Frequently asked questions about breastfeeding - Ruth Health

Frequently asked questions about breastfeeding

Fast facts:

  • A “good” breastfeeding position is one that works for you and your baby and encourages a proper latch.
  • Common breastfeeding positions to try include the laid-back nursing position, the cradle hold, and the cross-cradle hold.
  • The key to a good latch is to cover not only the nipple but the surrounding areola as well.
  • While breastfeeding may involve some trial and error early on, it shouldn’t be painful or difficult. A lactation consultant can help you navigate latching issues, low milk production, or other challenges.

Breastfeeding is a completely unique connection between you and your baby. This is part of what makes the breastfeeding journey so rewarding for many birthing people. It may take time to learn what works best for you — which may be different from what works for others.

There may be some trial and error involved, but it’s easier if you know what to expect. Below, we’ve answered commonly asked questions about breastfeeding, from finding your ideal positions to latching issues and more.

What are the best breastfeeding positions?

A good breastfeeding position is one that encourages your baby to properly latch on to your breast. You can nurse while standing, sitting, or lying down — there’s no right or wrong as long as it works for you and your baby.

As you adjust to breastfeeding, you may find it helpful to try some of the more common breastfeeding positions, including these.

The laid-back nursing position

  • Lie in a reclined position on your bed, a couch, or a chair, using pillows to support your back and neck if you’d like.
  • Position your baby so that their stomach touches yours and their head reaches your breasts. Gravity will help them stay secure on your body.
  • Let them find their way to your nipple, open their mouth, and secure the latch.

The cradle hold

  • Pumps blood to the heart, boosting circulation and reducing swelling
  • Hold your baby’s head in the crook of your arm. Their nose should be opposite your nipple.
  • Turn your baby on their side so that they’re belly to belly with you.

The cross-cradle hold

  • Raise your baby to your breast. You can use your other hand to support your breast.
  • Sit upright in a comfortable chair.
  • Bring your baby to the front of your body, belly to belly.
  • Hold them in the crook of the arm opposite of the breast you’re feeding from.

A side-lying position is often a good option for those who’ve delivered by a c section.

How can I correct a poor latch?

The ease of breastfeeding has a lot to do with your baby’s latch, or how they take your breast into their mouth to feed. Latching well means that they’re easily able to suck in milk from your breasts. Not only will this ensure that they get enough to eat, but it can also help with nipple soreness and maintaining a steady milk supply.

Few babies, if any, are born knowing how to perfectly latch on, so prepare for some trial and error. To trigger the flow of milk, your baby should latch on to not only your nipple but part of the surrounding areola as well. 

If your baby has only taken the nipple, place your finger in the corner of your baby’s mouth to gently unlatch and try again. It’s important to not pull your baby off of your breast without unlatching first. You’re on track to a proper latch if your baby’s chin and nose touch your breast and if their lips are turned outward rather than tucked in.

Will I produce enough milk?

Many people are concerned about producing enough milk, especially when breastfeeding for the first time. If your baby is able to latch on properly and feed regularly throughout the day, your body should be producing enough milk.

As your newborn starts to feed more frequently, diaper changes will also increase. Counting diapers can give you a good sense of how much breast milk your baby is consuming. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Day 2: at least two wet and dirty diapers
  • Day 3: at least three wet and dirty diapers
  • Day 4-7 onward: 5-6 wet diapers every 24 hours

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Sometimes, even with all the preparation, breastfeeding challenges arise. The support of a lactation consultant is pivotal if there are issues with your baby’s latch or your milk supply. Ruth Health offers nearly 24/7 virtual lactation support from Certified Lactation Counselors (CLCs) to provide individualized care on your time.

Learn how we can help with your breastfeeding journey.

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