Cover Image
close this bookInfant Feeding in Emergencies: A Guide for Mothers (WHO, 1997, 48 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentForeword
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentWhy is breastfeeding so important?
View the documentAre commercially-made baby milks as good as breastfeeding?
View the documentWhy are commercially-made baby milks not so good?
View the documentBut can every woman breastfeed?
View the documentBut why don't the experts tell us this if breastfeeding is so important?
View the documentDo babies also need tea and water?
View the documentWhen do babies need more than just breast-milk?
View the documentSo a sick baby should go on breastfeeding?
View the documentDo breastfed babies get fewer diseases?
View the documentBut my friend's baby got ill and he was breastfed
View the documentSo breastfeeding is like a medicine?
View the documentPeople say that stress stops the milk, so during stressful times how can we breastfeed?
View the documentWhat about women who have lost a lot of weight? Can they produce milk?
View the documentDo we need special nutrition for breastfeeding?
View the documentBut what about anaemic women? Does breastfeeding drain their strength?
View the documentSomeone told me breastfeeding stopped you getting pregnant, but isn't that just a story?
View the documentHow does breastfeeding work?
View the documentWhat about women with small breasts or flat nipples?
View the documentYou said the baby has a part too. What can he do?
View the documentWhy is the baby's suckling-action important?
View the documentHow does a baby stimulate the milk?
View the documentThe first principle of breastfeeding: good attachment
View the documentWhy does good attachment not always come naturally to the baby?
View the documentWhy does the baby not always get this right?
View the documentSometimes it is hard to get a baby close because he is swaddled and his clothing gets in the way
View the documentEven if my baby attaches well, how can I be sure there will be enough milk?
View the documentYou said earlier that milk changes during a feed. Can you explain that?
View the documentBut I thought you must feed from both breasts?
View the documentYou said earlier that confidence was important but not everyone has that. What can we do?
View the documentI know women with breastfeeding problems. Can they be helped?
View the documentMy mother told me that you always get sore nipples and you just have to put up with them
View the documentWhat about special creams for sore nipples? How can we get them during an emergency?
View the documentWith this baby-led feeding how can I be hygienic and wash my nipples?
View the documentSo if I get my baby well-attached, I will never get sore nipples?
View the documentYou say breastfeeding should not hurt, but what about the engorgement that every woman gets a few days after the birth?
View the documentYou mentioned blocked ducts, mastitis and abscess. Are they common and how can we treat them?
View the documentAll these problems make breastfeeding look too difficult
View the documentYou said earlier that you can breastfeed even if you have stopped completely. How can this be done?
View the documentFood supplies can be precarious. How can we feed the babies over 6 months who need more than breast-milk alone?
View the documentWhat about premature or very small babies?
View the documentI can see the reason for expressing milk for sick or premature babies, but must all women learn to express?
View the documentHow do I express milk?
View the documentI can see that breastfeeding is possible in most cases, but we still have to face the times when it is not possible: emergencies create orphans, abandoned babies and severely ill or wounded mothers
View the documentIs it possible to feed a baby artificially without a bottle?
View the documentHow do you cup-feed a baby?
View the documentA final word

Why does the baby not always get this right?

A common reason is that a mother is not holding her baby in the best position to achieve good attachment. For example if a baby is held too high or too much to the side he cannot aim his mouth in the best direction. This is more common with first-time mothers or mothers who have previously bottlefed. However every baby is different and even experienced mothers may need a little help with a new baby. Here are the key points of good positioning:

Sit or lie wherever you feel most comfortable.

1. Your baby's head and body should be in a straight line. Whether you hold her sideways, upright or under your arm, her body should 'face' yours. A baby cannot suckle or swallow easily if her head is twisted to one side or her arm is in front of her. Try drinking with your head twisted round sideways and you will realize it is not easy.

2. Her face should face your breast, with her nose level with your nipple. This enables her to take in more of the underneath of the areola than the top part. The touch of the nipple on her lips will stimulate her to open her mouth wide (Figures 4a, 4b and 4c).

Figure 4a

3. Hold your baby close to your body so that she can take in a good mouthful of breast. Bring your baby to your breast, not your breast to the baby. Do not lean forward as this may give you backache.

4. If the baby is newborn, support her whole body, and not just her head and shoulders. This helps her stay close but still be able to move her head and neck freely.

5. If you feel your breast needs support, cup it from below with your spare hand. Avoid holding your fingers like scissors8 as this can pull the breast out of your baby's mouth and spoil the good attachment. This common practice comes from a mistaken idea that a baby cannot breathe easily at the breast. Actually nature has designed a baby's nostrils to be at the sides of her nose so that she can breathe while she breastfeeds. A baby can look squashed at the breast and that is fine. As long as she can extend her head freely she will adjust herself to breathe comfortably.

8 Also called 'the cigarette hold'.

Figure 4b

Figure 4c

If you are exclusively breastfeeding, your baby is healthy and growing and your breasts are comfortable, then you are doing it right, whatever the position.