Courtesy Dr. William
Sears & Martha Sears, RN, IBCLC
with La Leche League International, including
the Manual Expression of Breastmilk: Marmet
Latching the baby on correctly is the key to
a pleasant, rewarding breastfeeding experience.
Nursing behaviour patterns are established early.
Once set, bad habits are difficult to correct.
Make sure you and your baby get off to a good
start. A variety of reading materials and videos
are helpful, but there is nothing like hands-on
assistance from an experienced health care provider.
Do not hesitate to ask for help the first few
For most women, sitting up in bed or in
a comfortable chair is easiest for breastfeeding.
Make sure you are relaxed before you put the
baby to breast. Use pillows on your lap, under
your arms and behind your back. Putting your
feet on a footstool to raise your knees slightly
above your hips will eliminate back strain and
put your body at the right angle.
Make sure your baby is comfortable and feels
secure and supported. Cradle the baby in your
arm at the level of your breast with his head
and shoulders supported by your forearm just
below your elbow, with your other hand holding
his bottom. The baby should be turned toward
you, chest to chest, his head and trunk in a
straight line, so that he does not have to strain
or turn his head to attach to the breast. Tuck
the baby's lower arm into the pocket between
the two of you; if necessary, hold his
upper arm down gently with the thumb of your
supporting hand. Be careful not to tilt the
baby's head down, as it will be difficult for
him to swallow in that position. A very slight
extension of the baby's head, with his chin
touching your breast, will help keep his nose
clear without your having to press on your breast
Proper positioning is important for prevention
of sore nipples.
The proper way to hold the baby is chest-to-chest,
at the level of the breast. Baby's head should
be in the crook of your arm and your hand should
hold baby's buttocks.
The football hold is a good position for latch-on
problems, or for premature or Caesarean birth
The lying down position is especially useful
after a Caesarean birth.
Two alternative positions are the clutch (football)
hold, and lying down. The clutch is especially
helpful if you are having difficulty getting
the baby attached to the breast or if you have
had a Caesarean birth.
Hold your breast with your fingers underneath
and thumb on top, making sure all of your fingers
are placed well away from the areola. It is
sometimes helpful if you roll your nipple between
your fingers for a couple of seconds to help
it become more erect. Then manually express
a couple of drops of Colostrum to entice the
baby to take the breast. A woman with large
breasts may find it comfortable to help support
the weight with a rolled washcloth or diaper
under the breast.