Know more about dancer hold for breastfeeding and the advantages of the position and how to incorporate the position in this article.
Successful breastfeeding involves a lot of factors. Prime among them are adequate milk supply, proper feeding technique, your baby’s sucking/swallowing abilities, good latching technique, and breastfeeding positions. Adopt the breastfeeding position most comfortable for both you and your baby after trial and error.
Some of the common breastfeeding positions are laid back breastfeeding, rugby ball hold, double rugby ball hold, side-lying position, dangle feeding, cradle hold, cross-cradle hold, koala hold, and the dancer hand hold position.
The Dancer hold/hand breastfeeding
Slide a hand under your breast forward so that you are supporting the breast with three fingers. Form a U shape with your thumb and forefinger to cradle your baby’s chin. Keep your thumb on his cheek and your forefinger on the other cheek. This will help your baby press the nipple and areola between the gums. It will give your baby support, and you to control his/her position. You can bring the baby’s cheeks and lips forward to secure your baby to your breast better. This will help your baby stay attached longer and nurse more effectively.
In general, it is essential to ensure that both you and your baby are relaxed and your bodies are well supported as you breastfeed. The dancer hold breastfeeding position is recommended if:
- your baby is preterm
- if s/he has poor feeding skills
- weak gagging reflex
- has low stamina
- low muscle tone
- is ill or has a disability
- is unable to maintain a good latch
- suffers from a cleft lip or has Down’s syndrome.
Preterm babies suffer from low feeding skills and stamina. They are unable to sustain feeding till they get sufficient nourishment. This can hamper their growth and development. Hence, it is necessary to adopt a breastfeeding position and technique that supports your baby, decreases his/her effort to maintain a proper latch, and prevents him/her from slipping off the breast.
Babies with Downs syndrome have a higher risk of infection. Downs syndrome babies have bowel problems and low muscle tone. Your breastmilk protects against infection as you pass antibodies to your baby through breastmilk.
Breastmilk is beneficial as it causes stools to be soft and easy to pass. Babies with a bilateral cleft lip are unable to form an airtight seal around the nipple. Your baby may also get tired quickly and not nurse long enough to get the thicker hindmilk. This position is useful to help such babies nurse effectively.
The two-finger Dancer Hold Position
This is a slight variation that can be used when your baby does not need chin support, but his/her cheek tone is low. Your baby can safely feed in a prone position. Laying down in a laid back position with your baby lying on you with his/her belly on yours, curl your index finger and middle finger at the second joint on both hands and place the flattest part of your fingers into and right below the squishy part of your baby’s cheek. This helps your baby feed more effectively and transfer milk more quickly.
By figuring out the right feeding position and making your baby comfortable with you, you’ll eventually benefit the baby as s/he will be fed well. Try this dancer hold for breastfeeding position and let us know if it suited you and your baby!