A baby who breastfeeds effectively cues (shows readiness) for feedings, is in a good feeding position, latches-on (attach) deeply at the breast, and moves milk forward from the breast and into his/her mouth.
Crying is a late feeding cue, and many babies have difficulty latching once they become frustrated and begin to cry.
For all positions, bring your baby to the breast - not the breast to the baby - by sitting in a roomy and comfortable chair or sofa and using a bed pillow, sofa cushion, or special breastfeeding pillow on your lap to raise the baby. Your baby must be held in good alignment if he/she is to suck, swallow, and breathe during feedings. When in good alignment, you should be able to draw a straight line down your baby's body from earlobe to hip no matter which feeding position you use. You should not be able to see the baby's arm closest to your body when using a cradle or cross-cradle hold.
To help your baby latch-on correctly, tickle baby's lip with your nipple and wait for him/her to open wide. Then bring the baby and your breast together in one swift motion. The baby should have a big mouthful of your breast, and his/her chin and nose should be touching your breast. Your baby's lips should be flanged outward like a trumpet or fish lips. The lips should not be pursed or rolled in. If you were to roll down your baby's lower lip, you should see baby's tongue gliding in front of the lower gum. The tongue should also "cup" your nipple and areola.
Do not press down near the areola with your thumb thinking this will help your baby breathe. This will pull your nipple from the back of your baby's mouth, where it needs to be. Babies' noses are designed to "smush" against their mother's breast as they feed. That is why their noses are flat - so they can latch-on deeply to the breast yet still be able to breathe. If you are concerned about your baby's ability to breathe, pull your baby's lower body in closer to you or lift your breast rather than pressing down on your breast.
It is called breastfeeding, not nipple-feeding, for a reason. If your baby's latch is shallow - not deep onto the areola, he/she may appear to be "hanging" on the nipple tip. When this occurs, the baby will not be able to remove milk from your breast very well. This would decrease the amount of milk your baby drinks, so feedings may take over 45 minutes and your baby may not gain weight as he/she should. Also, your nipples are more likely to become very sore or cracked.
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