Mothers who already experienced the meaning of breastfeeding are aware that the onset of this natural process sometimes can be rather difficult. And this isn`t because the baby wouldn`t know what he needs to do when he`s near the breast, but because a new mother gets contradictory info from many different places, and the uncertainty she gets after she gives birth might prevent her from attaching her baby to her breast the proper way and find the most optimal breastfeeding position.
The position that she chooses to breastfeed her child represents an important factor in the success of the whole process. No matter what position mothers choose, it`s important for them to feel comfortable during the entire meal and for the baby to have a good grabbing of the nipple.
Help the infant to find the right position so he can be able to suck efficiently and comfortably by controlling his head with one hand and pushing the nipple and areola in his mouth with the other. If you have large breasts, a nursing bra would be of big help to keep your breasts lifted and to better hold your baby.
Table of Contents
What Is the Best Position for Breastfeeding?
Cradle Hold Position
The cradle hold position is a position that is easy to learn and which a lot of mothers use.
It`s recommended to stay on a chair with backrest and arms, or on a comfortable armchair keeping your legs lifted on a stool. Keep your infant slightly turned on one side with his head supported by the bend of your arm and forearm. With one hand you can support his little butt or legs, and with the other you can support your breast.
Cross-Over Hold Position
You`ll need a comfortable chair for this position, or you can simply stay in bed! Place your baby in your lap, maybe under a pillow so you can have him closer to the breast. This particular position resembles the previous position, the only difference being that you`ll have to support your baby with the other hand of the breast you are breastfeeding with. So, if you put your baby at your left breast, then you should hold his body with your right hand. His head will be in your palm to help him better to grab your nipple. Use your other hand to position your breast as close as possible to the little one`s mouth. Pull your baby towards you, but keep in mind to not bend forward or to keep your back straight.
Benefits brought by this position:
- Great for your first breastfeeding sessions.
- Great for babies who aren`t able to grab the nipple too well.
- A good position for premature or small babies.
- If your breasts are large.
- This position allows you to see the baby how he grabs the nipple and offers you more control.
- If you have twins.
Football Hold Position
This position`s name comes from the way American football players hold the ball under their arm. You need to keep your baby sideways so that the baby`s body will pass under your arm and will rest in your hip, while his head stays near your breast. This particular position is a bit more difficult to use, but will offer a good attachment of your baby to your breast. It`s very useful to delivered their baby through C-section, mothers who confront themselves with a strong milk jet or mothers with flat nipples. At the very same time, it can save you in various situations when the baby is going through stages in which he doesn`t want to be fed in any other position.
Don`t discourage yourself if at the beginning you`ll find it hard to place your baby at your breast. You`ll need a bit of patience and practice during the first few days.
Lying Down Position
Immediately after childbirth you could breastfeed your baby lying down. This position will also allow you to rest. Use some pillows to support your head and arm so that you feel comfortable. Or you can keep your arm under your head. Lie down on one side and place your newborn with his face towards you along your body and with his mouth at the level of your nipple.
This position is generally used by mothers during the night, especially by those who sleep together with their baby.
How Long Do You Keep a Baby Upright after Feeding?
When feeding session is over, always burp the baby. For his first 6 months, try keeping the baby in an upright position for 10 – 15 minutes (even longer if he has GERD or spits up) after feeding time to try and prevent the milk from returning. However, don`t concern yourself if the baby spits at times. Most likely, it will be more unpleasant for you than for him.
Signs of a Good Grabbing during Breastfeeding Are:
- The infant has his face towards the breast, being able to touch it with his mouth and nose;
- The newborn opens his mouth just as he would be yawning with his tongue pushed forward and down just before catching the breast;
- Drag the nipple towards the baby`s mouth together with a big part of the areola;
- His lips are stretched toward the front;
- His jaw is moving rhythmically while he`s sucking with fast and rhythmical movements.
Can You Breastfeed if Baby Has Reflux?
Gastroesophageal reflux represents the return of the stomach`s contents in the esophagus. Breastfeeding can continue if your baby experiences GERD. There`s a lot of research done on the way babies with reflux are fed. Still, at night, this type of babies seems to have a less severe reflux. – Read this!
How Should You Hold your Breast when Breastfeeding?
- Support the breast in a “U” shape hold.
- Compress the breast in the direction as the mouth of the baby opens.
- Place the fingers next to the nipple, behind the border of your thumb and the areola.
- Push the thumb into the breast, so your nipple can point outward.
What Breastfeeding Positions to Avoid?
If the baby isn`t positioned the right way, your breast may not be stimulated enough to produce milk, and your baby may not be getting sufficient breast milk. And that may cause even more issues along the way. Here are some positions that you may want to avoid:
- The body of the baby is too far away from your breast. If this is so, the baby will pull the nipple while feeding; therefore, he may not be satisfied and you may experience pain.
- You are hunched over the baby. Lots of latching troubles happen because the mother is hunched over the baby, attempting to shove her breast into his mouth. Instead, bring the baby towards your breast and keep your back as straight as possible.
- The body and head of the baby are in opposite directions. You won`t want for the head of your baby to be faced in one direction, while his body in a different one.
Tips Regardless the Position
- Look for a place where you can feel comfortable when you want to breastfeed your little one.
- Take a few pillows with you, if you want to place them around you and feel comfortable.
- You always bring the baby towards you (either with the help of the pillows or by position). You don`t bend over your baby.
- If the temperature is right, you can only keep the baby in your diaper when breastfeeding him. Direct skin contact, especially during the first breastfeeding sessions, will stimulate him and make him pay attention when he`s fed.
- Keep the baby close to you. Pay attention to his back, neck and head to be well supported.
- For the beginning, try every breastfeeding positions several times to find the best one for you or your baby.