Correct Position & Latch On:
The number one tip is to try to relax (easier said than done I know, but remember this is a learning curve for you and your new baby!) 1. Position yourself comfortably; that could be with back support, pillows supporting your arms and in your lap and your feet supported by a footrest or a big book, it is whatever works for you. A feed can take anything from ten to sixty minutes.
2. Have a drink close to hand, it’s thirsty work.
3. Hold the baby with the opposite arm to the breast from which you intend to offer. Support baby’s head and shoulders with your hand and his body along your forearm. He should be facing the breast without needing to turn his head. You would not eat a meal with your head turned.
3. With his nose in line with your nipple, and from the direction that your nipple points, encourage him to open his mouth wide, by gently stroking his top lip with your nipple.
4. Now this is where you need to be confident, once he opens his mouth, quickly tilt his head back and move his chin towards the nipple. Once it touches the areola, scoop it and the nipple in to his mouth. Imagine baby is a coat hooking onto a coat peg. This will allow him to fill his mouth with the areola and stimulate him to feed correctly. Support his back (rather than the back of his head) so that his chin burrows into your breast. His nose will be touching your breast.
5. Breast feeding is PAIN FREE . If you are feeling pain for more than 10 seconds detach baby gently and try again. The pain is a definite sign something isn’t right so you must start again. Occasionally when baby first latches on there is a ‘toe curling’ pain but it should ease within a 10 second time frame. This was the one piece of information I didn’t get when I was trying to feed my 2nd child and I suffered for a long time. I ‘ put up’ with it because she needed food, but what I didn’t realise was she was traumatising my nipples to the point of bleeding and being extremely painful. This made me reluctant to feed her, she wasn’t feeding properly and therefore not getting enough milk. This led to her wanting to feed more frequently, establishing the wrong technique which caused more pain…….and so the cycle continued. As a midwife I have seen it many many times.
It is important to get it right.
You know you are getting it right when:
1. It doesn’t hurt.
2. He lies still during a feed.
3. You can hear and see active swallowing, your midwife can point this out to you during the early days as it does take some practice to spot.
4. His lips are curled back with his nose buried in the breast.
5. At the end of a feed he will come off the on his own and is relaxed.
6. A feed should last between 20 and 60 minutes.
7. In a 24 hr period you should have at least 6 wet and 2 dirty nappies.
Using a specialist breastfeeding pillow can help you to position baby correctly and help you to be as comfortable as possible, such as the Dr Brown’s Gia pillow which comes with 3 cover designs.