Did you know that babies are able to self attach? It’s awesome to watch and always amazes the mum how easily her baby can attach and breastfeed without her having to do a thing. Often times in hospitals a mum has someone hold her boob, sandwiched like a hamburger while trying to shove the baby’s head onto her nipple! Although this might work in getting baby to attach, it creates stress for the mum, does not allow the baby to tune into their own instincts and leaves the mum to head home without an extra hand for boob sandwiching! As new mums we are often times obsessed with how our baby’s mouth looks, what position it’s head is in and how we are holding them while trying to latch them on. I LOVE this position because it takes away all of these stressful factors. It works so well because the mum is relaxed and her baby has the opportunity to really follow it’s own instincts in finding and attaching to the breast.
So when should a mum try the “laid back” breastfeeding position?
1. Straight after birth, before anyone has weighed or swaddled your baby.
2. If you are having trouble latching your baby on or are questioning your baby’s latch and if it’s right.
3. If you have nipple pain that you think is related to how your baby is latching.
4. A mum who is experiencing tiredness and sore muscles from sitting up straight when breastfeeding.
5. A mum who is unable to breastfeed while lying down but would like to relax.
6. This position works really well for older babies who need some help with attachment too, not just for babies who are a few days old.
Here is a video from a breastfeeding consultation I did. This mum had some nipple damage due to an incorrect latch. She was having heaps of trouble latching her baby on and at the time of the visit her baby was about three weeks old…so she had been having trouble for quite some time! You will see in the beginning of this video she breaks the suction as her baby latched on but she was feeling pain. She then puts her baby back onto her chest above the breast and allows her baby to self attach again. The second time the latch was perfect! You can see the baby latch on beautifully all by herself and then the “suck, suck, swallow” as she gets the milk.
Some important points to remember when doing the “laid back” position to allow your baby to self attach
1. Lie in your bed, on a couch or lazy boy chair in a semi reclined position. Have some pillows ready to put under your arm for support as your baby starts breastfeeding.
2. Get skin to skin with your baby.
3. Start your baby on your chest or on top of the breast you would like to breastfeed on.
4. Bring your arm around to their head so you can prevent them from falling down the side and support them while they find the breast.
5. If they self attach but it does not feel right, break the suction with your pinky (as the mum in this video does) and put them back up above the breast to self attach again.
Some normal behaviour as a baby finds the nipple and self attaches
1. Your baby might get a bit cranky and cry out as they know they are getting close!
2. They will bop their head around and slowly slide down to the nipple.
4. Your baby will probably lick, play and/or get annoyed with your nipple before they actually latch on.
For some photos of the “laid back” position head to my article, “How do I get my baby to breastfeeding exclusively? Tori’s story of patience and perseverance”
*Often times getting support from a friend who has done this before or an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant can help with this process. Please head here if you would like more information about scheduling a breastfeeding consult with me via Skype or in person.
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