7.1.1  Four signs of good positioning

To begin with, the mother should sit comfortably (see Figure 7.1a), maintaining the four signs of good positioning:

  • with the newborn’s head and body straight
  • facing her breast, with baby’s nose opposite her nipple
  • with the newborn’s body close to her body
  • supporting the baby’s whole body, not just the neck and shoulders.

If the mother has had a caesarean delivery, or her abdomen is sore for some other reason, she may be more comfortable supporting the baby as shown in Figure 7.1(b). It keeps the baby’s weight off her abdomen. She can feed twins this way too, with one on each breast. At night, or if she is tired and needs to rest, she can feed the baby while lying down (Figure 7.1c), but only if she stays awake.

Breastfeeding positions.
Figure 7.1  (a) This mother is in the correct sitting position for optimum breastfeeding. (b) This is a good position for breastfeeding when the mother has had abdominal surgery, or if she is feeding twins. (c) A baby can be fed lying down, but only if the mother is awake.
  • Giving breastfeeding in the lying down position (Figure 7.1c) is not advisable unless the mother is awake. Can you suggest why not?

  • If the mother is falling asleep she may roll onto the newborn, who may be unable to breathe and asphyxiate (die from lack of oxygen).

7.1  Counselling the mother on newborn feeding

7.1.2  Four signs of good attachment