breastfeeding tips and tricks

Many mothers think a breastfeeding connection between baby and mom should be natural and easy. Natural is the perfect word to describe the processes that lead to lactation and eventually latching of baby to breast. There is nothing easy about it though. Every mom needs a few helpful tips to make breastfeeding the beautiful experience it should be.

It is important to allow the baby to naturally latch. Forcing the baby’s mouth over the breast can lead to a bad latch, pain and an irritated, hungry baby. Due to natural instincts, babies know how to breastfeed without help. That said, at first there could be a little confusion about which way to turn and how to latch; the baby may even get extremely excited at the sight or smell of a breast. If the baby shakes their head back and forth quickly, try to calm them down a bit and retry latching.

Several basic tips for breastfeeding include:

  • Choose different positions.
    There are four common breastfeeding positions: cradle hold, transitional hold, clutch hold and side hold. The cradle hold involves holding the baby in the crook of the arm on the feeding side. Transitional hold involves supporting the cradle hold with the opposite hand behind the head. Clutch hold, or football hold, positions the baby’s body facing away from mom instead of towards her. The side hold involves mom lying on her side and allowing the baby to feed from the side.
  • Support the baby with help. Holding the baby in place for 10 or 20 minutes of breastfeeding can be difficult on those arm muscles. Mom should choose a supportive pillow to help prop the baby up to the breast. There are plenty of specialty pillows, but a firm bed pillow will work just fine. 
  • Clean the breast. After the baby has finished breastfeeding, make sure to clean the breast. This is healthier for the baby and may help to prevent infections of the milk ducts. 
  • Heat could mean infection. If breastfeeding is painful, there is an off-color discharge from the breast or breast tissue feels hotter than normal, an infection could have set in. Call the doctor immediately. Baby will not be able to breastfeed until the infection clears.

Breastfeeding is a natural process that can be extremely hard at first. Mom and her baby are made to snuggle close, skin touching during feedings. If mom is having trouble connecting with her baby, maybe it’s time to lose the clothes and spend more time truly together.