Newborn

Breastfeeding How To’s: Positioning, tips and helpful accessories

In a recent online chat we had about breastfeeding, one of our Metanium mums wrote the following: “The ideal baby group won't be a 'breastfeeding support group', because for one, not everybody breastfeeds, but also, I don't just want breastfeeding support, I want my entire body and mind to be supported. So if you breastfeed or bottle-feed, there would be no judgement, everyone would be welcome.”

This is something that all mums know: not everyone does it, but for those that do, breastfeeding can feel like an awful lot of hard work at times. We know that breastfeeding can be uncomfortable in the early days and it’s completely normal because it takes some practice before you master it successfully. It’s important to remember that everyone’s pregnancy journey is different, so what works for one person, might not work for everyone and that’s okay! It’s all about finding what works best for you and what makes you feel the most comfortable.

If just the thought of breastfeeding your little one makes you feel nervous or if you are a new mum who is considering breastfeeding for the first time, try reading our handy tips on breastfeeding “how to’s” from our trusty Metanium mums.

Get comfortable 

Both mums and babies will need to practice latching on, so try working on finding a position that works for you both. The positioning of the baby can make breastfeeding a whole lot easier, and there are lots of different positions that you can try to find the best one. It’s important to be comfortable, so sit in a firm chair that supports your back and maybe grab a pillow or a cushion to gently rest your little one on, to take the pressure off your arms and shoulders. Ensure you have everything you need close by, perhaps your remote control, some snacks, a fully charged mobile phone, and definitely a glass of water - breastfeeding is thirsty work! Try to make sure that your baby’s head and body is in a straight line but make sure that you are sitting comfortably too.

Positioning tips

To help your little one latch on, we suggest placing your baby’s nose in line with your nipple and try to avoid holding the back of their head so that they can tilt it back. Getting your baby to latch comfortably allows them to get more milk.

Bring your little one towards you and tuck them in! As you get used to feeding, you can try different feeding positions and find the one that suits both you and your baby the most. If you’re unsure of whether you’re doing it right, don’t worry, the likelihood is you are! All you need to be sure of is whether they’re actually feeding and whether you’re getting wet nappies - checking this will help to give yourself the confidence that you’re doing things correctly!  You can always check with your midwife or health visitor. Check out your area’s breastfeeding helplines as plenty provide support that you might find really useful.

Take care of yourself

It’s important to take good care of yourself whilst you are breastfeeding your baby. If your breasts are sore, you could try to moisturise them with purified lanolin cream or nursing ointment. Something to look out for is that milk doesn’t get backed up in your breasts, as it can cause your milk ducts to become blocked and subsequently cause you some pain. If this happens, try to breastfeed every couple of hours to help loosen the clog and get the milk moving freely again. Taking warm showers and then placing a cool compress on your breasts can also help to increase milk flow and reduce inflammation. 

Something to look out for is that milk doesn’t get backed up in your breasts, as it can cause your milk ducts to become blocked and subsequently cause you some pain.

Useful accessories from our Metanium mums

Here’s a list of useful accessories our Metanium mums use every day:

Breast pump: Hand expressing is a lot of hard work, so a breast pump can be of great help. This way, your other half can do a feed and give you time to take a much needed nap. Electric ones make the job quicker and easier, but as they are quite pricey, perhaps you can borrow one and just buy new tubes.

Breast pads: You can choose from disposable ones to washable ones, from slim ones to thicker ones (oh the glamour!). Choose whichever one is better suited for you, bottom line is that you need to make sure that any leakages won’t show through your top (so it’s a good idea to always keep a pair in your bag).

Nursing chair:  Although a nursing chair may not be needed per se, you need to make sure you have comfy places to sit for feeding. Sometimes a bed is best, at other times a sofa is more comfortable, just trial different options to find out what feels most comfortable.

Breastfeeding pillow: Our Metanium mums swear by breastfeeding pillows, claiming that they’re very useful and much easier than arranging cushions on the sofa every time. Also, they can be handy for a quick snooze and save your tired arms too!

Always remember that you can get help and support from professionals. If you are unsure about breastfeeding or worried about feeding your baby correctly, speak to your midwife, doctor or a breastfeeding specialist. You can also contact the National Breastfeeding Helpline on 0300 100 0212.

With information from the NHS.