Why is it important to help your baby from the first feedings to strive for proper breast holding? It depends on it how comfortable the feeding process will be for mom and baby, whether the milk will arrive well, how the baby will gain weight, whether you can breastfeed as long as now, it is recommended. Accurate action in the first days will help to avoid many serious problems later.
Want to immediately reassure the young mother: nature has «thought out» not only the unique composition of mother’s milk, ideal for the child. There are also innate reflexes that help the baby correctly grasp the breast. After birth, the midwife places the baby on the mother’s stomach. The newborn baby instinctively crawls to his mother’s breast, finds the nipple, opens his mouth wide and sucks on the breast.
Skin-to-skin contact stimulates the production of oxytocin, soothes the baby, and promotes mutual understanding between mother and baby. This way of feeding is comfortable for the baby. If the conditions allow, you can feed in this way at home. To do this, the mother needs to undress to the waist and lie comfortably on the bed with the head elevated. The baby should also be undressed mother places it on the stomach between the breasts, covering the top with a diaper. In this position, the baby himself gets to the nipple, and opening his mouth wide, makes the right grip on the breast. The mother only has to support the baby with her hand to make him comfortable. This feeding position is good, but not always acceptable.
How to help a newborn to grasp the breast correctly?
- Breastfeeding is extra rest for the mother. You can breastfeed sitting, lying down or half lying down. The position in which the baby grips the breast should be comfortable for both. Prepare pillows to put under the back or elbow of the hand you will be holding the baby with. If feeding sitting up, you can prepare a low bench under your feet or use a pack of diapers for this purpose. A comfortable position allows you to release tension and relax. This promotes the production of oxytocin, a rush of milk, and helps mom and baby feel peaceful. So, you get comfortable, free your breasts from your clothes, and put the baby to your breast.
- It is important to keep your baby close to you, facing you, on your side, so that his tummy is touching your breast. When you hold your baby on his back, face up, he will have to turn his head while breastfeeding, and it will be hard for him to grab the breast correctly
- There is no milk in the nipple. When the baby only grips the nipple, he gets drops, so that the milk comes out easily, you need to stimulate the areola: in this area are the milk ducts. It is correct to give the breast as a bowl: the thumb is on the top of the breast, above the nipple, at the level of the baby’s nose, and the index finger is as far from the areola as possible, the other fingers support the breast from below. Smile at your baby, touch his lips with your nipple, you can with a drop of milk. The baby will reflexively open his mouth wide and start making short and fast movements with his head, helping him to get accustomed and grasp the breast correctly. Do not hold the breast with two fingers, index and middle, just above the nipple, clasping the areola (scissor position). This will not allow the baby to grasp the breast correctly and will make it harder to get milk.
- Lift the nipple up by pressing the breast with your thumb towards the baby’s nose, inserting the breast in a twisting motion so that the nipple is positioned in the baby’s mouth at the level of the transition between the hard palate and the soft palate. By inserting the breast in this way, you will help the baby correctly grasp the breast at the level of the lower part of the areola. The baby’s lips should be slightly turned out and pressed tightly against the breast, and the lower lip is on the lower part of the areola. In this case, the baby can create a vacuum in the mouth with his tongue movements, and the milk will just pour out of the breast. Such a grip on the breast eliminates the possibility of nipple trauma — irritation, soreness, cracks. The baby can stimulate not the nipple with the tongue, but the areola, the place where the milk comes. This will allow the baby to suck actively, not straining, and having fun.
- The baby’s breathing during feeding. Hold your baby close to you while feeding, press your baby to your breast with love and he will feel loved by the whole world that his mother is presenting to him at this moment. The baby should touch your breast with the tip of his nose while continuing to breathe freely and keep his nostrils open. If the baby has rhinitis, mucous discharge from the nose, it is important to gently free the nose of mucus with special suction before feeding, otherwise the baby will not be able to suckle the breast.
- How to take the breast from the baby correctly. If the baby is not able to grasp the breast deeply, you feel pain, the baby begins to chew the nipple, nervous (because he gets only drops of milk), gently take the breast from him, then give it again. To make the baby come off the breast, just press with a clean finger on the breast near the corner of your mouth and the baby will stop sucking.
You can breastfeed your baby for as long as you want (according to WHO recommendations) — a year, two or three. Ideally, the breastfeeding process is a great pleasure for the mother and the baby. This comfort allows a woman to spend many hours quietly nursing her baby.
At each feeding, pay attention to these points:
- The baby’s chin touches the breast, with the baby breathing freely through the nose;
- The baby opens his mouth wide and grasps most of the areola;
- You do not feel any pain or discomfort;
- The baby starts sucking briefly, quickly, and then continues to suck more deeply, slowly, with pauses. You hear your baby swallowing milk;
The mother’s breast adapts to the baby’s needs. The rush of milk, its composition, depends on how empty the breast was during feeding, which in turn depends on how well the baby gripped the breast and was able to actively suckle the milk.
Correct breast grip
Prevents not only cracks and irritations of the nipple, which cause pain to the mother, but also the condition of lactastasis, which often leads to mastitis. If you feel that your breast is not completely empty after feeding, try to express the milk. The decanted milk can be stored in the refrigerator to feed your baby in your absence. The only thing is that you should feed your baby from a spoon, not from the usual bottles with nipples. Since when feeding from a bottle the baby will have to adjust in a different way — you do not need to open your mouth wide, just take the tip of the nipple, and the milk will flow. Therefore, there are children who, after feeding from a pacifier with a bottle, try to take the breast in the same way — just the nipple, do not get milk, get angry and throw the breast.
What should you do if it seems that the baby is not full during feeding, or poorly gaining weight, or you change his wet diaper less than 10 times a day? Call a breastfeeding specialist to see what’s wrong and how you can fix it.
Elena Demchenko graduated from Donetsk Medical Institute named after M. Gorky with a degree in pediatrics.
Work experience in medicine: district pediatrician, neonatologist of the department of nursing extremely premature babies, joint stay of mother and child, resuscitation and intensive care of newborns.