Episode 185 Tips .
Today, I wanted to talk about my favorite way in which I frequently suggest to moms to feed their baby so that they can get much needed rest.
Many moms are taught to sit up and breastfeed. I like showing these various sitting up positions to moms as it is quite practical in many situations. They use pillows to support the weight of the baby and use stools to raise their hips up for good posture. Sometimes we have small washcloths tucked under the breast to support large breasted moms. Sometimes we take the washcloth or a small blanket and roll it and tuck it under arm to provide additional support, on top of what the pillow is already offering.
I love teaching moms the best position for them to sit up and comfortably feed their baby. If they are open to it, I also show them how to feed without using pillows. After all, there comes a time, soon enough when you will be on the outside and you will need to comfortably be able to latch your baby on.
For the early days and nights of breastfeeding and for the times that you are at home and want to relax and rest your eyes while your baby feeds, I love showing moms and helping them gain confidence to lay down while feeding their baby. The main advantage to this is that both you and your baby can relax all the muscles in your body and just be… just be there… no holding up babies weight, no pillows around your belly, no pillows sliding away. No need to use stools or ottomans or anything else to support your legs.
Once in this position, you will quickly begin to appreciate the other advantages to laying down and feeding your baby. What happens when you lay down and get into a comfy position? Your whole body begins to really relax and as you relax, so can your baby. When you are both relaxed, latching on comes easier for both of you. It is just that this is so non-traditional to you largely because you are use to seeing all the pictures of moms sitting up breastfeeding. This sometimes gets in the way of some moms that I work with. The worry hat goes on first and I have to take the time to sit and explain this to them and help build their confidence that this is okay to try. Once you do try and if it comes fairly easy to you, you are SOLD, SOLD, SOLD and there is no turning back!
The reaction I get from about 90% of mothers that I show this to, is one of utter relief. They smile, they let out a big happy sigh. Some are teary eyed with the realization that they have finally found a position that feels good to them and that they can totally let down their guard and relax into. I will usually ask their partner: How does she look? Does she seem more comfortable than usual? Now the partners, who have been stressed themselves. Watching the mom either in pain and or just so gosh darn tired that she is not smiling anymore and enjoying her baby like she should. Well, the partners LOVE seeing the moms whole body just soften and become loose and limp and the smiles on their faces. I actually see a major relief come over partners faces as they frequently will tell me that they have not seen mom this chilled since shortly after the baby was born. All I can say is.. well – Happy Mom… equals Happy Family… that is all I can say.
Now that I have done this major PR job on laid back position, you are screaming up and down and want to know….
How do you do this? I am going to give you a few ideas on how to try it out yourself. When I am with a mom in my home, I show mom my couch or my Lazy boy recliner. She chooses which one and then I work with her with that, possibly switching to the other one if she cannot get comfortable or just wants to try both out. If I am at your home, I ask you to choose where you feel you would be most comfortable laying down or reclining.
If latching on has become fairly easy for you, I am inclined to start with you laying down. and placing your baby face down on your tummy. You can place a pillow under your head for comfort and your body is fairly reclined. You can place your baby across your chest with legs kind of hanging over your waist and babies facing down on your tummy. OR you can place your baby in a somewhat vertical position with their tummy to your tummy and their head below your breast and their toes pointing towards your toes. Lay them with both their arms along their side vs. tucked underneath their belly. This enables them to use their arms to help them find their way, balance themselves and latch on.
These are tips and by no means would I ever say that there is one right way to do this. Reclining and feeding your baby may take a several tries, some adjustment and some patience to find what works best for your body top as well as what seems to make your baby most comfortable. Starting off by laying down – well you might find this difficult. So, try sitting up, latching your baby on, and then recline. Think about watching TV and how you recline in bed or on a couch or a lazy boy chair. You can be quite relaxed right? If you try once and it does not work and you don’t try again… you will never know what could have been. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Both you and your baby will survive some trial and error. In the end, the rewards will be well worth the effort.
Laying down and feeding them is an easy way for all your muscles to relax and for you to close your eyes and rest your mind while your baby eats. While I just simply say this is laying down to feed your baby, you may be hearing the terms – laid back nursing or biological nurturing. Whatever the label it is given, I encourage you try it.
Lori J. Isenstadt, IBCLC
Lori Jill Isenstadt, IBCLC is a huge breastfeeding supporter. She has spent much of her adult life working in the maternal health field. Once she became turned on to birth and became a childbirth educator, there was no stopping her love of working with families during their childbearing years. Lori became a Birth doula and a Postpartum doula and soon became a lactation consultant. She has been helping moms and babies with breastfeeding for over 25 years. Lori founded her private practice, All About Breastfeeding where she meets with moms one on one to help solve their breastfeeding challenges. She is an international speaker, book author and the host of the popular itunes podcast, All About Breastfeeding, the place where the girls hang out. You can reach Lori by email at: [email protected] or contact her via her website: allaboutbreastfeeding.biz/contact
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