There are no perfect breastfeeding positions or ways to hold a baby and feed him. The best position is, where the mum and the baby are comfortable while breastfeeding.
But knowing the different breastfeeding positions and techniques helps your baby to fully empty your breasts and prevent you from breastfeeding pain and discomfort.
These different breastfeeding positions and breastfeeding tips always helpful. Because on-going life teaches us to be versatile.
Especially when your baby grows and you have to start to go out for work or to attend the events. These techniques help you better.
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Tips to remember before trying breastfeeding positions:-
- Gather all the necessary things you need like water bottles, breastfeeding snacks, your mobile, TV remote, your favorite magazine.
- The most important thing don’t forget to pee before breastfeeding because you may not get time once the baby starts to latch.
- What position you’re in makes sure that your baby also comfy, stable, and fully supported. Take good care of his head, neck and spine should not be twisted.
- Use the breastfeeding pillows or rolled towels to make yourself comfortable. These breastfeeding must-haves help a new mom incredibly.
- If your baby has any latching problems or breastfeeding makes your nipple sore then immediately seek support from your lactation consultant.
Discover all 11 Breastfeeding Positions and find out what best works for you and your baby
1. Laid-Back or reclined breastfeeding position
Laid-back breastfeeding taps your baby’s natural reflexes that are called “biological nurturing” and this one is a good breastfeeding position for new moms.
Babies born with the natural ability to move towards their food source (your breasts).
After birth when the baby is placed on your chest or tummy, he’ll instinctively open his mouth for the nipples and try to latch on. This is known as ‘breast crawl’.
Skin-to-skin touch helps the baby to stimulate his feeding instincts and gravity helps him to feed well and keep him on the place.
Laid-back or reclined position is favorable for all the babies of any age. This nursing position is super helpful if your baby struggles with other positions because some babies don’t like their heads to be touched while feeding.
The other benefits of this position-If you have a fast letdown, or if you have bigger breasts, as mum-of-one Isabel, UK, discovered: “The combination of my big boobs and a small 2.7 kg (6 lb) baby made positioning tricky at first. It took me a few weeks to realize there was no position I ‘should’ be in. In the end, I mainly breastfed lying down with my baby balanced on top of me.”
You feel more comfortable if you recline rather than laying on your back. Use a few cushions and pillows for good support that enable you can see your baby.
2. Cradle Hold breastfeeding positions
In ultimate newborn breastfeeding positions, this one is the best!. Almost all moms love to feed their babies in this position.
Just sit upright and hold the baby on his side, his head and neck are supported with your forearm and his rest body touches your tummy.
Although it is a popular breastfeeding position, not so easy with the newborn baby. This position is not favorable for the newborn as they are so tiny and your arm does not support the baby perfectly.
But if you want to give a try to this position then place a pillow or cushion your backside and a breastfeeding pillow onto your lap for the baby.
Avoid any type of strain or pain of back and shoulders. If you’re using a baby pillow make sure your baby is not so high. Keep your breasts in a natural resting height. This avoids sore nipples and a difficult latch.
“I used the cradle hold because it worked! It felt comfortable and I liked sitting there just looking at my baby,” says Rachael, mum of two, Italy.
3. Cross-cradle hold
This breastfeeding position is the same as the cradle hold only your arms switch and your baby’s body lies to your opposite forearm.
The key is to support your baby’s neck and shoulder and help him for a proper latch.
The Cross-hold position is the best for the small babies and babies who have latching problems.
As this position gives full support with your opposite arm and you have full control of how the baby is positioning? The resting hand is used to shape the breast while breastfeeding.
Julie, the mum of two, UK, likes the flexibility of this position: “I normally do the cross-cradle with my newborn. It gives me a hand free to tend to my toddler at the same time.”
After birth in the first days of breastfeeding, try not to hold baby around his head.
This may push his chin towards his chest and the result is shallow latch (because the nipple hits baby’s tongue rather than baby’s palate) and causes sore nipples for you.
Once your baby gets bigger this position becomes much easier, you rest your baby’s head in your hand as shown in the gallery above.
You can read about breastfeeding mistakes and how to fix these here.
4. Rugby Ball Hold-Best Breastfeeding Positions
As the name sounds, it is also known as an underarm or clutch position. This position is useful for C-section moms that keep your baby weight away from the incision.
This is great for the moms with flat or inverted nipples and also beneficial for the babies who are struggling with poor latch.
However, it provides a good view of the baby’s position on the breast and your control of the baby’s body
Rugby hold is best for the moms of twins to feed at once with the help of a double rugby position.
If your baby is enough healthy than you need extra pillows behind your back to get you forward and provide sufficient space for the baby.
The moms with larger breasts also like this position. “With my first daughter I had very large K-size breasts that were double the size of her head,” remembers Amy, mum of two, Australia. “I placed a rolled-up towel underneath each breast to help lift them up as they were so heavy, and fed her in a rugby ball hold, but more upright so she wasn’t overwhelmed by their size. This position was also good as I had a c-section wound and couldn’t rest her across my body.”
5. The side-lying position
Of course, you’re feeling tired after the birth process and now you’re in the postpartum phase. It’s all-natural that your body wants some rest and sleep. The side-lying position is more comfortable than sitting and the best for night feed and for cesarean moms.
You and your baby side-lie, face to face, tummy to tummy, and baby’s mouth towards your breast. Use your hand to give support to the baby
“I struggled to sit up in bed during countless night feeds, partly due to having had a c-section, partly due to exhaustion,” says Francesca, mum of one, UK. “Then I discovered I could feed my baby lying on my side and relax at the same time.”
“Maisie couldn’t attach any other way than the side-lying position due to her tongue-tie. A lactation consultant showed me how to do it. It seemed like she could handle the strength of my flow and hold on better in this position. When her mouth grew bigger she became much better at attaching in a regular way,” says Sarah, mum of two, Australia.
6. Laid-back breastfeeding positions after c-section
If you had a C-section delivery and you’re unable to feed your baby in a normal breastfeeding position. The laid-back position may help you to feed your baby comfortably.
You have to recline your baby across your shoulder as shown in the graphic above and let your baby feed without any weight pressure onto you. You can try side-lying breastfeeding positions also. I described above.
7. Koala hold or upright hold breastfeeding
The koala hold is a great breastfeeding positioning that makes your baby’s latch easy. This position helps the baby who has poor latch ability. This is one of the best breastfeeding positions that provide your baby with more support while nursing and encourages him to find the nipple and develop good latching skills.
This one is the best breastfeeding position that is greatly helpful to tongue-tie kids. Koala’s position is often comfortable for the baby who suffers from reflux.
These ultimate newborn breastfeeding positions are always helpful to new moms to feed the babies comfortably.
“When my baby was older I often used the upright hold because it was comfortable for both of us and I could still feel her body close to mine,” says Peggy, mum of one, Switzerland. “It was also discreet when we were feeding in public.”
8. Dangle Feeding
If you’re suffering from clogged milk duct or milk blister, then this breastfeeding position is for you only.
Just lay your baby on his back and lean over him on your fours. Now try to dangle your nipple in the baby’s mouth.
Some moms experience good while dangle breastfeeding because these moms don’t want to touch or squash their breasts. As these moms suffer from mastities or engorgement.
Hence dangle position is one of a good breastfeeding position if you suffer from clogged milk ducts. In this position, gravity helps the breast milk flow to the nipples hence you can get rid of plugged milk ducts or milk blisters.
“I used the dangle feeding position a few times when I had blocked ducts and other methods of easing out the lumps in my breasts hadn’t worked. It seemed to help – I think because gravity was in my favor, and because the angle and position of my baby were so different to our normal breastfeeds that she drained my breast differently,” says Ellie, mum of two, UK.
The dangle position is not included in breastfeeding positions but can be used in odd circumstances like mastitis, engorgement, and clogged milk ducts.
“I used a dangle feeding position when my baby was struggling to latch,” says Lorna, mum of two, UK. “It wasn’t the most comfortable way to breastfeed, but at the time I’d do absolutely anything to get him to latch. It worked – and we’re still breastfeeding eight months on!”
9. Positions for breastfeeding twins
Correct breastfeeding positions for twins at a time can be a bit tricky. Already we read about ruby hold position is the best for a mom of twins.
This position allows you to keep an eye on the baby’s latch. Because both babies are well supported with pillows and your hands. No other position is as good as a double rugby ball hold for twins.
You probably need a specially designed nursing pillow for the twins that provided minimum weight on your cesarean tummy.
“When my twins were born they were tiny and needed feeding every two hours, day and night. I soon realized for me to achieve anything other than feeding, I needed to tandem feed,” says Emma, mum of two, UK. “I used the double rugby ball hold with a breastfeeding cushion.”
Other best breastfeeding positions for you and your twins’ babies are:
- Two cradles
- crossed on one another-one in the position of rugby hold and other in a cradle hold
- Double laid-back breastfeeding position
- or double upright breastfeeding position
10. Nursing in a baby sling
This one is a great breastfeeding position when you’re out and looking at your older kids or doing light chores.
But you need a little practice while nursing in a sling. This one is a good breastfeeding positions if your little one needs frequent feeding, like Lindsay, mum of two, US, found: “I used a front carrier often with both my babies. When we were out I tied a sarong around my neck and draped it over the carrier so it worked as a cover. They would nurse like this until they fell asleep.”
Usually, this position works well when your kid is enough old that he can hold his head himself. If you practice feeding via sling then you can feed easily with stretchy wraps, ring slings, and front carriers.
Whatever you want you to choose but make sure you can see your baby’s face and his chin not pressed against his chest.
11. Dancer’s hand breastfeeding position
This hold allows you to position your baby close to your breasts even when your baby fails to keep a steady latch. How? In this position, you cup not only your breasts but your baby’s head, too together in one hand.
First, cup your breasts with the last three fingers firmly. Then, extend your thumb and forefinger to support your baby’s cheeks gently. Your thumb & forefinger will make a U shape that will allow your baby to rest their head when they feed.
Inappropriate positions for breastfeeding
Inappropriate positions are those that may harm your baby while feeding! The key is to keep the focus on the baby’s breathing while feeding.
The other thing you keep in mind, the correct breastfeeding position makes nursing comfortable for both of you. If your baby is gassy than normal or unable to co-operate with milk flow (with the letdown reflex) than upright breastfeeding is work better.
If you’re on medication or eating foods that are allergic to baby and may upset baby’s tummy. Are you facing these problems? Speak with your lactation or pediatrician. They will provide you a list to avoid certain foods and medicine.
Today there are unlimited breastfeeding tools and gadgets available for you both but you invest only two important things one is a nursing pillow and second is a baby sling.
Breastfeeding is the best way to provide your baby with all nutrition to grow well. On-demand feeding helps your uterus return to its normal position.