You and your child each have different needs, which is why a particular nursing pattern may not be suitable for all moms and babies.
There are numerous diverse breastfeeding positions, from the football hold to the cross-cradle hold. It is a good idea to try a different breastfeeding position as time goes on. This allows your breast to become fully empty and disrupts conditions such as mastitis.
Keep on reading to know more about the best breastfeeding position for you and your baby.
1. The Cross-Cradle Hold
This is one of the best breastfeeding positions in case you are feeding your baby for the first time. Look for a comfortable chair with good armrests, and sit upright. Bring your child across the front part of your body, with his/her stomach touching yours.
Hold your baby’s body in the crook of your arm, directly opposite the breast you are going to feed on. Use the left arm for the right breast and the right arm for the left breast. Support your baby’s head with your hand open, and use the other hand to support your breast from underneath in a u-shaped hold.
Carefully guide your child’s mouth to your breast leaning forward or bending over. You will also want to cradle her closer to your breast.
This is a great position in case your baby is finding it hard latching on. Since it makes it easier for you to properly guide your baby’s head into a more suitable position by supporting the back of his/her neck between your thumb and fingers.
2. The Cradle Hold
This is closely related to the cross-cradle hold, however, in this position you support your baby with your arm which is on the same side as the breast of a nursing mother.
Always ensure to sit up straight in a comfortable chair with armrests, and properly cradle your child in your arm with his head resting comfortably in the crook of your elbows as he/she faces your breast.
Ensure your baby’s head is appropriately aligned with the rest of his/her body, and not turned over to the side. You could also lay a breastfeeding pillow carefully across your lap to get comfort and additional support.
3. The Football Hold
In case you are recovering from a c-section or in case you have big breasts, the football hold position may be a great position to stick to. This position works well to keep your baby’s weight off your abdomen.
However, you have to bend your elbow properly to hold your child beside you and align with your waist. Support your child’s head with your hand, and make her face your breast.
Her back would rest on your forearm as if you are holding a football or a clutch bag.
Support your breast with your second hand in a c-shape.
This position is also recommended for premature babies.
4. Laid-Back Position
This is otherwise called “biological breastfeeding position,” and it is the position that mom and baby get into without any thought after birth. Mom lies on her back comfortably and the baby lies on top of mom’s chest, searching for the nipple. In this position, the baby is held in place by gravity and mom’s curve. Some studies reveal that the laid-back position naturally stimulates the baby’s reflexes to find the nipple and feed on his own accord.
However, to biologically breastfeed your baby lay back on some pillows instead of lying flat on your back. This keeps you in a supported reclining position. More so, you can wear a button-down or tank top shirt to ensure skin-to-skin contact with your baby.
Place your baby on your stomach, allowing their belly to rest on your skin. After that, help your baby find the nipple or allow them to find it themselves without any guidance. However, there is no particular way of feeding your baby with this position. Many moms tend to figure out their style pretty quickly.
5. Side-lying Position
This breastfeeding position is best if you’re tired after childbirth, or if you’re feeling sleepy. You can feed your baby while lying down on your side, but ensure you stay awake.
More so, this position is a good option for mothers that had a c-section. You can lie on your side, and face your baby towards your breast without them pressing on your abdomen. However, make sure your baby is held in one place with one hand. You can use your second hand to support your breast and direct the nipple to your baby’s lips. Once they start to latch on, you can use one arm to hold your baby close and the other to support yourself.
This position is amazing for getting enough sleep- and this is essential for surviving the early days with a baby.
Breastfeeding positions to avoid
Certain positions can affect your baby negatively; hence, you should avoid them completely. These positions include:
- Having your baby’s head and body facing different directions
- Hunching over your body
- Keeping your baby’s body far away from your breast
Essential Tips for Every Breastfeeding position
There are some important tips you need to keep in mind irrespective of the breastfeeding position you choose. The tips below will keep you and your baby comfortable during the feeding process:
- Support your back and arms with plenty of pillows and pick a chair with armrests. You can also use a footrest, or a coffee table to prop you up.
- Use your arms or hand to hold your baby in place or place a pillow or blanket under her back and head for extra support. If you’ve had a c-section, you can place a pillow on your lap with your on top to stay comfortable.
- You can use your hands to support your breast as they are probably filled with milk and heavy. But ensure you keep your fingers away from the nipple and areola, to prevent your baby from sucking on them accidentally
- You can alternate nursing positions to prevent nipple soreness, breast infection, and clogged milk ducts.
- Ensure you relax well before breastfeeding and even after. Remember, this is an awesome opportunity to bond with your baby, so try to make it stress-free or you and your baby.
The breastfeeding experience is different from one woman to another, and it is also alright to have a slow beginning. The more you eat, the easier it will become, and you and your baby can both enjoy all the benefits of breastfeeding. More so, you can visit a lactation consultant or your local healthcare provider if you have any concerns or further questions.