There are several breastfeeding positions that you can try to see which one best works for you and your little one. There are no right or wrong positions, since every mom and baby is different.
Breastfeeding is a bit of a learning curve and what may work wonders for one mom, might not be the best fit for you and your baby. The best way to find a few positions that will make your nursing journey easier is by experimenting with some of these positions until you find one that is most suitable. There is no particular position that you have to do. You can nurse your baby sitting up, lying down, and even standing. As long as your baby latches correctly and both of you feel comfortable, you can breastfeed in any position of your choosing.
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8 Breastfeeding Positions You Need to Know
Laid-back Nursing Or Reclined Position
This position is also referred to as biological nurturing and is a popular position among new moms. It involves placing your newborn onto your tummy or chest soon after birth, allowing him to instinctively find his way to one of your breasts and attempting to latch. It is called the “breast crawl” and works well with skin to skin contact, since it stimulates his feeding instincts, while gravity assists to keep him in place while finding a latch.
Even though this position works well for newborns, it is also an excellent position for babies of any age. It works especially well for babies that have difficulty holding a latch, or that do not like it when their head is touched while feeding, for moms with larger breasts, or if you experience a forceful let down.
This position is like a cradle hold, except your arms are switching roles in order for your baby to lie along the opposite forearm. The goal is to support your baby around his shoulders and neck so that he can tilt his head before latching. This position is helpful for newborn nursing as well as tiny babies that struggle to latch. This position gives you more control because your baby is supported on the opposite arm, allowing you to use your free hand to shape the breast.
This is the position that most moms picture when they think of nursing. It entails sitting upright with the baby positioned on his side, his neck and head laying along the forearm, and his body in a tummy-to-tummy position against your stomach. Even though it is a well liked position, it can be a bit tricky with a newborn since it does not support your baby as much as other breastfeed positions.
You can place a cushion or pillow behind you as well as a breastfeeding pillow over your lap, propping your little one or your arms, to offer more support and prevent strain on your shoulders and back. If a breastfeeding pillow is used, ensure that your baby is not lifted too high and your breasts must stay at a natural resting height to prevent a strained latch or sore nipples.
Rugby Ball Position
This position is also called the clutch or underarm position. You sit while your newborn is resting on your forearm with his body tucked alongside your side. His feet are positioned towards the back of the chair or whatever object you are sitting on. This hold is especially useful since it gives you ample control with your baby well supported with a good view of his face. This position helps to make him feel more safe as well. This position is recommended for:
- Premature babies
- Moms who had C-sections
- Moms with larger breasts
- Moms who gave birth to twins
Laid-back Nursing After Having a C-section
For moms who had a caesarean birth and struggle with finding a comfortable nursing position, this hold might be helpful. Reclining with your newborn’s body across the shoulder will allow you to breastfeed, remaining comfortable without any unnecessary pressure or weight placed on the c-section wound.
This position is perfect for relaxing night feeds and nursing while on your bed or sofa. Side-lying is often more comfortable than sitting upright, especially for moms who had caesarean births or stitches. Both you and your baby can lie on your sides belly-to-belly, next to each other.
Koala Hold or Upright Nursing
With a koala or upright nursing position, the baby sits straddling on your hip or thigh, with his head and spine upright while feeding. This hold is suitable for newborns while offering plenty of support, or it can be a convenient method for feeding older babies that can already sit unaided. This position is also a comfortable position for babies with ear infections or reflux (who prefer to sit upright). It can also be useful for babies with low muscle tone or who have a tongue-tie.
Breastfeeding In A Sling
This might need some practice at first, but nursing your baby while he is in a sling is convenient when you are out running errands, doing light chores, or looking after older siblings as well. It is also a handy position for babies who feed regularly or that dislike being put down.
Bonus: Helpful Tips For Breastfeeding Moms
- Before you begin feeding, gather everything that you might need like snacks, the TV remote, your phone, drinks, magazines, or a book. Also remember to wee first since some feeds can go on for some time.
- Always make sure that you and your baby are comfortable. No matter what position you choose, your baby must be supported and stable with his neck, head and spine not in a twisted position. Use pillows, rolled towels, or cushions to support your arms and back if needed.
- Check if your baby has latched on correctly. Good latches are essential for comfortable nursing.
- If your newborn has difficulty latching or nursing is painful, ask advice from a qualified lactation consultant to give you guidance and support.