I’ve been fortunate in the breastfeeding department. I know that it doesn’t work perfectly al the time so I wanted to at least jot down a few of the things that helped me in getting it right…
1. the hamburger hold
There’s lots of discussion about how to hold the baby but not much about how to hold a boob. What really helped me was the advice I got from my midwife, to squish my breast so that it’s wide like a hamburger instead of round like a grapefruit.
Baby’s mouth is small and this helps them latch more fully.
2. the overtired bluff
I noticed early on that my daughter would think she was hungry when she was actually overtired. When I fed her, she’d actually cry at the ending of nursing, which made me think that I wasn’t producing enough milk, but I was. What I figured out was that she was saying “that’s enough food, I’m too tired”
3. The open up and say ahh
This was another gem from the midwives. As babies learn to suckle they need their moms to be smart about helping them latch properly. If you just stick a boob in their mouth it could be an ineffective and probably painful attempt. What you want to do is offer the nipple to them just above their upper lip, almost to the nose so that they have to open their mouths sort of upward, toward it, to get it in their mouth.
Basically it helps them open wide instinctually, then you get them sucking in that millisecond second before they close their mouths.**Midwives say always bring baby to boob not boob to baby! Do this by cradling baby’s head in your hands, so you can move her toward you easily.
4. The lamb principle – give it time, trust the process.
In the Spring my husband and I had the pleasure of meeting a brand new baby lamb, seconds after it was born. We watched as it tried to stand, fell, tried again, and then did the same thing again with suckling. The whole process took a while, and I’ve thought about that moment a lot.
We presume that nursing a baby should be an instantaneous thing, but even in nature it takes a while for everyone to figure out what they have to do.
I think trusting in that process makes a big difference in that first 24 hours, with your baby’s first attempts, and then the entire first week, as your milk comes in and things change again. It all takes patience, but more than that — it takes trust, in yourself and in your baby.
5. Last but not least… drink a LOT of water before and during nursing!