Breastfeeding your new baby is the most wonderful gift you can give. Aside from the well-documented health benefits, it creates a bond between the two of you that words can’t describe.
That being said, I’m sure you’ve heard countless renditions of how challenging it can be. From latching issues to soreness, it’s no walk in the park!
Have no fear though! In this guide we’re going to share with you the five best positions for breastfeeding. One isn’t better than the rest, but they all ensure both you and baby are comfortable and happy.
The Cradle Position
The cradle hold is probably the most common breastfeeding position. This is easiest for many mothers and babies. All you have to do is hold your baby cradled in your arms. Their head should be supported by your forearm and body should be turned to face yours.
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The Cross Cradle
This position is a slight variation on the cradle hold. Some people also call the cross cradle hold the transitional hold.
To achieve this hold, place your baby along your body opposite from the breast you’re using. Use your hand to support the breast and place the nipple in the proper place for a good latch. Your other arm supports baby behind the neck and shoulders. This hold means that the opposite arm from the breast that’s being used is supporting most of the baby’s weight.
This hold works particularly well for premature babies or babies that have latching problems because it gives the mom more control over helping the baby to stay latched.
The Football Hold — A Great Breastfeeding Position to Reduce Gas
Also called the clutch hold, the football hold is another helpful position. You need to hold your baby by your side with baby laying on their back and head at breast level. Support the back of baby’s head with your hand while they nurse.
This particular position is a favorite for those who have very large breasts or inverted nipples. It also works well for moms who have had a C-section, as it won’t place the baby on the incision. For babies with colic, this position works well because they tend to be in a more upright position while feeding, which results in less gas.
The Side Lying Position
The side lying position is difficult for some moms to get at first, but as you and baby both grow in your nursing relationship, this is going to be one of those positions that you use constantly. It’s a very simple position – you just lie on your side with your baby facing you. Baby snuggles up to the breast and nurses lying next to you.
This works well for moms that had a C-section, if sitting up is painful for them. It also works really well at night time, as it allows the mom to relax and stay comfortable while still nursing baby.
The Laid Back Position
This final position works particularly well for the baby-led nursing approach. Mom essentially lies back slightly while propped on a pillow. The baby lays on top of the mom, with head just above breast level in the center of the chest. Baby will begin to search for the breast to begin nursing, and mom gently supports baby’s head and shoulders while baby latches himself on.
This position works well if you’re willing to let baby do most of the work. It takes some time and some getting used to, but this position can work really well. This position will help you if you have a strong letdown reflex, as the reduced force of gravity will help stop the milk from coming out so quickly.
So, there you have it! Five helpful breastfeeding positions to get you and baby on your way.
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Rachel Brown is a mother of three and runs the site over at Pillow Picker. For helpful advice on choosing the best nursing pillow, visit her blog.