What are breastfeeding positions?
Breastfeeding positions are ways that a baby can be held while breastfeeding. Most of us would likely be aware of the cradle position as this is the most common position to hold a baby. In addition to this position, there are others that may be more comfortable for both mother and baby, and may also assist with latching if the baby is having difficulties latching when held in a certain position.
The Cradle Position
The cradle hold is probably the most common and easiest breastfeeding position for many mothers and babies. This is a great position to use once baby is latching and nursing well. Simply hold your baby in your arm with their head supported in the crook your forearm. A pillow can be used to support your elbow and help to elevate the baby towards your breast.
The Cross-Cradle Position
The cross-cradle hold is a slight variation to the cradle hold. This position works particularly well for premature babies or babies that have latching problems as it gives the mother more control over helping the baby to stay latched on.
To achieve this hold, sit up straight and place your baby along your body opposite from the breast you’re using. For example – If you’re nursing from the right breast, use your other arm to support baby’s neck and shoulders.
The Football Hold Position
The football hold is also known as the clutch hold. This position works well for mothers who have had a C-section as it minimises weight being put on the stomach. This position is extremely useful for mothers with twins as they can tandem nurse, and ideal for women with large breasts. This position may also reduce colic or reflux symptoms as the baby is more upright while feeding.
To achieve the football hold position, hold your baby by your side, under your arm with a pillow supporting the baby. Have the baby laying on their back and head at breast level, support the back of baby’s head with your hand while they nurse.
The Laid Back Position
This position is a great option for mothers with strong letdown reflex as gravity will help reduce the flow and prevent the baby from gulping or taking in too much milk at any one time.
The laid back position is also useful for baby-led nursing approach as the baby will be required to search for the breast to begin nursing.
To achieve this position, lay on a 45 degree angle using pillow to support your back. Position the baby on top of you with the baby facing down on your chest with arms hugging your breast.
The Side Lying Position
The side lying position, although very comfortable, it can be a little difficult in the early newborn stage. Most breastfeeding mothers find this position works best as the baby grows and breastfeeding is fully establish.
This position is also suitable for mothers who have had a C-section to help reduce pressure on the abdominal area.
To achieve the side lying position, lie on your side with your baby facing you. Bring the baby close to you to latch to the breast. You can use a pillow or rolled towel and place it behind the baby to prevent them from rolling away or use your arm to hold your baby close as they nurse.
These are the 5 common breastfeeding positions that you may want to try and see which will work best for you and your baby. Bear in mind that different positions may work best at certain stages of breastfeeding. A position that worked well in the early stages of breastfeeding may not be comfortable or suitable in the later stages.