With Breastfeeding Awareness Month this August are you aware of the reclined breastfeeding position? The many benefits to this more comfortable and laid-back breastfeeding approach makes it a very viable and common sense option. In fact, the most up to date breastfeeding training recommends only teaching this one position to new and expecting mothers. The other positions often come naturally, as the act of breastfeeding becomes more efficient for the mother/baby dyad.
Breastfeeding is a learned act between mother and baby. In our current fast paced culture, most women do not grow up seeing mothers breastfeed. It is the rare and lucky new mother who witnessed her own mother or aunt breastfeeding a younger sibling or cousin.
The mechanics of breastfeeding is stimulated when the baby uses his or her tongue to stroke the mother’s milk ducts. These are situated around the areola, and create a let-down or release of milk when stimulation occurs. Without the proper positioning of the mother’s areola deep inside the baby’s mouth, the baby will just be sucking and gumming on the mother’s nipple. This in turn, can cause pain and damage, often resulting in cracked and bleeding nipples, which can lead to infections, mastitis or the discontinuation of breastfeeding. For comfortable breastfeeding and effective milk transfer, the nipple must be properly positioned inside the baby’s mouth. The laid back approach can help with this and therefore help a mother to be more confident and successful in her new role.
When a mother is in a reclined position at a 15-65 degree angle she is not putting pressure on her perineum, which is often still recovering from childbirth, and will not be straining her arms or shoulders. In this position the baby is stomach to stomach and has control of his or her head and can latch onto the breast more deeply. The mother can support and relax both arms with pillows on each side of her body, in a chair, a couch or in bed. This helps to avoid the shoulder and neck pain mothers commonly experience while breastfeeding and allows the baby to be in his natural habitat, which is skin-to-skin on a mother’s chest. Eventually this position often becomes second nature as prolonged breastfeeding continues. Often times, if breastfeeding is successful, the amount of time a woman chooses to breastfeed will increase, resulting in more rapid brain development for the child.
For more information and a helpful video guide go to: http://www.naturalbreastfeeding.com