This year’s World Breastfeeding Week will run from 1st – 7th August, aiming to raise awareness of the links between good nutrition, food security, poverty reduction and breastfeeding as well as to galvanise action to increase breastfeeding rates worldwide.
Breastfeeding is supported and promoted by the World Health Organisation and UNICEF, as well as national and local health services. Breastfeeding improves the short- and long-term health of both mothers and babies and has additional benefits including being very environmentally friendly and sustainable.
Despite the known benefits and the support of these organisations, just 1% of mothers and babies in the UK are able to meet the WHO recommendation of breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months. Unfortunately, breastfeeding is not always easy, and it is down to all of society to embrace and support this complex problem. As with all health care practitioners, chiropractors recognise the importance of breastfeeding and support the goal of improving breastfeeding rates.
Here are BCA member and AECC University College lecturer, Amy Miller’s feeding time posture top tips
1. Are you sitting comfortably?
Whether you are breastfeeding, bottle feeding, expressing breast milk, or a combination of these, the first few weeks and months will involve a lot of time sitting or laying down to feed your baby. Think about keeping your spine tall to avoid slouching, use cushions to support your back, relax your shoulders, and keep drinks and snacks nearby.
2. Is baby cuddled in close?
The closer your baby is to you, the easier and more comfortable they will be to hold for longer periods of time. Keep your centres of gravity close together. Feeding time can also be a great time to continue skin to skin, which helps both of you to relax and bond.
3. Have you swapped sides?
Not only will swapping sides give your arms and shoulders a bit of a rest, it is also a way for baby to learn to feed in slightly different positions.
4. Is baby’s head free to tip back?
Especially for breastfed babies it is important that they are able to tip their head back, as this allows them to open their mouth wide and get a good latch. Talk to your midwife, lactation consultant or local breastfeeding group if you would like more support with positioning and attaching your baby.