Breastfeeding is certainly a natural act, but it is not always easy to implement. Among the concerns encountered by breastfeeding mothers, pain is one of the leading causes of early cessation of breastfeeding. Some tips to prevent them.
The Keys To Effective And Painless Sucking
The more efficiently the baby sucks, the more receptors located on the areola of the breast will be stimulated and the higher the production of lactation hormones will be. A baby who is breastfeeding well is also a guarantee of pain-free breastfeeding. If it does not take the breast correctly, the baby risks stretching the nipple with each feeding and weakening it.
For effective suction, a few criteria must be respected
- The baby’s head should be slightly bent back
- Her chin touches the breast
- The baby should have her mouth wide open to take a large part of the breast areola, not just the nipple. In his mouth, the areola should be slightly shifted towards the palate.
- During the feed, her nose should be slightly open and her lips curved outwards.
What Position For Breastfeeding?
The position of the baby during feeding is very important to respect these different criteria. There is no one position for breastfeeding, but different positions from which the mother will choose the one that suits her best, depending on her preferences and circumstances.
The Madonna: The Classic Position
This is the classic breastfeeding position, usually the one shown to mothers in the maternity ward.
Here’s how to do it.
- Sit comfortably with your back slightly back, supported by a pillow. The feet are ideally placed on a small stool, so that the knees are higher than the hips.
- Place the baby lying on his side, tummy against his mother’s, as if he was wrapped around it. Support her buttocks with one hand and let her head rest on the forearm, in the crook of the elbow. The mother should not carry her baby (at the risk of being strained and hurting her back), but simply supporting her.
- The baby’s head must be at the level of the breast, so that it can take it well in the mouth, without the mother having to bend down or stand up.
- The nursing pillow, supposed to make breastfeeding easier and more comfortable, is very popular with mothers. But beware, badly used, it can serve breastfeeding more than it facilitates. Lying the baby down on the pillow sometimes requires it to be pulled away from the breast, which can make it difficult to latch on and increase the risk of nipple pain. Not to mention that the cushion can slip during the feeding. A breastfeeding accessory to be used with great care
The Lying Position: For Maximum Relaxation
The lying position allows you to breastfeed your baby, while relaxing. This is often the position adopted for mothers who co-sleep (with a side-bed ideally, for more security). Because it does not exert any pressure on the stomach, lying down is also recommended after a cesarean section, to limit pain.
Here’s how it is done.
- Lie on your side with a pillow under your head and one behind your back if necessary. Bend and raise his upper leg to be quite stable.
- Lay the baby on his side, tucked in, tummy to tummy. His head should be slightly lower than the breast, so that he has to flex it slightly to take it.
Biological Nurturing: For “Instinctive” Breastfeeding
Much more than a breastfeeding position, biological nurturing is an instinctive approach to breastfeeding. According to its designer Suzanne Colson, an American lactation consultant, biological nurturing aims to promote the innate behaviors of mother and baby, for serene and effective breastfeeding. Thus, in biological nurturing, the mother gives the breast to her baby in a reclined position rather than sitting down, which is more comfortable. Naturally, she will make a nest with her arms to guide her baby who, for her part, will be able to use all her reflexes to find her mother’s breast and suck effectively.
Here’s how to do it.
- Sit comfortably, sitting with your torso tilted back or in a semi-reclining position, open. The head, neck, shoulders and arms should be well supported with pillows for example.
- Place the baby against you, face down on your chest, with her feet resting on yourself or on a cushion.
- Let the baby “crawl” towards the breast, and guide him if necessary with the gestures that seem most natural.
place the baby against you, face down on your chest, with her feet resting on yourself or on a cushion.
let the baby “crawl” towards the breast, and guide him if necessary with the gestures that seem most natural.
How Does Breastfeed Go?
Feeding should take place in a quiet place so that the baby and mother are relaxed. For effective and painless breastfeeding, here is the procedure:
- Offer the breast to her baby at the first signs of awakening: reflex movements while he is drowsy or open mouth, moans, searching mouth. It is not necessary (or even not recommended) to wait until he cries to offer him the breast
- Offer him a first breast until he lets go.
- If he falls asleep at the breast or if he stops sucking a little too soon, compress the breast to eject some milk. This will stimulate him to resume sucking.
- Offer the other breast if it still seems to want to breastfeed.
- To withdraw his breast if he does not do it alone, make sure to “break the suction” by inserting a finger at the corner of his mouth, between his gums. This prevents it from pinching and stretching the nipple, which can eventually cause cracks.
A little clue to make sure that baby is sucking well: his temples move, he swallows with each suck at the beginning of the feed, then every two to three sucks at the end. He pauses in the middle of the sucking, mouth wide open, to take a sip of milk.
On the mother’s side, the breast softens as the feed progresses, small tingling appears and she feels great relaxation (effect of oxytocin).