Breastfeeding is one of the most common goals for new moms. It’s something that is highly desirable not only for the incredible bonding experience, but for mom and baby’s health now and in years to come.
More than two thirds of women intending to breastfeed exclusively for three months don’t reach their goals. In fact, problems present themselves almost immediately.
During the first week after birth, 92% of nursing mothers reported significant breastfeeding challenges.
Among the challenges reported were latching problems, worries about milk production, and nipple pain. I’ve personally seen mothers struggle with all of these issues. Further caused by these challenges or exacerbated by them, issues can include sore nipples, engorgement, plugged ducts, infection, and even nursing strike.
If you’re struggling with breastfeeding, you are not alone.
When I first was taught about breastfeeding my children, I was taught about nutrition, breastfeeding stations, dad supporting mom, and read all the books. I still failed to keep up my supply, and felt very much like a failure for being unable to sustain my children the way I had hoped to.
I was taught breastfeeding “holds,” such as the football, the side lying, and the cross cradle, and all of them seemed to involve contorting my body in a very uncomfortable fashion and supporting baby and myself in an awkward, and eventually painful way.
When I show new moms how to breastfeed now, I pick up a baby doll and show them a football hold.
I ask them, “Do I look comfortable? Would you like to try?”
Every time, I get a confused laugh and a shake of the head, and a very honest,
“No, that looks really uncomfortable.”
“I don’t want to try that, at all.”
“Do you have to keep your hands like that?”
It may not even look uncomfortable at first, but take a glance at mom’s shoulders. Look at the tense position she has to hold them in to keep her baby at the right position, and think about the eventual angle of your back. I found sitting in this position always led to my upper back singing with pain by the end of a feeding.
For my next example, I recline on the sofa and move around until I’m settled. I bring the baby doll to my chest, and lay them as shown in these examples.
Now eyebrows are raised.
“That looks so much easier.”
“Now that looks comfortable!”
“Well, that obviously makes more sense.”
Here’s an example in action!
Mom and baby being comfortable is half of the battle in nursing. If we can get them laid back, relaxed, and unobstructed, nature will help them achieve the breastfeeding relationship mom desires.
Benefits of Laid Back Breastfeeding
- Comfortable, easy to relax
- Great for Kangaroo Care
- More effective newborn latching and positioning
- Pressure points active nursing instincts
- Mother’s hands are free to stroke baby’s hands or feet, encouraging longer feedings
- Baby becomes an active participant in the nursing
Need help finding breastfeeding support? Sublime Motherhood is here for all of your Breastfeeding Education, Birth & Postpartum Doula Services, and Placenta Encapsulation needs in Hampton Roads.
For IBCLC recommendations, check out our Hampton Roads Resources page.