Positions and tips for breastfeeding to work
By Dr Peeyoosh Rankhamb, Consultant, Pediatrics & Neonatology, Motherhood Hospital, Kharghar
Breast milk, often known as Liquid Gold is a gift of God to mother for baby and it has a unique composition and is the only food for a baby requires up to first 6 months of life.
But, it is also important how to breastfeed a baby with correct technique, because a faulty technique may lead to problems to mother like back pain, engorgement of the breast, fever etc. And for baby like undernutrition which leads to frequent neonatal infection, poor weight gain, less emotional attachment with mother.
So, any position that is comfortable to the mother is acceptable keeping in mind that her back should be supported. There are many ways a mother can hold a baby for feed like Indian method, cradle position, modified cradle position, side-lying position (it is a common myth that mother should not breastfeed the baby in lying down position which is not correct.) etc. Provided that four signs of good attachments should be fulfilled.
- Baby’s mouth wide open
- Chin touching the breast
- The areola is visible above, then below the mouth
- The lower lip is turned outward
In all the positions the baby’s whole body should face the mother, the baby’s head and neck should be supported in a straight line with his body and should face the breast.
Good attachment at the breast ensures enough production, release, and flow of milk to the baby.
For effective breastfeeding mother should have the baby with her, day and night from the time of birth. (rooming in) A normal baby should be put on the mother’s abdomen or chest within 30 minutes of birth, it keeps baby warm and provides an opportunity for the baby to suckle at the breast. Early sucking ensures the strong emotional bond between the mother and the baby.
The mother should be encouraged to identify hunger cues (sucking on his fist rooting, turning head towards the breast, searching for breast) and feed promptly rather than allowing the baby to cry for a feed. Fast feeders are the babies who empty the breast in 5-6 minutes, while slow feeders may take 15 – 20 minutes. The baby takes a longer volume of watery, high lactose, proteins, vitamins, minerals and water content and satisfies the baby’s thirst, is foremilk. The hindmilk which is richer in fat and satisfies the hunger of the baby and supplies more energy required for healthy growth. Therefore, the baby should be allowed to feed at the breast for as long as he wants. This satisfies its need for thirst and hunger. When the baby releases the first breast spontaneously, the mother should offer the second breast. A satisfied baby will not feed at the second breast. Feeding on the second breast should be done at the subsequent feed, thus helping both breasts continuous to produce adequate milk.
After nursing is over, the baby must be helped for break wind i.e. burping, as all baby swallows some air while sucking. This can be achieved by holding the baby erect over the mother’s shoulder or by sitting up the baby on mother’s lap and patting or rubbing the baby on back. If this is not done the excessive air in the stomach can cause regurgitation, vomiting and if the air reaches the intestine it can cause discomfort and colic.