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becoming a parent is one of the greatest things in life, but it can also be one of the scariest! the uncertainty of what parenthood will bring can spook anyone, but we hope to calm those nerves with a little advice from the experts.

Is a Nursing Pillow Necessary?
Is a Nursing Pillow Necessary?

 

Nursing pillows can sometimes get forgotten about in the never-ending list of things you need to purchase before the arrival of your baby. Although they are not deemed an essential for mums-to-be, they are definitely a useful product to help you and baby feel more comfortable during feeding.

What is a Nursing Pillow?

A nursing pillow, also known as a breastfeeding pillow, is a C shaped or U shaped pillow that supports you and your baby during breastfeeding or bottle feeding. They wrap comfortably around your body, adapting to your shape and providing a safe place for your baby to rest as they feed. You will find them in a range of prints and styles. But essentially, they are all designed to help make nursing easier and to reduce neck, arm and back strain for you.

Mother&Baby Feeding and Infant Support Pillow

Our Mother&Baby Feeding & Infant Support Pillow

Can I use a Feeding Pillow After a C-Section?

A caesarean birth might make breastfeeding more difficult due to several reasons, such as loss of mobility or a long and stressful labour. However, with extra support from your midwife, you should be able to find a breastfeeding position that is comfortable for you. One position that the NCT recommends is the ruby-ball or underarm position, as it might help keep your baby away from your scar. They further suggested that you may want to place a pillow under your arm to help support your baby's weight after they have latched on. Other C-section friendly positions they advise are lying down on your side and laid-back breastfeeding.

Rochelle and Marvin Humes with their baby after a c-section birth

📷 @rochellehumes

Why Should I Buy a Nursing Pillow?

Nursing pillows are especially handy if you plan on breastfeeding your baby. Lactation consultant Wendy Wisner advises keeping baby close with skin-to-skin contact during the first few days of breastfeeding. She explained, “This way, anytime your baby looks for the breast, it will be right there. Rooting, head bobbing, fist sucking, mouth fluttering—these are all signs your baby is hungry.”

Trying to maintain skin-to-skin contact for long periods of time can become tiring for your arms. You may find it even more uncomfortable if you have had a caesarean. Therefore, having a breastfeeding pillow to help support the weight of your baby can make the experience more enjoyable for the both of you.

What if I’m Expecting Twins?

If you are expecting twins and want to breastfeed them, you may want to consider tandem feeding. For this, a twin feeding pillow will help you and your babies find the perfect latch position.

Tandem breastfeeding positions diagram

📷 @bftwinsuk

Things to Consider When Choosing a Nursing Pillow

  • Is it washable? – It is worth considering whether the pillow itself is washable or if it comes with a removable cover that can be washed.
  • Does it have a certified organic cotton cover? – To avoid your baby’s sensitive skin encountering any nasty chemicals or dyes, you will need to ensure that the cover is GOTS certified (Global Organic Textiles Standard).
  • The shape – As we mentioned earlier, most nursing pillows are either C shaped or U shaped. Before your baby arrives, we recommend shopping around and trying each shape to find the most comfortable pillow. 
  • Is it adjustable? – Many feeding pillows are adjustable and feature a strap or belt to secure the pillow around your waist. 

Support Pillows and Your Growing Baby

You can continue to use most feeding pillows as your baby grows to help them with their key development stages. The pillows can be used to support baby with tummy time and sitting up. The NHS advises to only do tummy time when your baby is awake and alert. You should never leave your baby on their own propped up by a nursing pillow.

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How To Set Up A Baby Changing Station
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How to Arrange Furniture in a Small Nursery
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How to Choose a Maternity & Nursing Pillow
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Babies are all unique and individual, even as newborns. But they all love milk, so make feeding time more comfortable for both of you. 

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How to Get a Baby to Sleep on Its Back
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How to Teach a Baby to Self-Soothe
How to Teach a Baby to Self-Soothe

You’ve rocked your baby to sleep. Sung them to sleep. Breastfed or bottle-fed them to sleep. You’re an expert at sending your baby to dreamland, but after months of perfecting this skill, you’re wondering: How long until my baby can do it on their own? Is there any way to speed up the process?

When your little one is able to self-soothe themselves to sleep, it’s a big deal. While every baby is different and no one solution will work for everyone, we’ve compiled some tips to help make the process as quick and easy as possible.

What Is Self-Soothing?

Self-soothing is typically referred to a baby’s ability to fall asleep on their own without the need for an adult to rock, cuddle, pat, carry or shush them. It is a natural mechanism to control and regulate emotions that involves a baby or young child learning how to calm themselves down when they wake up or are a little anxious or stressed. 

Most babies need to be taught to self-soothe, while a few are natural self-soothers. You can expect your baby to begin soothing anywhere between three months and one year of age. In some cases, babies may take a little longer to learn.

Why Is Self-Soothing Important?

In terms of baby milestones, self-soothing may set your baby up for a lifetime of good sleeping habits. 

It’s believed that babies who can self-soothe become toddlers who can self-soothe through tantrums, and so on. Plus, we probably don’t have to stress to you how much of a relief it can be when you don’t have to spend an hour — or more — each night trying to get your little one to fall asleep. Yes, you treasure that togetherness. But it’s also nice when your baby can self-soothe and you get to squeeze in a bit more sleep. Other benefits of self-soothing include:


  • Your baby sleeps better — if your infant can self-soothe as they enter into the light sleep state, they will be able to sleep without too much trouble or relying on your intervention. They will be able to go back to sleep on their own if they wake up in the middle of the night. Gradually, your baby will learn to sleep longer without waking you up. 

  • Your baby grows more confident and independent — when your baby learns to comfort themselves, they will be able to regulate their moods and needs better. They’ll be able to focus on learning new skills during the day because they won’t be so tired or irritable, and they will be gaining more confidence.

  • You start to relax and be more positive — if you can teach your baby to self-soothe, your days and nights will be a lot more settled, relaxed, positive and enjoyable, so you can carry out your daily household jobs without feeling guilty or stressed by overwhelm. It’s much, much easier to look after a baby who can self-soothe than a fussy, fractious baby who requires constant attention to get to sleep.

  • When Can Babies Self-Soothe?

    You can try simple self-soothing techniques once your baby has turned about three months old. If you start too early, your baby might get a little fussier. Don’t rush it, don’t expect too much, too soon. Take your time and allow your little one to learn how to soothe themselves naturally and in their own time.

    Newborn

    In the very early days, your baby can’t control their own movements to be able to self-soothe themselves. They are still adapting to life in the outside world. You have to be patient and understand that they need you and depend on you for everything, from food and changing to falling asleep. As a result, you will need to rock, pat, sing and carry your baby around for them to fall asleep sometimes. Don’t worry about your baby getting into any bad habits of being rocked to sleep at this stage, as habits don’t develop until they have turned about 12 weeks old.

    Three months onwards

    As your little one approaches the 12-week mark, you can teach them to sleep on their own. A few babies learn to self-settle, almost overnight, while other babies need support and encouragement to learn this new skill for as long as it takes.

    How to Teach a Baby to Self-Soothe

    So, how can you help your baby to learn the crucial skill of self-soothing? Here are four tips from our experts designed to do just that:

    • If you are parenting your baby all the way to sleep (by rocking or feeding to sleep, for example), start changing this by still parenting them, but laying them down drowsy but awake for one nap each day. Then, you can gradually build up to doing this for all naps, and eventually at bedtime and during any night wakings. Or, for an even gentler approach, start by gradually shortening the amount of time you spend parenting to sleep — rock your baby for just five minutes, for example, instead of 10.
    • Create strong, consistent sleep routines. If you haven’t already, institute a consistent nap time and bedtime routine. These routines serve as signals to your baby that sleep time is approaching.
    • Allow some time — even just a minute or two — between hearing your baby cry and rushing in to comfort them. Waiting even just a minute gives your baby a chance to find their fingers or toes and start calming themselves down, a key part of learning to self-soothe. 
    • Comfort your baby in their crib. If your little one wakes in the middle of the night and you would like to acknowledge them, talk or sing softly to them or lightly pat them while they remain in the crib. This can aid them in falling back to sleep without having them fall asleep on you.

    Time to Enjoy a Good Night’s Sleep

    Once you have taught your baby to self-soothe and drift off to sleep without you, it’s important to remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

    There may be some nights that don’t work out as well as you’d planned — that’s life. But with these helpful tips, a solid night’s sleep may start to become the norm rather than the exception. Read our blog on How to Help a Baby Get to Sleep for further sleep advice for your little one.

    Discover CuddleCo’s range of expert cot mattresses, nursery furniture and baby sleep essentials, designed to help your baby get the best night’s sleep possible. Shop now for free shipping on all orders over £50.

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    What Is the Best Positioning for Breastfeeding?
    What Is the Best Positioning for Breastfeeding?

    Breastfeeding can be one of the most challenging but rewarding experiences you'll have as a mother if you are able or choose to do it. 

    Making milk might come naturally, but the delivery of it from breast to baby belly takes a little know-how and a lot of practice. There’s no right or wrong way to hold and feed your baby, and each mum and baby will find their preferred position to feed in. What’s important is that you both feel comfortable. 

    For just about every new mum and baby, the first attempts at breastfeeding are haphazard and hapless, at best. But proper positioning is essential in helping your newborn latch on the right way, as well as preventing nipple soreness and other breastfeeding problems. Knowing a few different breastfeeding positions and techniques can be helpful because life often requires us to be versatile, especially as your baby gets bigger and you start to go out and about more.

    With some trial-and-error, you'll find the breastfeeding position that works best for you.

    How to Hold Baby When Breastfeeding

    Start by placing your baby on one side, toward your breasts. Ensure your baby’s whole body is facing your chest, with his or her ear, shoulder and hip in a straight line. You don’t want your newborn's head turned to the side — it should be straight in line with the body. Use a nursing pillow to bring the baby to a height that makes manoeuvring them to the breast easier.


    Different Breastfeeding Positions

    Once you and baby are ready, try one of these five best breastfeeding positions, recommended by our CuddleCo experts:

    Side-lying position

    This position is a good choice for nursing mums when breastfeeding in the middle of the night. To breastfeed your baby in a side-lying position, do the following:

    • Both you and your baby should lie on your sides, tummy to tummy.
    • Use your hand on the side you’re not lying on to cup your breast if you need to.
    • When using this position, there should be no excess bedding around the infant that could pose a suffocation hazard. You shouldn’t use this position on a recliner, couch or water bed for that same reason.

    Clutch hold

    Also known as the football hold, the clutch hold position is especially useful if you have large breasts, a small or premature baby or twins, or if you have had a C-section and want to avoid placing your baby against your abdomen. To breastfeed your baby in a clutch hold position, do the following:

    • Position your baby at your side, facing you, with baby's legs are tucked under your arm (yes, like a football) on the same side as the breast you're nursing from
    • Support your baby’s head with the same hand, and use your other hand to cup your breast as you would for the cradle hold

    Crossover hold

    To breastfeed your baby in the crossover hold position, do the following:

    • Hold your baby's head with the hand opposite to the breast you’ll be nursing from (i.e. if nursing from the right breast, hold the head with your left hand).
    • Rest your wrist between your baby’s shoulder blades, your thumb behind one ear, your other fingers behind the other ear.
    • Using your free hand, cup your breast as you would for the cradle hold.

    Laid-back position

    A laid-back nursing position can be beneficial for mums with smaller breasts and newborns and babies with super-sensitive tummies or excess gas. To breastfeed your baby in a laid-back position, do the following:

    • Lean back on a bed or couch, well supported by pillows in a semi-reclining position, so that when you put your baby tummy-to-tummy onto your body, head near your breast, gravity will keep him moulded to you.
    • Your baby can rest on you in any direction, as long as the whole front of the body is against yours and he can reach your breast.
    • Your infant can naturally latch on in this position, or you can help by directing the nipple toward your little one's mouth.
    • Once your baby is set up at your breast, you don’t have to do much besides to lie back and relax.

    Cradle hold

    To breastfeed your baby in a cradle hold position, do the following:

    • Position your baby so their head rests in the bend of your elbow of the arm on the side you'll be breastfeeding, with the hand on that side supporting the rest of the body.
    • Cup your breast with your other hand, placing your thumb above your nipple and areola at the spot where your baby’s nose will touch your breast.
    • Your index finger should be at the spot where your baby’s chin will make contact with the breast. Lightly compress your breast so that the nipple points slightly toward your baby's nose. Your baby’s now ready to latch.

    Nursing, Support and Breastfeeding Pillows

    Many breastfeeding mums advocate having a baby nursing pillow on hand for feedings.

    A nursing pillow, otherwise known as a breastfeeding pillow, is a specially designed pillow to aid in your comfort while you nurse your baby. Not only can a nursing pillow ease the strain on your back, neck and arms during epic meal times, but it also makes your baby super comfy, supporting them, snuggling them, securing them and giving them the extra height they might need to latch on properly. 

    Unlike a regular bed pillow, they come in a few different shapes designed to help you hold the baby.  Some nursing pillows are U shaped to snuggle against your stomach such as our infant support pillow by Mother&Baby which can also be used to help your baby sit up. You can also buy a wedge support pillow set with a U shape support for you to feed your little one more comfortably.

    Other support and feeding pillows are designed to wrap all the way around your waist, allowing feeding mums to relax, while also helping in the baby’s breast latch. These U shaped designed are also used as pregnancy pillows to help you achieve a more comfortable sleeping position while pregnant.  

    Breastfeeding Positions to Avoid

    If your baby is positioned improperly, your breasts might not be stimulated to produce more milk, or your baby might not be getting enough breast milk in the first place. That can lead to even more problems down the road. Here are a few breastfeeding positions to avoid:

    • You hunch over your baby. Many latching-on troubles occur because Mum is hunched over baby, trying to shove breast into their mouth. Instead, keep your back straight and bring your baby up to your breast.
    • Baby's body and head face different directions. The last thing you want is for baby’s head to be facing your breast while his body faces the other direction. 
    • Baby's body is too far away from the breast. If it is, they will pull on your nipple while feeding. This will be painful for you and potentially unsatisfying for your little one.

    Discover CuddleCo’s full range of expert nursing, support and feeding pillows, designed to help you find the best position for breastfeeding. Browse our nursing pillows category page to buy and for free shipping on all orders over £50.

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