Again, just like in ‘First Latch’ this breastfeeding video is showing excellent practice in lactation support. Mother and baby are both comfortable, Dr Jack Newman is quiet and respectful of them both. No coercion is happening at all, and most importantly, no hands are on the back of baby’s head, trying to force matters. Notice that when the mother trails her nipple across the baby’s top lip, and the baby opens its mouth really wide in response, that the mother and Dr Jack move the baby forward ever so slightly from the supportive position of holding the baby’s shoulders and the base of the neck. Nothing is pushing this baby out of alignment, just the whole body moving forward a quarter inch so that ‘gape’ now has a lot of breast in it.
If you think about it, and put your own hand on the back of your head now and push… what happens? Your head moves down, your mouth closes and your throat is constricted. This is not gong to help you open your mouth really wide and swallow well.
Baby’s head actually needs to move back and up, not forward and down. The positioning of the baby (presenting the baby to the breast) and the calm and confident way the mother is holding and supporting the baby along her body and on the shoulders and base of the neck, is allowing this baby to ‘gape’ without any stress.
But do remember – what works for your baby works for you! There is no ‘one way’ to do this. You’ll find your own path with your little one – trust yourself, trust baby!
If you ever see a breastfeeding video (especially on YouTube, where formula manufacturers place videos to lure you to their formula sites) where the baby is having its mouth forced open, or where the baby has a hand on the back of its head, being ‘pushed’ onto the breast – be aware this is not Good Practice – and may ruin your breastfeeding relationship for a while, until baby recovers from being forced.
Dr Jack discusses this so clearly in this video, that the conversation is just as valuable as seeing that powerful little mouth work that breast tissue and get loads of milk!
What he’s saying, and showing, makes good sense. Mothers need to be confident and supported and relaxed, and babies need to be with their mothers. A good milk supply comes from letting the baby have as much access to the breast as possible in the vital first few weeks. Taking baby off the breast, sticking a dummy or pacifier in its mouth when it cries, scheduling feeds for set times and for set amounts of time, having one bottle of top up formula to keep Grandmother happy… all these things can compromise your milk supply in the first few weeks. So be aware of the effect of such interventions, and use them wisely.
It’s hard being a new Mum, and you often feel you ‘have to get on’ and do other things in those first few weeks. But resting and letting baby breastfeed as much as you can, and getting others to do housework and laundry and bring you nice things to eat…is what ‘support’ is all about! (Not having people saying “He’s not feeding again!?! Why don’t you give him formula is he’s so hungry?” or “Well if you let me bottle feed her, I can take her off your hands and you get some sleep.” Advice like this is a poke in the eye with a blunt stick!)