Breastfeeding is a very personal experience for you and your little one, so it’s important that both of you are comfortable before you begin. Feeding a newborn can take anywhere from ten minutes to an hour or so, so prepare to be sitting there for quite a while!
Once your baby is more adept at suckling you are likely to have a smoother experience, but even so it may be worth trying new positions occasionally.
First and foremost, whichever position you adopt needs to allow your baby to correctly latch on. If this doesn’t happen, the milk will flow slowly and your baby will become frustrated through sheer hunger. Crying babies are even more difficult to feed, so this can become a vicious cycle. Furthermore, incorrect latching on leads to sore nipples, which may eventually crack and bleed, so to avoid this it’s crucial to perfect the positioning of your nipple into your baby’s mouth. Read more about how to help your baby latch on.
Before adopting one of the positions described below, make sure you are both warm and comfortable, with your back well supported by pillows or cushions, and a drink nearby so that you don’t get dehydrated. Relax!
The cradle position is a very popular choice for breastfeeding after new mums become more practiced.
Allowing the mother slightly more control than the straightforward cradle position, the cross-cradle variation can be easier to manage in the early weeks.
This position is recommended for mothers who have had a Caesarean section, because it protects their stitches from being unnecessarily jostled or rubbed by the baby’s body.
Most exhausted new mothers are relieved to hear that it is perfectly possible to feed their babies while lying down, especially in the middle of the night when you neither have the energy to get up, go downstairs and feed sitting in a chair, nor do you wish to overly stimulate the baby and wake him fully. Snuggling up and feeding in bed is also a very natural and pleasant way of bonding.
New research suggests that this unusual position encourages your baby’s natural instincts to root and may be more comfortable for you both.
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