You know that Indiana Jones scene where he carefully swaps a golden statue with a bag of sand? Handling a precious newborn baby can feel as high stakes and as delicate as that! Although babies are actually quite robust, when you’re holding a teeny tiny human you don’t want to fumble!
Every new parent feels daunted when they first pick up their baby, and it takes a while to get used to holding them in different positions to feed them, bathe them, burp them and rock them to sleep. This is one of those things you can only learn by doing, and trust us, it will come naturally…eventually!
We asked Midwife Marley for her tips for optimum positioning for breastfeeding. The latch (the meeting of babies mouth and the boob) is something that can make a lot of difference to your comfort and babies feeding ability. Like all things it can take a little while to find your groove together, but Marley’s advice should help you to hold baby in a good position and find your perfect latch a little easier…
Midwife Marley says;
When you first feed your baby it can feel quite strange, you’re both new to this and it might take a few goes to figure out the best positioning for you and your baby. Remember that every boob and every baby is different, so there is no right and wrong, just take your time and feel confident that even if it’s tricky at first you will both get the hang of it before long.
When positioning your baby to feed think of the acronym CHIN -
C - Close. Baby should be close to you, with as much of their body snuggled in to yours as possible and their arms open and cuddling around you rather than in between your two bodies.
H - Head free. You do not need to cup babies delicate head while they feed, just place your hand on their upper back and use your thumb and first finger to make a U shape to gently support their head behind the ears.
I - In line. Try to have a snack with your head turned to the side - it’s not easy! The same goes for babies, they will find it easiest to feed if their head, neck, body and legs are inline, so rather than cradling them on their back and turning their head toward the breast, hold them so that their whole body is turned toward and pressed against you so that everything is nicely in line.
N - Nose to nipple. When a baby feeds they need to take as much of the breast into their mouth as they can for a deep, strong latch. A great tip to help them do this is to aim your nipple toward their nose rather than mouth, so that when they open their mouth wide to take the nipple they will naturally tip their head back and latch more deeply. This helps them to feed more effectively and makes it more comfortable for Mum.
If you and baby are struggling to get a good latch, baby is fussing a lot instead of feeding or it is painful for you please speak to a midwife via our free online service, contact your own midwife or health visitor or go along to a breastfeeding group. An experienced breastfeeding supporter can take a look at your positioning and a simple adjustment might just make all the difference!