How do I breastfeed my baby properly?
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How do I breastfeed my baby properly?

It may seem that there is nothing easier than breastfeeding. But many new mothers experience problems while breastfeeding. Where can you find help? How do I feed my baby efficiently?

Breastfeeding is not so easy

It is well known that breast milk is the best food for a baby. Although breastfeeding your baby seems to be the most natural and instinctive way, in reality appearances can be deceptive.

It can take a long time to find the right position for breastfeeding, so it is a good idea to ask for help from a Certified Developmental Lactation Consultant (CDL) or a qualified midwife.

There are times when it is not possible to breastfeed your baby. This may be due to, among other things:

  • premature birth – it is not possible to breastfeed a baby who weighs less than 2 kg and has no sucking reflex (this reflex does not appear until around 35 weeks),
  • heart defect – the baby gets tired very quickly,
  • cleft palate.

Comfort during breastfeeding

The baby can be breastfed in various positions, but the most important criterion for choice should be the comfort of both mother and child. The position chosen should be adapted to the particular situation, for example, the way in which the birth took place.

An uncomfortable breastfeeding position can cause:

  • ineffective suckling of the breast by the baby, and thus poor weight gain,
  • impaired sucking reflexes,
  • breast inflammation,
  • lactation problems (milk loss).
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What are the positions for breastfeeding?

It’s a good idea to learn a few basic positions, because everyday feeding often requires adapting to new situations.

  1. Lying down or semi-lying position.
  2. The cradle, which is the classic sitting position for breastfeeding.
  3. Crossed cradle – mom’s arms are placed inverted and baby’s torso rests on the opposite shoulder.
  4. Rugby grip – the infant is positioned along the mother’s forearm, thus adhering to her side, with his feet pointing toward the back of the bed.
  5. Lying on the side.
  6. Upright position – a position dedicated to older babies who can already sit up.
  7. Hover feeding – the baby lies on his back and the mother feeds him while leaning over him.
  8. Sling feeding – this method requires practice on the part of the mother, but is a comfortable solution.

The best position for the first feeding

Many midwives recommend that the first time you breastfeed your baby is during skin-to-skin contact, right after birth. In the case of natural births, the baby can be breastfed by the mother lying on her side, for example, in a semi-recumbent position.

After a Caesarean birth, the mother can only feed the baby while lying on her back – vertical feeding is only possible a few hours after the anaesthetic has been administered. Nursing the baby on its back is an uncomfortable position for the mother, so it should be done with the help of a midwife, father or doula.

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Feeding your baby after a natural birth

The most comfortable position for feeding after a natural birth is on your side. Then you can freely observe your baby. In this case, the woman lies on her side, and the baby is right next to her, cuddled belly to belly of mom.

When feeding the baby in the side position, it is a good idea to support it at the back with a hand or a pillow so that it does not turn around on its own.

General rules when breastfeeding

There are a few general rules to follow when breastfeeding your baby. These rules are independent of the position you choose.

  1. The baby’s belly should be facing the mother’s belly.
  2. The baby’s head must always be at breast height.
  3. Your baby cannot lie on his back while feeding.
  4. The baby’s head should be tilted back slightly.
  5. The mother’s hand should always stabilize the spine during feeding.
  6. The baby’s ear, shoulder and hip should be aligned during feeding.

Breastfeeding is a natural but often challenging task for a young mother, so it is always a good idea to ask a CDL or midwife for advice.

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