Are you a new mom still figuring out what’s the best position to breastfeed your baby? What is the correct position for breastfeeding?
When I was still a new mom, I was shocked the first time I breastfed my child. No one told me it was very difficult and painful that I can’t help but cry. It was not easy at all that I would rather pump than breastfeed because I still believe that breast milk is best for my child.
For first-time moms who are having difficulty breastfeeding and don’t have access to a lactation consultant near them, here are some of the best breastfeeding positions to try on that will surely help you get off to a great start for your newborn.
- 1 Breastfeeding Positions to Try On
- 2 Are There Any Bad Breastfeeding Positions?
- 3 Is It Okay To Breastfeed While Lying Down?
- 4 How Do I Get My Baby To Have A Deeper Latch?
- 5 Conclusion
Breastfeeding Positions to Try On
If you are a mother still figuring out the best breastfeeding position for you and your newborn, good news! You are about to find an answer here. In the next section, I’ll be discussing different breastfeeding positions that you can try on.
1. Laid back breastfeeding
Laid back is one of the most common breastfeeding positions because it’s very natural making it a good choice for anyone especially new moms.
It involves you lying on your back and placing your baby on your chest with your cheek close to your breast.
In a laid back position, the baby will naturally explore their surroundings, find the nipple and latch on your breasts.
Laid back is also known as biological nurturing and is often the first position new moms try. But it’s not just for the newborns, it works well for babies of all ages.
How to do it
1. Lean back on a bed or couch. You can get pillows to support you in a semi-reclining position so that when you put your baby tummy-to-tummy onto your body, head near your breast, gravity will keep him molded to you.
2. Rest the baby on you in any direction as long as the whole front of the body is against yours and the body is against yours and he can reach your breast.
3. The infant can naturally latch on this position or you can help them by directing the nipple toward the little one’s mouth.
4. Once the baby is set up at your breast, you don’t have to do much besides lying back and relax.
Tip: Laid back breastfeeding position is for moms with smaller breasts or babies with super-sensitive tummies or excess gas. It’s also the best for first-time moms.
2. Side lying position
Side lying position is another great option for moms to learn because it is comfortable. When you are in the hospital or you are lying, it’s one of the best positions because it lets you rest while you are nursing.
Side lying position is also more comfortable for moms who just had a cesarean or stitches because the mother and baby only need to lie on their sides next to one another to breastfeed. The baby can easily access your breasts in this position.
How to do it
1. You and your baby should both lie on your sides, tummy to tummy
2. Use your hand on the side you’re not lying on to cup your breast if you need to.
3. When you do this position, there should be no excess bedding around the infant that could pose a suffocation hazard.
Tip: Side lying position is best when you are breastfeeding in the middle of the night. It’s the leading option among mothers for night feeds
3. Cradle hold
The cradle hold is the most common breastfeeding position.
In this way, a mother can support the baby at the breast while the infant is cradled near her elbow and her arm supports the infant along the back and neck.
How to do it
1. Position the baby so their head rests in the bend of your elbow of the arm on the side you’ll be breastfeeding with the hand on the side supporting the rest of the body.
2. Cup your breast with your other hand, place your thumb above your nipple and areola at the spot where your baby’s nose will touch your breast.
3. Your index fingers should be at the spot where your baby’s chin will make contact with the breast. Lightly compress your breast so that the nipple points slightly toward your baby’s mouth. The baby is now ready to latch.
Tip: This nursing position is popular but not easy to do. You can use a pillow or cushion behind you and a breastfeeding pillow across your lap propping your baby or your arms for more support and to avoid strain on your back or shoulder. When choosing a pillow make sure that it doesn’t lift the baby too high.
4. Cross cradle or crossover hold
Cross cradle hold is similar to the cradle hold, but your arms are positioned differently because instead of supporting your baby’s head in the crook of your arm, you will use the hand of that arm to support your breast.
Your opposite arm should come around the back of your baby.
This breastfeeding position aims to support the baby around their neck and shoulders to allow them to tilt their head prior to latch.
This position is great for small babies or those with latching difficulties because you have more control in your baby’s position.
How to do it
1. Hold your baby’s head with the hand opposite to the breast you’ll be nursing from (i.e. if nursing from the right breast, bold the head with your left hand).
2. Rest your wrist between your baby’s shoulder blades, your thumb behind one ear, your other fingers behind the other ear.
3. Using your free hand, cup your breast as you would for the cradle hold.
Tip: This nursing position is best for moms who want to have more control over how their baby latches on. Moms find this position convenient to get their babies latched on more deeply.
5. Clutch hold or Football Hold
Clutch hold is similar to the cradle hold but the arms switch roles so the baby’s body lies along the opposite forearm.
It is also called rugby ball hold because the underarm or clutch includes sitting with the baby resting along the forearm with the baby’s body tucks alongside your side with their feet towards the back of the chair or whatever you’re sitting on.
It aims to support the baby around the neck and shoulders to allow them to tilt their head prior to latching on.
This is one of the most popular newborn breastfeeding positions for small babies. It’s also great for infants with latching difficulties because the baby is fully supported.
How to do it
1. Position baby at your side, facing you, with baby’s legs tucked under your arms (like a football hold)
2. Support the baby’s head with the same hand. You can also use pillows to support the baby.
3. Use the other hand to cup your breast as you for the cradle hold.
4. Make sure your baby’s feet point in the direction of the sofa or chair.
5. Their nose should be on the same level as your nipple.
Tip: The football position allows babies to take milk more easily making it a great choice for mothers with forceful milk ejection reflex (or let down) and had a C-section. It’s also a great option for mothers with large breasts or small babies.
6. Upright breastfeeding or koala hold
This position includes straddling the baby in your thigh or hip with his spine and head upright as he feeds. Moms can use this for an older baby who can sit unaided.
It will also apply to newborns, but moms have to give their babies plenty of support to pull it through.
How to do it
1. Sit comfortably and put a cushion on your back
2. Raise your feet. You can put a small chair to help you elevate your feet so you can sit comfortably. This is helpful especially if your chair is high and your feet can’t reach the ground.
3. Place the baby straddle over your thigh.
4. Hold the baby’s shoulder blades with the palm of your hand with the index thumb behind the ear without squeezing. The other hand must support the hips.
5. Hold the baby against you with the nose at the level of the nipple. If necessary tickle the baby’s upper lip with your breast.
6. When the baby opens their mouth wide bring the baby close to your nipple quickly.
7. Do not lean on them closer or bring their head closer to latch on. Try to bring the baby closer by pushing their bottom toward you. The angle will change and free their nose so that they may breathe freely and feed on you comfortably.
Tip: This works well for babies who suffer from reflux or ear infections and it can also work well with babies who have a tongue-tie or low muscle tone.
7. Dangle feeding
This involves having the baby lie on their back while you crouch over him on all fours and dangle your nipple in his mouth.
Mothers with a plugged/blocked duct find this position helpful while leaning over the baby so that gravity aids in dislodging the plug.
Some moms say they use this position for short periods especially if they have conditions like mastitis. If you are suffering from nipple soreness or sore nipples, you should start breastfeeding your baby this way.
How to do it
1. Lie your baby down flat on their back.
2. Position yourself planking over them. You should be head to head.
3. Put the baby on the side where the block is and nurse on that side.
Tip: Put the baby’s chin toward the block. You can also use a hot compress and put it around between your bra and skin and massage behind with the pads of your fingers behind the blockage in circles down towards the nipple. It will hurt but it will help it pass.
8. Nursing in a sling
As the name suggests, it is breastfeeding the baby in a sling which is very convenient when a mom is out and about.
It’s very helpful especially if you are looking after your older children.
A sling is one of the pregnancy tools that a mom like me really loves.
I find comfort when I carry my baby with a sling and it is very useful if the baby doesn’t want to be put down because I can nurse them until they fall asleep.
How to do it
1. Put the center piece a little bit lower because you have to put the baby’s seat lower. So, put it right on your hips and cross it in the back and over the shoulders.
2. There should be an X at the back and cross it again and put it down and tie in the back.
3. Put the baby’s right leg in the first part of the X. Then the second part in another. Observe if it gets a little bit looser. Don’t tie a double knot to make it easier to adjust when needed.
4. Make sure that the baby is seated comfortably. Tuck them nice and secure at a boob level.
5. Make the baby latch on while on the sling so they can enjoy your breast milk.
Tips: This works in all sorts of slings whether you are using stretchy wraps, ring slings and front carriers. However, you should take your time because it takes a little bit more adjustment to get them right.
9. Double rugby ball hold
The double rugby hold also known as a double clutch is a great breastfeeding position for twins.
It allows women with twins to feed their babies in tandem while keeping their hands relatively free
It similar to the football hold only that two kids are latching on both of your breasts.
How to do it
1. Sit in a chair with a pillow.
2. Lie the first baby alongside you, tucking them under your arm facing towards you.
3. Tuck your arm around them (keeping them rolled towards you)
4. Your baby’s nose should be level with your nipple.
5. Repeat with the second sibling on the other breast.
6. Support your baby’s neck with the palm of your hand.
7. Gently guide them to your breasts and into your nipples and let them latched on.
Tip: This is the best breastfeeding position for moms with twins.
Having twins is one of the most wonderful thing for mothers, you can monitor both of them if they need to be nursed by having the best baby monitor for twins.
Are There Any Bad Breastfeeding Positions?
There are a few breastfeeding positions that you should never ever try to ensure the safety of your baby.
For new moms, here are some breastfeeding tips on what you should avoid when breastfeeding, according to Babygaga.
Do not hold the baby too loosely. Keep a firm grip when the baby is on your arms. Moms are at risk of holding their baby too loosely when they are tired or sleepy. So, no matter how exhausted you are, make sure to hold your baby firmly while keeping them comfortable.
Do not multitask. Some moms think they can carry the baby with one hand, while that’s possible, it’s best to never take the risk. Always keep your other hand available for support or extra balance.
Don’t hunch over. Avoid hunching as it bends the spine and puts unnecessary strain on the back. It may not seem painful at first but moms usually experience discomfort in the long run. However, when the baby is so invested in feeding, it’s difficult for moms to change position for fear that the baby will be interrupted.
Don’t twist baby’s body. There are some positions that require a baby’s body to be twisted with the torso facing one direction and the pelvis is another. Worse, the head may be facing towards the breast, but the body may be turning away. This position isn’t good practice as it strains the baby’s muscles, resulting in pain and discomfort. As such, the little one may not feed for as long as they like.
Don’t hold away. Each breastfeeding position requires moms to hold their baby close to them in different ways. For example, for cradle position it’s tummy-to-tummy, for football hold it’s tummy to side. It’s best to keep the baby as close as possible for less risks for fall. Also, it reduces the risk that the little one will pull or bit the nipple.
Don’t cover the nose. When breastfeeding make sure to not cover the baby’s nose because it will make breastfeeding difficult for both of you. The baby will have to release the breast to breathe before latching on again. This will be troublesome for moms with big boobs and stressful for the babies too.
Is It Okay To Breastfeed While Lying Down?
There is a breastfeeding position called side-lying. It’s also called the reclining or lying down position. In this position, moms lie down sideways and the baby faces you also in the same position. Place the baby’s head near the breast so they can latch better.
New moms consider this position helpful if the baby seems irritable with the flow of milk. This also works well for moms with large breasts because it makes feeding the baby easier. Moreover, it saves moms from strain in the neck, back and even arms. It also works well for moms who just had C-section and can’t sit straight.
Breastfeeding while lying down is okay. However, one should be extra careful because it can be fatal to the baby if the milk gets absorbed into the lungs. Second, it increases the risk of ear infection if the milk spills from the mouth and reaches the ears.
While this is safe, it’s best for new moms to avoid this position during the first few months. Just try it when the babies learn to hold their heads.
How Do I Get My Baby To Have A Deeper Latch?
Breastfeeding is not supposed to be painful. According to a lactation consultant, moms with sore nipples usually have to latch on their babies deeply.
A team of International Board Certified Lactation Consultants from Pump Station offers the following tips to get your baby latched on more deeply.
1. Hold the breast with your thumb and index finger on the edge of the areola forming a “C” (football hold) or a “U” (cross cradle hold). Squeeze the finger and thumb toward each other to compress the breast. Keep the fingers off to the side forming “half a sandwich” or just “pinching an inch.”
2. When putting the baby to the breast, support the head with one hand, thumb near one ear, third finger near the other ear with the web of the hand at the nape of the baby’s neck. Tip the head slightly backward by lifting between the baby’s shoulder with the heel of the hand.
3. With the baby’s head tilted back and chin up, lift the baby to touch the nipple. The nipple should rest above the baby’s upper lip. Wait for the baby to open the mouth widely and scoop the breast by placing the lower jaw first.
Tip the baby’s head forward and place the upper jaw well behind the nipple. Keep the thumb pressing down to form the flattened sandwich as you place the baby’s upper jaw behind the nipple and the lower jaw will be more deeply position than the upper jaw.
4. Wait for several seconds and release the breast. If the baby’s nose is buried deep in the breast, tip the head slightly so you can see your baby’s nostril while the nose still touches the breast. There is no need to continue pressing the breast with the thumb.
Babies have receded chins. If their head drops forward, they cannot get the lower jaw correctly position deeply under the areola which may result in pinched, sore, blistered nipples, and poor milk flow.
The deep latch can be achieved with any position including football, cradle, or cross-cradle holds. However, it’s easier to do it when you sit up straight and use pillows to support you and your baby.
Monitor your newborn in case they feel to be nursed. If you have other chores in the house and you’re far from their room, you can use a long distance baby monitor or audio baby monitor to know if they need to be breastfed.
For moms who want to feed their baby with breast milk, you now know the different breastfeeding positions available for you. While you have the option to switch from different positions from time to time, certain positions work best for a particular condition. For example, dangle breastfeeding is best for moms with mastitis and double rugby is best for mothers with twins.
For moms, you should change your perspective about breastfeeding. The experience shouldn’t be that difficult or painful. It’s the best opportunity to bond with your baby, so learn the various breastfeeding positions above and choose what suits you best depending on your condition. If you aren’t sure how to push forward or how to choose the best option for you, you can ask for advice from a lactation consultant.
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