Newborns can’t latch on to breastfeed well at first. They might only be able to suck gently and shallowly, which makes it difficult for them to latch on to the breast effectively. That said, when your baby is latching well with their noses, that’s usually a sign that they will continue to be able to do so as they grow older. To help encourage this, you need to make sure that you are giving newborns plenty of opportunities to practice latching on. The following are newborn breastfeeding positions that can help you do exactly that:
Baby-led Weaning and the stages of weaning
Baby-led weaning is a popular method of weaning foods, which has been studied and found to be effective in numerous clinical trials. In this method, parents, in partnership with their baby, gradually work toward weaning off of breastmilk as the baby learns to accept other foods. Each stage of this method is marked by a baby behavior change that indicates they’re getting ready to accept a new food. For example, the baby might turn their face away from the breast or take a longer time to suck. While there is no right or wrong way to do baby-led weaning, there are certain stages you can expect to see as the baby progresses through this method.
Side-lying, tummy time, and back support
Yes, you read that correctly: breastfeeding in side-lying. Side-lying not only makes it easier for babies to latch on and feed, but it also gives them a new perspective on the breast — and they might pick up some great hand-to-mouth coordination skills in the process. To get your baby comfortable with the new position and to help them get used to the feel of the breast, try lying on your side with your baby against your chest. You can also try lying on your tummy with your baby on your back. Both positions will help your baby get used to the feel of the breast and get used to the new perspective that side-lying provides.
When your baby is comfortable with side-lying, try using it to make it easier for them to latch on and feed from the breast. For example, when you’re cleaning up, you can lie on your side with your baby against your chest, and he can latch on from there. Your next step is to try tummy time, which will help your baby get used to the feel of the breast and learn how to hold their head up. For tummy time, you can lie on your side and place a pillow under your baby’s bottom so they’re propped up on their tummy. Your baby will naturally start to explore its mouth while they’re also getting used to the feel of the breast.
Hands-free or shush hold
If your baby is taking a while to latch on and feed, or they’re not latching at all, your next step is to try hands-free or shush hold. Hands-free means that you put your finger in your baby’s mouth to keep them from biting down on their tongue when you’re trying to feed them. If your finger is too big, you can try putting your finger in your baby’s mouth and shushing them to get them to open wide. After your finger is big enough, you can feed your baby with your finger in their mouth. If your finger is too small, you can try putting your finger in your baby’s mouth and shushing them to get them to open wide. After your finger is big enough, you can feed your baby with your finger in their mouth.
The wrap carry
The wrap carry is similar to the football hold, but you place your baby across your chest while you’re standing instead of while you’re sitting. This position will make it easier for your baby to latch on and get used to the feel of the breast because they’ll be facing the same direction as your hand and mouth. The shush hold can also be used in this position. Simply hold your finger in your baby’s mouth and shush them to keep them from biting down.
The reverse wrap carry
If your baby is comfortable holding their head up, you can try the reverse wrap carry. For the reverse wrap carry, you place your baby across your chest while standing. This position makes it easier for your baby to latch on because they’ll be facing your breast, hand, and mouth. The shush hold can also be used in this position. Simply hold your finger in your baby’s mouth and shush them to keep them from biting down. You can also try the shush hold with a pacifier if your baby doesn’t want to shush with your finger in their mouth.
Bottom feeding and the 2nd stage of weaning
As your baby starts to be able to latch on and feed from your breast, you can transition to bottom feeding. Bottom feeding means that you let your baby lie on their tummy and nurse from the same side that you would have licked your child if you were a dog. Bottom feeding can be tricky for some babies. If your baby is having trouble switching from side lying to tummy time, you might want to consider using a feeding pillow. A feeding pillow helps your baby keep their head elevated and makes it easier for them to latch on to the breast, and without flattening their ears.
The 3rd stage of weaning – is independent breastfeeding
Once your baby is ready to drink from a cup or spoon, you can help them get accustomed to this new level of independence by offering them a spoonful of cereal after they’ve finished nursing.
Gradually, you can offer a smaller amount of cereal and offer it before your baby has finished nursing, and then eventually you can offer cereal before they’ve finished nursing. If your baby has started drinking from a cup or spoon, you can help them get used to the idea of eating somewhat more solid food by offering a spoonful of cereal after they’ve finished nursing. Your goal is to help your baby transition from eating food from your mouth to eating food from a spoon by offering a spoonful of cereal after they’ve finished nursing. Once your baby is eating solid foods, you can transition them to more solid foods and offer them more challenging, more filling foods.
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