Breastfeeding is one of the best ways to bond with your baby. Although breastfeeding is natural, most moms and babies struggle to get comfortable during breastfeeding. And believe me, that too is natural! No skills can be acquired all of a sudden. As parenting has to be learned through experience, so is breastfeeding! Some may struggle with the baby’s proper latching, some may feel uncomfortable while breastfeeding, and some babies won’t latch on at all. Trying out the best breastfeeding positions that work for both the mom and newborn can help to make breastfeeding easy and comfortable.
In today’s article, I am discussing the best breastfeeding positions that a new mom can try to make the whole process comfortable and fruitful.
8 Best Breastfeeding Positions for New Moms and Newborns
The way you hold your baby affects how easily the baby can breastfeed. If the hold while breastfeeding is proper, the latch will be proper and the baby will be able to transfer milk effortlessly. Awkward breastfeeding positions that put unnecessary pressure on the stitches soon after the delivery or cause strain for the mom or baby can negatively impact the whole experience. Knowing about safe breastfeeding positions is important for the comfort and safety of both the mom and the baby.
There are different positions of breastfeeding. Each mom and baby duo has their own comfortable position for breastfeeding. There is no right or wrong breastfeeding position, whichever works best for you both is the right position for you. So, here are the 7 best breastfeeding positions worth a try to find out which one works best for you.
#1. Cradle hold
This position is the classic breastfeeding position when you think of breastfeeding. In this position, you sit upright while the baby’s head and neck lay along your forearm and the baby’s body is against your stomach.
Breastfeeding in the cradle position will be difficult for a mom who just had a cesarean. This works best for little older babies (more than 3 months) and also when you want to breastfeed your baby in public places.
While breastfeeding in this position, make sure to keep the baby’s ears, shoulders, and hip in a straight line. You may use a pillow to prop-up your hand to hold the baby to your breast level. Also, a pillow behind you will help you to sit comfortably and reduce the strain on your shoulder and neck.
#2. Cross-cradle hold
This position sounds similar to the cradle position, but it is much effective and easier for newborn babies.
In this position, you need to hold your baby in the opposite forearm. i.e if you wish to feed your baby from the left side, you need to hold your baby in the right forearm. Hold your baby’s ear with a thumb and another ear with the forefinger. Make sure to support your baby with the remaining part of your palm. Help your baby to latch by tickling the baby’s upper lip with your nipple. Use your supporting palm to push gently toward the breast as the baby opens the mouth. This position also enables you to keep a hand free to pamper your baby.
#3. Laid-back position
Laidback or back lying position or biological nurturing comes as an instinctive position for mom and baby immediately after baby’s birth. Baby is completely supported by the mom who is reclined on a bed with the help of a cushion or pillow. In this position, mom and baby face each other with baby lying on mom’s chest making the skin to skin contact. Laidback position stimulates the baby’s reflexes to find the nipple, latch, and nurse (breast crawl).
The laid back position is best for moms who want to rest and need to nurse frequently and also for the babies having trouble latching.
#4. Football hold
Football hold or rugby position is the best for the moms who had cesarean. For this position, the baby’s legs are behind you rested or supported on a cushion.
To breastfeed, you keep your hand behind the baby’s shoulders who is tucked under your arm. This position, also known as the underarm or clutch position, also works best for tandem nursing or nursing twin babies as babies get their own space to feed.
#5. Australian hold
Also known as a saddle, this breastfeeding position is for older babies who can hold their head upright and are old enough to sit on your lap facing you.
In this position, the baby sits comfortably on your thigh facing you while feeding. This is the preferable position in older babies and also for the babies with the risks of ear infection.
#6. Inverted Side Lying
This variation of side-lying breastfeeding gives you relief from sore breasts.
While your position remains the same as the side-lying position, your baby’s feet are toward your head. This will also give you relief from completely emptying your breasts as baby latches from a different angle. You can place a folded towel or baby blanket under your baby’s head to bring his mouth to the nipple level. A tightly rolled towel behind your baby can provide proper support and also keep the baby from rolling onto his/her back to the other side.
#7. Side-lying cradle position
In this position, the baby is held in the same way as in the cradle breastfeeding position, but the mom lies on her back and rests on her side holding the baby with her one hand and using the opposite hand to guide the baby to the nipple.
This position is good when the body is sore after a c-section or normal delivery.
#8. Side-Lying Position
In this position, you lie comfortably on your side with the support of a pillow behind you. Your baby lies on a thin pillow or a folded towel facing you, tummy to tummy. Make sure your baby’s ears, shoulders, and hips are in a straight line and your baby’s nose is not blocked by your breasts. Not all the moms go easy with this position, but once you are with it, it is one of the most helpful. The best part is you can lay down and rest while your baby is feeding.
If you had a cesarean and need a lot of rest, the side-lying position gets you more rest and sleep. This is also the best for night time breastfeeding.
Different breastfeeding position works for different mother-baby. Whichever position you choose or might work for you, there are some points to remember,
- Let your baby latch himself after bringing him near to your breast. Also, check that the baby latches correctly as a good latch is important to avoid soring.
- Make sure that your baby’s ears, shoulders, and hips are in a straight line.
- Get all the things you need- water, remote, mobile, snacks before you start feeding.
- Ensure that you and your baby are in a comfortable position. You can relax by using cushions or pillows.
If your baby struggles a lot to find a good latch or is not feeding well, don’t give up! All new moms struggle initially, but as you bond and breastfeed regularly, the situation will surely improve. You can also take the help of a doctor, lactation consultant, or an experienced mother. So, find out the best breastfeeding positions for you and make breastfeeding the most unique experience.