For some mothers, breastfeeding may be a walk in the park.

But for others, it may be a steep learning curve fraught with trial and error.

Proper technique must be practiced to ensure that your baby gets the breast milk that your body has worked so hard to produce.

This is called milk transfer, where a mother is able to successfully nurse their baby.

We had a chat with Puan Rokiah Rossie Ebrahim, Staff Midwife, Lactation Nurse from Bukit Tinggi Medical Centre (BTMC) to learn more about how to unlock effective milk transfer in breastfeeding.

Rokiah Rossie Ebrahim, Staff Midwife, Lactation Nurse at Bukit Tinggi Medical Centre (BTMC).

Q1: What are common breastfeeding positions for optimal milk transfer?

When babies are born, they naturally want to find their mother’s breast.

But it can take some practice to get the positioning right.

Both mums and babies need time to learn how to breastfeed comfortably.

Here are some positions to help you and your baby get the hang of it.

Cradle Hold


This is the most common way mums feed and bond with their babies.

Sit in a comfy chair or on a sofa where your arm can rest comfortably. If needed, put some pillows to support your arm.

Then, put your baby on your lap with their head in the bend of your arm.

Make sure your baby’s body is facing you so they don’t have to turn their head to reach your breast, which helps with a better latch.

Cross-cradle Hold


This is a helpful way to breastfeed when you’re just starting out.

It gives you good control over your baby’s head and helps them attach correctly.

You may think of it as the opposite of the cradle hold.

Hold your baby in the other direction compared to the cradle hold. Use your hand to support their head instead of your arm’s bend.

 Football or Rugby Hold


This is a good way to breastfeed, especially if you had a C-section and can’t put your baby on your belly.

While lying on your side, hold your baby a bit like you’re holding a football or rugby ball under your arm.

Make sure your baby’s body is in line with your arm, and their face is looking at your breast.

Keep your baby’s legs under your arm.

Then, use your other hand to help support your breast while you’re feeding.

Side Lying Position


If lying down feels more comfortable for both you and your baby, it’s a great position to try.

Lie on your side, and have your baby lie on their side facing you, with their head in line with your breast.

Use pillows to support your back and make sure your baby’s nose is not blocked.

Q2: How can mothers achieve a comfortable latch during breastfeeding?


One of the first things to do when breastfeeding is to make sure your baby latches on properly.

If the latch isn’t right, your baby might not get enough milk, and breastfeeding could be uncomfortable for you.

To get a good latch, it’s important for your baby to open their mouth really wide and take in a big mouthful of your breast.

When your baby attaches to your breast for feeding, there are signs that show they’re doing it right.

These signs include:

  • Your baby’s upper and lower lips should be stretched out, like a big yawn
  • The lower lip should be turned outward against your breast
  • Your baby’s chin should touch your breast, and their nose should be close to it
  • Your baby’s cheeks should look nice and round
  • When your baby latches on, their tongue should come out and stay under the darker skin around your nipple (the areola)
  • Both you and your baby should feel comfortable during breastfeeding: You might feel a gentle pull or pressure, but there should be no pain or friction on your nipple

Q3: Which positions are helpful for babies with reflux or tongue tie?


To help babies with reflux (spit-up), it’s a good idea to hold them with their head a bit higher than their tummy.

Mummies can hold the baby upright with their head in line with the nipple.

This way, gravity can help with digestion.

Make sure the baby stays upright after eating, and burp them when switching sides and after finishing the feeding.

If you think your baby might have a tongue-tie (a condition where their tongue movement is restricted), tell their doctor right away.

Quick diagnosis is important to get the right help for a better breastfeeding experience. Sometimes, the impact of a tongue-tie is small.

Also, make sure you’re breastfeeding correctly.

You can get help from a lactation expert and talk to your baby’s doctor about the pros and cons of a procedure called frenotomy.

While you keep breastfeeding, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your baby’s weight and how much milk they’re getting.

If needed, you might have to pump milk and feed it to your baby with a bottle.

If your baby has trouble latching onto the breast, talk to your doctor or a lactation consultant about using a nipple shield.

It can help babies who are having trouble attaching to the breast.

Q4: Can you share some tips for adjusting positions as babies grow and develop?


As your baby gets bigger and stronger, they might need some adjustments while breastfeeding.

This includes how you both sit or lie down to feed comfortably and effectively.

Sometimes, as your baby gets older, it can be more comfortable to lean back while breastfeeding.

This way, you don’t have to use your arms to support their weight.

If you’re not sure about the best positions for you and your baby, don’t hesitate to ask a breastfeeding expert for guidance. They can give you helpful advice.

Q5: How do breastfeeding pillows or supports aid positioning and comfort?


Using special pillows for breastfeeding can make mums more comfortable during feeding.

This can lead to longer, more relaxed feeding times; which is good for the baby.

Spending more time nursing can also help build a stronger emotional connection between mum and baby.

Q6: Is there any technique for effectively breastfeeding twins or multiples?


There are no strict rules for how to breastfeed twins or multiple babies.

It’s up to the mum to decide what she’s comfortable with.

She can breastfeed both babies at the same time using a certain technique or feed them one after the other, whichever she prefers.

Q7: What are the benefits of different body positions during breastfeeding?


The way you hold your baby when breastfeeding affects how well your breast gets emptied.

Also, trying different positions can help your baby latch on in a better way.

If your baby is having trouble latching onto your breast, changing the way you hold them might help.

This change can make sure your breast gets emptied more completely, making feeding more efficient and successful.

Q8: How can mothers recognise and respond to their baby’s feeding cues?


When your baby is hungry, they show some early signs that they want to eat.

It’s important to notice these signs because it helps prevent your baby from getting upset and crying.

Here are some things your baby might do when they’re ready to eat:

  • They might bring their hands close to their mouth
  • They could turn their head to find the breast
  • They might seem more awake and active
  • They could suck on their hands or make lip-smacking movements
  • You might notice them opening and closing their mouth a lot

When you see these signs and respond quickly, your baby is more likely to be calm and ready to breastfeed.

This makes it easier for them to latch onto your breast successfully.

So, paying attention to these cues is really important for a smooth feeding experience.

Q9: What are alternative positions for pain or discomfort relief?


Sometimes, breastfeeding can cause issues like sore nipples and uneven milk flow because the baby doesn’t latch onto the breast properly.

You can change how you breastfeed to help with this.

One way is the ‘laid-back position’.

This means you lean back comfortably with pillows supporting your head, shoulders, and arms.

This position helps both you and your baby.

It calms your baby and makes it easier for them to latch onto your breast properly.

When your baby latches on better, it can slow down the milk flow.

This is good because it helps your baby handle the milk better, and it can also ease the soreness in your nipples.

Plus, it helps milk flow better throughout your breast.

Q10: Please share some tips for maintaining milk transfer while breastfeeding in public.


Wear Comfortable Clothes: Pick clothes that make you feel comfy. You don’t need special nursing outfits, but a nursing bra can make things easier. Loose shirts or button-down tops that you can pull up work well.

Bring the Essentials: Have some handy supplies with you to make breastfeeding easier. Nursing pads can help with leaks. If you want some privacy, carry a lightweight blanket or nursing cover. Don’t forget to stay hydrated by having a water bottle.

Find a Good Spot: If you’re worried about breastfeeding in public, look for a nice place in public areas. Some places like malls or stores have private spots for breastfeeding. Try to spot when your baby is getting hungry and find a spot before they get fussy.

Know Your Rights: Remember, you have the right to breastfeed in public to feed your baby. If you ever need help or advice, don’t hesitate to ask.

Breastfeeding should be a comfortable and enjoyable experience for both you and your baby, no matter where you are.

These tips can help you feel more relaxed when breastfeeding in public.

Enjoy this special time bonding with your baby, mummies!

Don’t worry if breastfeeding isn’t easy at first—it takes practice.

Be patient and kind to yourself, and don’t hesitate to ask your doctor for help when you need it.

Source: Motherhood