When it comes to breastfeeding, most of us automatically picture a woman cradling her baby across her body to feed. Yes, this is the usual position but have you ever considered how other positions could benefit you and your baby? If you are struggling with a latch, aching from holding your little one too much in the same place, your baby has Colic and is griping with pain and so on, you may find a solution in my list of breastfeeding positions below.
Before you read on, I just want to say a big thank you to the fantastic real Mums who sent me their beautiful photos to help me clearly show how each position can be achieved and how it should look. I also want to mention that with the right support from midwives, health visitors, lactation consultants, friends and family you should be able to have a wonderful breastfeeding journey.
As I say, the cradle hole is the most commonly seen breastfeeding position. Your baby lays across your body on his side, with your arm supporting his head and neck. Make sure your baby is laying straight and not twisted and with his nose to your nipple. It is usually very comfortable for both you and your baby and can easily be done sitting down and even standing up. Smaller babies may need their head supported by your hand or a pillow placed under their body for extra support.
This position gives Louise the perfect view of her beautiful baby feeding
This is perfect for a newborn, premature baby or those with latching issues. It is your basic cradle hold but you simply switch your arms. So the opposite arm holds the baby whilst your other hand is free to cradle your breast, provide more support to the baby or juggle life with your other child/children!
The first time my premature baby latched on to feed. As you can see I am using one arm to support his body and the other hand to support his head and guide him.
This is usually the way a newborn will feed from you for the very first time (depending on the birth). If your baby is placed onto your body you may have seen him crawl up towards a breast and latch on instinctively. It can be a great way to feed your baby if you’ve had a c-section and are struggling to sit up or hold your baby. It also comes in very handy as your baby gets bigger and if you choose to breastfeed them into toddlerhood.
Natalie has found this to be her favourite position for feeding her 2-year-old
Rugby Ball Hold
This position is achieved by holding your baby under your arm and then wrapping their body around the side of yours. You will probably need a nursing pillow to provide comfort and support for them and as they get bigger you will probably find that a nursing pillow can also support their head sufficiently too. It is a very comfortable way to feed if you have larger breasts, if you’ve had a c-section, if you have latching problems and is perfect to use for twins. I personally used this a lot when William was suffering badly from Colic. Laying on his side across me seemed to cause him more discomfort when feeding from my left breast. He would pull off repeatedly, he wouldn’t latch properly, he would squirm in pain and he left my nipple sore and red raw. As soon as I placed him in the rugby ball hold, using the pillow for added comfort, he could feed so much happier and that became our go-to position until his Colic subsided.
Baby is comfortable, Mum is comfortable and Megan shows how one hand is enough support here
If you co-sleep this is the perfect way for both of you to rest and to feed with ease. You need to lie on your side facing your baby with them facing you, well, their face to your boob! They should easily be able to snuffle around to find your nipple and it is a perfect way to guide them on to latch correctly. Having had a c-section with my first baby I wish someone had shown me this position because it would have helped me during those first painful weeks.
Rebekah can happily feed her 8-month-old whilst co-sleeping
The upright hold breastfeeding position is where your baby is either held upright or straddles your thigh whilst sitting up. It is very convenient if you feed your baby past a year but you can still achieve this with a newborn providing you give them plenty of support. It is the perfect position for babies suffering from reflux as it helps to keep the milk down and ease some of their discomfort.
Kate demonstrates that a baby over 1 can be happily fed this way
Kate is a breastfeeding advocate and writes passionately about the topic over on her blog and most recently for Mothercare.
Dancer Hand Holding Position
This position is extremely beneficial if you have a baby with Down’s syndrome, a premature baby, a baby with a cleft palate, illness, disability or difficulties with perfecting a latch. Begin by cupping your breast from underneath using one of your hands– use whichever feels the most comfortable to you. Slide your thumb and index finger to the front to make a U shape and leave your three remaining fingers supporting your breast from underneath. Bring your baby in to rest his jaw on your fingers at the front of the breast, his chin should sit in the U shape you have created. This provides plenty of support, guidance to your nipple and a good view of how they are latching.
Notice how the fingers aid the latch and keep the baby in position
Tandem Feeding Position
And finally, if you have twins or are feeding a baby and an older sibling why not give tandem feeding a go? You may need a bit of a hand with positioning to begin with but once you get into the swing of it you will find it will save you a lot of time in the long run too.
Here Sara is feeding her newborn and toddler quite comfortably
Why not give some a go and see if you can find a more comfortable way of feeding?
If you need extra support please do check out my last breastfeeding article as I have linked some brilliant sites in there.
*Featured Image Credit Mica Bohannon Photography. You can find more of her work over on Instagram. Thank you to Mum Debbie for providing me with her photo.
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