Full disclosure here; I can’t take credit for these rules myself. I took an online course taught by a lovely woman name Samantha Crompton, a lactation consultant and midwife in Johannesburg, South Africa. Ms. Crompton explained breastfeeding to me in a way I’d never heard and it made so much sense that I’m passing the information on to you!!
(( You can find her on Facebook as The Baby Lady or at http://www.sjcconsulting.webs.com ))
The first rule is “No Hands Above the Ears”
This is in reference to your hands, not the baby’s. You want to ensure your hand is below the ears while still supporting baby’s head/neck. The reason that you don’t want to hold onto the back of baby’s head is because you can wind up forcing baby into an undesired position for drinking. Think about when you, yourself take a drink of water. You tip your head back, right? Try taking a drink with your chin to your chest… it’s nearly impossible to swallow, isn’t it? This is the same idea. You want to give baby that nice extension of the throat to allow optimal swallowing. This has the added benefit of allowing baby to tip his/her head back when breathing through the nose. You won’t need to worry about your baby being able to breath as long as you’re allowing him/her to control that head movement, even if you (like me) have large breasts that you’re certain will smother that tiny infant.
The second rule is “Tummy to Mummy” (or Mommy)
This is possibly the most useful rule in this list. Tummy to mommy is a way to remind you that your baby is far more portable than you are. I was guilty of this, and I often see in my practice- mothers who bring their breast to the baby, rather than bringing baby to the breast. If you are nursing in an upright, slouched position you are going to destroy your back in a matter of hours. You are nursing CONSTANTLY and you absolutely must be in a relaxed position while you’re nursing. So, make yourself comfortable, first, and then bring baby to YOU, align his/her tummy to your body and nurse comfortably.
The third and fourth rules are “Nose to Nipple” and “Biting the Apple”
Nose to nipple, this is to help you perfect your latch and it aligns with biting the apple. So the idea is to bring baby’s nose to your nipple, and wait for them to open big and wide like they’re taking a bite of an apple and then pop them onto the breast in that moment. This ensures that baby has the majority of your nipple in their mouth, and that they get that deep, comfortable latch we all want.
So those are the four, simple by very important rules of breastfeeding. It’s so easy when you read it, but it can be difficult to remember to take all these steps when you’re sleep deprived and sore. Try writing these rules on a post-it or notepad near where you nurse so you can remember to follow the rules. Happy Lactating!!