Anxious new mothers are usually unaware of the breastfeeding positions. If both the mother and child are not comfortable while nursing, the chances that the baby is underfed are high.
Studies suggest that breast milk is the only natural and complete nutrition for infants. Breast-fed babies have a healthier start vis-à-vis bottle-fed babies as breast milk contains a perfect balance of nutrients, crucial for the brain development, growth and healthy immune system of the infant. Breastfeeding problems, especially after the first delivery, are commonplace. Anxious new mothers are usually unaware of suitable and comfortable breastfeeding positions. If both the mother and child are not comfortable while nursing, the chances that the baby is underfed are high. However, under proper guidance, new mothers can try different positions for breastfeeding before selecting the most comfortable one.
Numerous researches lay stress on the lying down position for breastfeeding, as statistics reveal that the baby’s natural reflexes of sucking milk in this position are more spontaneous. Moreover, the milk flow from the mother increases in this relaxed position. Besides, this position is particularly comfortable for mothers who have undergone caesarean section delivery.
Dr. Suzanne Colson - a senior lecturer of midwifery at the Canterbury Christ Church University, UK - opines that mothers should follow the technique of biological nurturing. In this case, the mother lies down flat and places the baby on her stomach. Quoting Dr. Colson, “Nine out of ten mothers who start breastfeeding discontinue because of problems. What is interesting to note is that, when mothers were lying flat or in a semi-reclined position, babies could find the breast easily and in many cases attach themselves and feed whilst asleep”. Mothers can adopt different positions of breastfeeding according to their convenience, summarized as under:
- The cradle fold position is the most conventional position of the other breastfeeding positions. Place the baby on your folded arm and align his mouth towards the breast so that the baby can latch-on properly. Make sure that the baby’s head and neck rest properly on your arm. You can try this position sitting on the bed or on a chair. Be mindful that the baby’s nose remains free and is not pressed too hard on your breast.
- You can also follow the cross cradle position by placing the baby on your folded arms - in a cradle - and supported by nursing pillows. You can sit straight and rest your arms comfortably on the nursing pillows, while the baby sucks the milk conveniently.
- The lying down position is the most recommended breastfeeding position as the mother can nurse the baby in a relaxed and comfortable manner. You can lie flat and place the baby on your tummy. Place the mouth of the baby near your breast and see that the baby latches on properly to suck the milk. You can also try a semi-reclined position placing the baby on the bed or on your arm. The baby also goes off to sleep peacefully in this position.
- You can also place the baby under your arm and position the head properly to the breast to help him to latch-on to the nipples. Mothers delivering through caesarean section or with twins generally follow this position of breastfeeding.
Proper nourishment of the infant depends extensively upon the breastfeeding positions. Care should be taken that your baby does not remain underfed or cry while breastfeeding. Monitor the weight of your baby every month to be sure of proper nourishment.
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