May 20, 2012 Breastfeeding
As a first time mother, you will need to take extra care you are comfortable when you begin to breast feed. If you want to be successful and enjoy this new experience with your infant, you have to be sure you are ideally set up. As you become more adapted to the rhythm and used to the process, it will be easier to undertake in less than ideal circumstances. At the beginning, however, try to achieve the atmosphere most conducive to the act of breast feeding. This, of course, means the most acceptable for you and the baby.
Stress interferes with the flow of milk. If either you or your baby are stressed out, problems will ensue. You will not be able to concentrate on the task at hand. The bay and you may become fretful. In fact, a stressed out infant may even refuse to suck. This, in turn, will throw off your milk removal and production system. Your breasts may become engorged and sore; your baby hungry and irritable.
Find a place where you and your baby can relax. It must be comfortable physically and emotionally stress-free. Try to avoid anything that may upset you during the period just before you feed your baby. If you find this is not always possible, try meditating or taking a few minutes to gather yourself before you start to breast feed. Think of the pleasure breast feeding gives you. Focus on the positive aspects of your life and start the act of breast feeding with this or these concepts in mind.
Create the perfect spot for breast feeding your baby. Decide before hand what you need and want to create the place. Set the scene. If you want, incorporate all types of pleasurable and relaxing elements. These can include music, cushions, a beverage, a video and scents. It all depends upon your particular tastes. It also relies on what your baby needs and enjoys. While you may find heavy metal conducive to your frame of mind, the infant may prefer something a lot softer and easier on his or her ears.
If you find pleasure sitting at the window watching the world go by, do so. If you need a large chair or prefer cushions or even the bed, do so. Do have a drink on hand. You will need it. Do make yourself comfortable and do relax.
You can be stress free and have a perfectly peaceful setting and still not be comfortable. Comfort is essential if you are to enjoy the breast feeding experience. If you are not comfortable, you will not want to breast feed. You will be annoyed. You may even eventually abandon the process and opt for bottle or formula feeding.
To be comfortable when you breast feed requires good or even excellent back support. This does not mean something rigid and hard. It also means you need to avoid the type of cushions an ancient story-book pasha and his harem would have envied. You need to be able to support your baby while your back does not suffer from any form of stress or strain. A simple chair is better than a couch. An armchair often provides the right combination of comfort and support. Yet, no matter how comfortable the chair is, you may not be comfortable if you cannot find the right way to hold your infant.
To discover the correct - for you, hold, you can try several positions. You will need to experiment with them to see which is right for your body and for your baby. Try the various types before you actually have the child. In this manner, you will have some familiarity with them. You may also realize which seems to be the most comfortable and which one works for you.
The purpose of the position is to allow the baby to easily latch on to your breast. The baby must be able to grab hold of the breast with a wide-open mouth. The mouth must be positioned so his or her lower gum is well below the base of the nipple on the areola. It is essential if the baby is to comfortably suck and achieve maximum milk withdrawal that he or she be able to latch in this manner.
The most basic position for maximum comfort and latching is the cradle or cuddle hold. You hold the baby tucked so he or she is tucked under your arm. The head is cradled at the front and the feet are back under your arm. This allows the baby to reach and suck on your breast. The cradle hold is the classic position for breast feeding. It may not, however, work for you and your baby. Some have trouble manipulating or positioning the baby’s head. This is particularly true for the early or first days of breast feeding. In such instances, it is better to adopt one of the other holding positions.
The cross-over hold is one option. You use one or two cushions. Place these on your lap. Make sure the cushions are high enough to allow the infant easy access to your breast. Put your infant on the cushions somewhat on the his or her side, facing towards your body. Hold the baby using your one hand and your non-dominant arm from the wrist to the elbow to support the head. Your hand should rest between the baby’s shoulder blades while it supports the back of the head. Your thumb will reside just below one ear while your fingers will be behind the other ear. Tip the head back slightly. This should bring the nose in alignment with the breast. Manipulate the breast into the ideal shape for sucking, stimulate the baby’s rooting sensation then place him or her to your breast. This method is more effective for small infants.
The football hold is another option for comfortable and successful breast feeding. As with all other types, you need to sit yourself down comfortably. You will require a pillow upon which to place your arm. The baby will be facing you in a semi-sitting position. The arm closest to the infant will support the back. The hand will hold up the head and neck. Your thumb and fingers will support the ears. You will position the head for easy access to the breast for latching - adopting identical methods to the cross-over position with the nose in front of the nipple.
The football hold is readily employed when
- You have had a Caesarean section and wish to avoid direct contact between the baby and your tender abdomen
- You have large breasts.
- The baby is very small, particularly true if the infant is premature.
- You find yourself with twins.
Another common holding position is the side-lying position. As the name indicates, you and your infant lie on your sides. Your tummy connects with his or her tummy. You place your finger beneath your breast. You use the finger to elevate the breast, meanwhile pulling the baby close so he or she can latch on. This method is easier if the baby is 4 to 6 weeks old. The baby can then find and root with little assistance.
The side-lying position is most commonly used by woman when
- You have had a Caesarean but are flat.
- You do not feel comfortable in a sitting position.
- You require help when you are trying to get your baby to latch.
- Your infant is sleepy. He or she is reluctant to latch on and seems unable to stay awake for very long.
- You are doing night feeding.
No Interruptions, Please
Breast feeding is mom and baby time. Especially at the beginning of the process, you will need to feed without interruptions or disturbances. If necessary, place yourself in a room and hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door. Make sure your family and well-meaning friends and acquaintances know and understand this is your time to be alone with the baby. They can visit and make a fuss over the infant at another time.
Turn off the phone and cell phone. Do not bring your Blackberry or other electronic device into this space with you unless it provides you with comfortable or soothing music or words. You need to focus on creating a solid relationship with your baby. You can handle other so-called emergencies outside of this small world, after you have breast fed.
Being comfortable is essential if both you and your infant are to enjoy the time you spend breast feeding. If you cannot focus because of phones, loud noises or the demands of others, you will not enjoy the time with your baby. You need to create a comfortable place where only you and the baby can go. Your partner may be welcome, but may be not for the entire session. This is between you and your baby. On the other hand, if having your partner or family members present adds to your comfort level, include them. This is, after all, about making the experience a pleasurable one. If having your partner around is as essential to you as a comfortable chair and music, include him or her on your list of essential items.