Photo credit: Laura Loasby
POSITIONING A PRE-TERM BABY AT THE BREAST
Perhaps your baby is now strong and mature enough to begin feeding directly at your breast. It may take some time to encourage him to do it correctly.
Many mothers of premature babies find the cross cradle hold very useful for this stage. This technique allows you to get a better view of your baby, and to control your baby’s head.
- Position the baby across your lap, turned in towards you, chest to chest. Use pillows to bring him up to the level of your breast.
- If you are offering your right breast, hold your baby’s head in your left hand, and support your breast with your right.
- Support your breast using the Dancer Hold Position. This position supports your baby’s chin in the sling between your thumb and index finger. This helps your baby maintain a good latch.
- Support your breast with your thumb on top and four fingers underneath so they form a ‘C’.
- Slide your hand supporting your breast forward, supporting the breast with three rather than four fingers. Your index finger and thumb should now be free in front of your nipple.
- Bend your index finger slightly so it is gently holding your baby’s cheek on one side while your thumb holds the other cheek. Your index finger and thumb form a “U” with your baby’s chin resting on the bottom of the ‘U’.
Pull your baby close and enjoy! You may need to repeat these steps as you and your baby learn together. Take time to soothe both of you with plenty of skin-to-skin contact.