It is often difficult for new moms to figure out how to comfortably lay down to breastfeed their babies. With that in mind, Kathy S. Kuhn RN BSN IBCLC and lactation consultant for Parentsplace.com shares with us how she helps new moms with this position:
1) First mom goes on her side with the breast she is going to feed from closest to the bed. So she would be laying on her right side to bf from the right breast.
2) I then show her where her nipple is and have her roll closer to the bed (more toward tummy down) and then closer to her back so she can see where her nipple is in relation to the bed. The goal is for her to see where she needs to be to get the nipple about baby mouth's height off the bed. This is usually about an inch or two off the bed and varies widely from mom to mom but I have never been unsuccessful getting a mom and baby comfortably positioned no matter their breast size.
3) Then we get the baby lined up nipple to nose on his side facing mom. Mom can then bring the baby closer until he feels the nipple on his lips and latches.
It usually works best to bring the baby closer by pulling him in by his tushy. Often b/c I work with very young babies I hold the head near the ears to help mom but older babies usually can "self latch" when the just get close enough.
It's important not to pull the baby in by the upper back b/c that often means the baby's head will flex too far back and the baby won't be comfy or be able to swallow well.
Some moms come up on their elbow to latch the baby and lay back down when latched. I keep a rolled receiving blanket handy to place at the baby's back and tushy from the neck down to prop the baby on his side.
Really snuggle the blanket up close and firmly to the baby's body to hold him well.
DO NOT prop the baby with anything behind the baby's head. Allow the baby freedom of movement of his head so he can move away if he is done bf or if his nose gets blocked.
4) Then I place a pillow behind mom's back. The trick to this is for mom to roll toward the baby and get the pillow slightly under the back so when she relaxes the pillow is supporting her back well. Mom can do the pillow herself by putting in place before getting the baby latched and then just jamming it under her back (by rolling toward the baby momentarily) after latching. Dad's can also be a big help helping to get mom positioned until mom gets more practice doing it on her own.
Mom's head should be on a separate pillow, her bottom arm(right arm if bf on right breast) should be pointing straight out so her body and arm are like an upside down letter "L". She can rest her upper arm on the baby's tushy or her own side. Be sure you are supported by pillows enough that you aren't supporting yourself all.
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