As a new mom, you probably have a lot of questions about breastfeeding. Among those questions is most likely how do you find an effective position to breastfeed your baby so they can latch and you can maintain the position in a comfortable way. While you’ll likely figure out what works best for you and your baby as you go, it's helpful to know a few different options so you can switch things up as needed. There are many different breastfeeding positions, however, we’re going to discuss 8 of them in this blog post.
Let’s start with one of the most common and traditional breastfeeding positions⎯the cradle hold. This position involves your baby in one arm with their head resting on your forearm, and using your other hand to support your breast. While it’s a common position, it can lack the necessary support for your baby. For more support, you can use a breastfeeding pillow on your lap to prop up your baby or to support your arms. This could help alleviate strain on your back and shoulders. One of our favorite breastfeeding pillows is this one.
The cross-cradle position is another traditional breastfeeding position and looks similar to the cradle hold, but you hold your baby with the opposite hand to the breast you're nursing with. In this position, you want to support your baby around his neck and shoulders to allow them to tilt their head prior to latch. Because your baby is fully supported on your opposite arm, you have more control over their positioning so you can use your free hand to shape your breast.
The laid-back breastfeeding position⎯also known as the biological nurturing position is when you lean back with your baby on your chest. This position is great for newborns who are struggling to keep their chin up or latch. When in this position, your baby will use their natural reflexes to find your breast, and you'll be more comfortable as there's no need to use any extra pillows.
The Football Hold
The football hold position is perfect for mothers who have recently had a C-section or twins. In this position, you position your baby under your arm, similar to how you would hold a football. This helps to keep pressure off your abdomen, making it easier to nurse after your C-section, and gives twins access to both breasts to feed at the same time.
This side-lying position is ideal for napping or co-sleeping with your infant because it allows you to lay on your side with your infant next to you.
The upright breastfeeding position⎯also known as the koala hold, is great when you have an older baby who is able to hold their head up. They’re able to sit on your lap with one leg on either side and you can wrap your arms around them as they feed. This is beneficial for babies who have acid reflux or frequent ear infections as it helps the milk to go directly into their stomach and not pool in their mouth or run into their ears.
Dangling feeding allows for the breast milk to concentrate near the nipple to be released from partially blocked ducts to help them open for later feedings. It also gives the infant an easier latch when milk flows freely. This can allow for shorter feeding times.
Nursing in a Sling
Nursing in a sling allows mothers and babies to be active. This is a great breastfeeding position for babies that have the neck strength to hold their head up. What’s also great is babies can fluctuate between napping and feeding as they’re always attached to their mother. Because they’re in the sling, it allows a mother to nurse in a more private way with the sling working as a nursing cover.
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We hope this guide helps you find the nursing position that works best for you and your baby.