Hand expression is a really useful skill for any breastfeeding mother to know. It’s great in the early days when babies can have a hard time latching on engorged breast. It’s handy when baby is older if you need a little bit of milk to leave for a bottle or if the pump you use at work is broken or if you’re engorged for some reason.
Just like most things about nursing, different mothers have success hand expressing in different ways. I’ve tried to find the perfect how-to video but I think I’ll have to settle for several pretty good videos. I’ve put links on my Library page to the online hand expression videos that I’ve found. Here’s a link to the latest addition:
About.com: Breastfeeding hand expression video
In my birth class the instructor taught several breastfeeding positions: “cradle hold”, “cross-cradle hold”, and “football hold”. This is still the common approach to teaching mothers about breastfeeding. However Suzanne Colson, a UK midwife, has been advocating a new and very effective approach to thinking about positioning for breastfeeding. She calls it “Biological Nurturing” and says:
Biological nurturing is more than nipple to nose or tummy to mummy, it is more than upright or sidlying postures…It is a two-person, whole body experience.
Here’s a link to her lovely “how-to” flier, “Recipe for Nurturing”.
You know how frustrating it is when your baby is hungry, you offer the breast, and he can’t latch on because he keeps putting his hands in the way? Well maybe it isn’t just that babies don’t know what to do with their hands — it could be that we’re holding them the wrong way. This study published last year found that when women leaned back while holding their babies facing them with their bodies in contact (they call this Biological Nurturing), babies used this hands-by-the-face movement to successfully latch.
In full-BN positioning, women instinctively elicited their infant’s primitive neonatal reflexes in a sequence that promoted effective feeding, behaviors not seen with partial or non-BN positioning. Said an untutored woman in full BN position after spontaneously assisting her baby’s efforts, “Breastfeeding is so easy. I wish more of my friends were doing it” (p. 7).
So maybe instead of focusing on the cradle-hold or the crosscradle-hold or the football-hold, mothers should sit back, relax, and follow baby’s lead.
In Madison women have the right to breastfeed their babies in public:
“No person shall interfere with a mother breastfeeding her child or expressing breastmilk within any public accommodation where the mother would otherwise be authorized to be.” (Dane County (34.015) and Madison City (23.37) Ordinances)
Some practical tips and the right attitude makes it easier, though. Check this out:
The more we watch new babies, the more we see how amazing they are. New parents get to see this up close all day long and are usually so proud of their babies. I love the book “Your Amazing Newborn” by Marshall and Phyllis Klaus. It has great photographs of new babies interacting with parents and grandparents.
Babies are born ready to be social. They are also born ready to breastfeed. There is a video on-line that shows a baby just after birth, crawling up her mother’s chest and latching herself onto the breast for a successful breastfeeding. You can find it at this link: http://breastcrawl.org/
I’m amazed watching this video. Have any of you watched a baby do this in person? I usually see mothers and babies when they have returned home from a hospital birth. I hope to get to see this some day. What do you think of this video? Let me know…
While I haven’t seen a baby do this after birth, I have seen lots of very young infants do a wonderful job of latching themselves at the breast when they are given access to the breast and time. Mothers can take advantage of this by spending time skin to skin with their baby and following baby’s lead in latching.