needs more direction in finding the nipple and remaining latched, the football hold gives you extra control.

Dangle

The dangle position allows your baby to lie on a flat surface while you hover over her and dangle your breast into her mouth. This breastfeeding position helps if you have slow let-downs or if you have a plugged duct as gravity will be on your side. Also, babies who prefer to lie independently rather than in mom’s arms enjoy this position.

Reclining

Side-lying or reclining allows you and your baby to lie side-by-side on a bed, couch or the floor. As your baby faces you, you can align your breast to her mouth for nursing. This is great for relaxation, feeding in bed or for nursing before or after cuddling. If you and your baby are co-sleeping, reclining is a wonderful way to nurse to help both of you get the most sleep. Often babies nurse in the reclining position without waking up.

Which breastfeeding positions match your baby’s style?

Sources: BabyCenter and Parents

Preparing for a Visit with a Lactation Consultant

preparing for lactation consultant__1457981121_162.206.228.38While a natural experience, many new moms find breastfeeding rather unnatural at first.  It’s sort of like camping out – you’re completely immersed in nature but yet you may not know exactly what to do.  You also may run into some rough terrain or scary challenges every now and then.  That’s where a lactation consultant can help!

If you find yourself in need of a lactation consultant as many moms do, you may be wondering what to expect and how to prepare.  Today we’re sharing ways of preparing for a visit with a lactation consultant.

  • When you call to make your appointment, be prepared to briefly explain the breastfeeding problems you’re having.  While the issues won’t be resolved on the phone, it’s good for the lactation consultant to know what’s going on between you and your baby to best help you during the visit.
  • Call your insurance company in advance of your visit to find out whether or not your consultation will be covered.  It’s better to know in advance because many facilities offer a lower out-of-pocket price if you are paying upfront at the time of your visit.
  • Bring what you need for breastfeeding.  This includes a favorite breastfeeding pillow, nipple shield, breast ointment or snack and water for yourself.  You’ll probably want your diaper bag so you’ll have diapers, a change of clothes for your baby (should you need it) and a burp cloth.  Bring along your pump as well.
  • Feed your baby 1-2 hours prior to your appointment time.  You want your baby to be hungry during the visit so the lactation consultant can work with you during a true feeding.  However, you never want your baby to be starving so don’t withhold milk if your baby needs to eat.
  • Plan on your visit lasting for about 2 hours.  This will give you a chance to talk to the lactation consultant about all of your issues and concerns, feed your baby and pump if necessary.
  • Bring a log of your typical breastfeeding schedule and any problems you’ve been experiencing.  Sometimes lactation consultants can find a pattern causing issues that you may not recognize.
  • At the visit, the lactation consultant will weigh your baby before and after breastfeeding to find out how much he has taken.  This is reassuring to many moms who are uncomfortable not knowing how many ounces their baby is getting.
  • The lactation consultant will also discuss various breastfeeding positions to help you find several that are comfortable for you and your baby.  Sometimes changing positions can resolve breastfeeding problems.
  • Latch is also essential for good breastfeeding.  The lactation consultant will look at your baby’s mouth to make sure there are no concerns with his tongue, gums and swallow reflexes.  Then she will help you ensure a good latch and often show you ways to encourage your baby to latch properly every feeding.
  • Lactation consultants may offer additional recommendations based on your individual needs.  These may include using specific nipple ointments, using a nipple shield, feeding more or less often, pumping more or less often and how to stimulate your milk supply.
  • You may need to see the lactation consultant 3 or 4 times before you and your baby get the hang of it.  Practice makes you better so continue working at it and let the professionals help as much as possible.

Get the most out of your lactation consultation by preparing for a visit with a lactation consultant.  Happy Breastfeeding!

 

Breastfeeding Positions

Breastfeeding Positions If you’ve begun nursing, you have probably undergone a few frustrating arm positions to try and hold your little one in the most comfortable spot. And while there are a number of ways to safely hold your baby while breastfeeding, mothers must be aware of the strain they could potentially be putting on their child’s neck.

We have collected a few safe breastfeeding holds that allow your little one to nurse comfortably without turning his or her neck.

 

 

The Cradle

Place your baby’s head in the crook of your arm and support their back with your forearm and bottom with your hand. This allows your little one to lie sideways while facing you, with your breast directly in front of them.

 

The Football

Position your baby under your arm like a football and support their head with your hand and their body with your forearm. Like the cradle position, this allows them direct breast access.

 

Breastfeeding Positions The Side

One of the more relaxing positions, this allows you to lie down on your side with your baby facing you. Use pillows to prop up your head and shoulder and nurse comfortably with your baby resting by your side.

 

 

No matter what position you choose, remember to always stabilize your child’s head and neck and speak with your lactation specialist to learn to best course for you. Every mother is unique and specific actions may be recommended for you and your child.

 

Happy Nursing!

Mastitis Symptoms and Treatments for Breastfeeding Moms

I think I have mastitis.  What are the symptoms and how can I resolve it without taking medication?

 

tendernessMastitis is an inflammation in your breast tissue.  It usually occurs in the early months of breastfeeding, but may also occur after you’ve been nursing for a few months.

What are some of the symptoms you may feel before your mastitis is diagnosed? Many breastfeeding moms notice changes in their breasts, like red patches or the breasts are warm and painful to touch. Moms also may feel like areas of their breasts are burning while nursing or experience consistent burning feels throughout the day.

In addition to uncomfortable breast changes, moms report feeling flu-like symptoms that include chills, a fever, and aches and pain throughout their bodies. Mastitis will wear you down and leave you feeling exhausted.

There are two types of mastitis inflammation: infectious or non-infectious. Non-infectious mastitis is usually caused by milk staying too long in the breast.  If you have a plugged milk duct, a problem with your baby properly latching, or if your baby simply doesn’t drain the breast well while nursing, you might develop a non-infectious mastitis inflammation.

On the other hand, infectious mastitis is caused by a bacterial infection. This type of mastitis may develop if your nipples are cracked or damaged, allowing bacteria to enter your body. This infection needs immediate attention from your doctor.

If you are diagnosed with non-infectious mastitis, a session with a lactation consultant may be beneficial to you and your baby. You might have to focus on using different breastfeeding methods and positions so your baby does a better job of draining milk from your breasts while feeding.

You may also want to pump after your baby nurses to ensure that your breasts are emptying properly. Other breastfeeding tips for non-infectious mastitis include warming your breasts shortly because nursing to help with loosening milk flow, especially if you notice one breast does not empty as efficiently as the other.

If your doctor determines that you have infectious mastitis, then you will need to take an antibiotic to successfully treat the inflammation. It is very important to start taking your prescribed antibiotic within 24 hours of your diagnosis to reduce the return risk of your mastitis. Follow your doctor’s orders and take the entire prescription even if you feel better a few days into the treatment—you do not want infectious mastitis to return just as you are starting to get stronger. Talk to your doctor about your breastfeeding concerns while taking the antibiotic and what you can do for your baby while your body fights the inflammation.

While on antibiotics, you will want to incorporate some of the techniques listed before for non-infectious mastitis to ease your breast pain. Sometimes, doctors will recommend that a mother will have to wean her baby if the inflammation is serious enough. In most cases though, weaning is not necessary. Be sure to have a conversation with your doctor, your baby’s pediatrician, and even a lactation consultant so you have a full idea of your best treatment options and plans. Remember, one of the best things you can do for your baby is keep yourself healthy, especially if you’re breastfeeding.