Breastfeeding 101

Breastfeeding is truly an art. It is not something that comes naturally to all women but there is a common assumption that as soon as you hold your bundle of joy in your arms and place them on the breast then everything will fall into place and it’ll be happily ever after.

Unfortunately this not always the case; but holding your baby in the correct position and ensuring that s/he attaches to the breast correctly can help to avoid certain obstacles such as cracked nipples and low milk production.

Here are some tips on how to ensure your baby is correctly attached (latched) and positioned on to the breast:

SIGNS OF GOOD ATTACHMENT (LATCH) TO THE BREAST:

– MORE OF THE AREOLA IS SEEN ABOVE THE BABY’S TOP LIP

– THE BABY’S MOUTH IS OPEN WIDE

– THE UPPER LIP IS TURNED OUTWARDS

– THE BABY’S CHIN TOUCHES THE BREAST

SIGNS OF GOOD POSITIONING AND SUCKLING:

– BABY IS HELD FACING MUM’S BODY (TUMMY-TO-TUMMY)

– MUM IS ABLE TO GIVE THE BABY FACE-TO-FACE ATTENTION

– MUM NOTICES THE SIGNS OF “LET-DOWN” WHEN BREASTFEEDING

– BABY TAKES SLOW, DEEP SUCKS WITH PAUSES

– BABY’S CHEEKS ARE ROUNDED WHEN SUCKLING

– BABY RELEASES THE BREAST WHEN S/HE IS DONE

Some discomfort is expected when the baby first attaches to the breast but it should not be painful. Soreness of the nipples is also not uncommon during the first few breastfeeding sessions as the nipples adjust to the being squeezed between the baby’s palate and tongue but breastfeeding should NOT be painful.

If there is pain, then the mother should slowly draw the baby off the breast by gently placing a finger by the side of the mouth and breast to break the suction. It is not necessary to put a finger in the baby’s mouth in order to break the suction.

Breastfeeding is an unrivalled way of bonding for a mother and baby and it doesn’t have to be painful or difficult. Many breastfeeding barriers faced by mothers can be overcome by following the steps outlined above, and by seeking help from qualified breastfeeding counsellors/specialists.

HAPPY BREASTFEEDING!