Winding is often the forgotten part of a breastfeed, but without it all the effort you put into getting positioning, latching and feeding just right just goes out the window. The trick to winding is to keep baby calm, hold his back straight and get rid of swallowed air as soon as it goes in.
Where possible, reduce the amount of air he swallows during the feed. If you have a fast flow, change your feeding position to slow down your flow. Don’t be afraid to break a feed to wind you baby if you can hear him gulping and clicking at the breast.
ACTIVE WINDING TECHNIQUES
Starting with your baby upright, move his body clockwise in a circular movement while keeping his back nice and straight. Let him lean right back to stretch and then come forward right over his knees.
Start with your baby upright, then tip him back really slowly until he almost lying flat. He may do a little stretch himself before you bring him back up to sitting position.
Lie baby on his back on your lap with his head near your knees and his bottom close to your stomach. Hook your thumbs behind his knees and gently bring his knees up and circle them. You can also hold his feet if it is easier. Work with your baby. If he kicks back or stiffens up when using this technique, he probably has accumulated wind in his gut. Try another technique and come back to this one later.
PASSIVE WINDING TECHNIQUES
1. Over the shoulder
Scoop baby up, with your palms on his side and your fingers supporting the back of his head. Life him over your shoulder then bring him down so that his armpits rest on your shoulder and he clips into place. Allow his back to stretch nicely or, if he is new, tuck his legs up like a little tree frog.
Use your outer hand to steady baby, so that he doesn’t slip of your shoulder, and the other to pat his back.
You can also just hold him in position and then bounce by bending your knees while standing up, or while sitting on a Swiss ball or on the edge of your bed if you are too tired to stand.
2. The Magic Hold
Support baby’s cheeks and chest with one hand, and cup baby’s tummy with your other
hand. Sit baby’s bottom on your belly button and tip him forward, keeping his back straight. Hold him in position and bounce him from your knees.
You will know that you are doing this hold correctly when:
- your thumb and index finger are on baby’s cheeks rather than on his neck
- baby’s weight is supported by your tummy
- baby’s chest relaxes into the palm of your hand
- you are jigging up and down
- baby is growing calmer and getting sleepy
3. The Father’s Hold
To get into this position, sit baby against your front with him facing away from you and his back against you.
Slip your right hand over baby’s right shoulder, over his front and between his legs. Hold onto his leg for added safety.
Tip baby on to your right arm and get comfortable. Check that he has one arm on either side of your arm. This ensures that he is well balanced and safe.
With baby in place, you can now stand up and safely move around with him snugly tucked close to you. His head should rest on the fleshy bit of your forearm for most comfort.
You can use your free hand to pat or rub baby’s back if he is windy, or if it is easier, you can just jig or bounce up and down as you would do if using the Magic Hold.
ESSENTIAL WINDING TIPS
- There is no right or wrong way to wind your baby, just ways that suit you both.
- You can reduce wind intake in the first instance by changing your feeding position to slow down your flow.
- Wind baby during the feed if you hear him gulping or making a clicking noise.
- Help him to relax first so that he his able to let go of trapped wind.
- You have winded him enough when he calm, floppy and relaxed.
Extracted from Geraldine’s new book Breastfeeding Made Easy, published by Vermilion.