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Comfortable breastfeeding positions for new moms
Breastfeeding, even though among the most normal actions on the planet, requires practice. It needs patience and coordination to find out how exactly to hold and support your infant in a comfy posture.
Yet finding breastfeeding positions that work for you and your infant is well worth the effort. After all, the two of you will spend hours breastfeeding every day.
Here are some time-tested positions to try, plus tips to make nursing go smoothly. Lets get started:
For a good comfortable breastfeed position, mother must be in comfortable position at first. You can make use of pillows to support your back, under your arm, under your laps and for neck support etc.
Do not lean forward, as breastfeeding will keep you in same position for a while, keep your back straight. If you are feeding while sitting, make sure you have a firm support for your back; a pillow can be used in between your back and the firm support for comfort.
Pull baby towards you. Support baby’s neck, shoulders and back properly and firmly specially the newborn. Baby should be supported throughout her head, neck and shoulders. Make sure her head and neck are in alignment. Also confirm baby has equal muscle movement on both sides of her body. When you turn baby towards you make sure her whole body facing towards you and not just neck. Baby’s tummy must be touching your body.
Gently press baby’s body (baby’s tummy) on your body. Securely hold her head. (This is must for babies below 3 months as they cannot hold their head up)
Know more about proper latch on technique here basics of breastfeeding
Below are main, comfortable, safe breastfeeding positions.
is most common position, as you can take this position on a chair, on bed, inside car etc.
Hold your baby with her head on your forearm (same side as from which you are going to feed) and her whole body facing your body.
Depending on size of your baby either her head may be cradled in the bend of your elbow or little down lower on the your forearm.
Hold your baby at your breast-level and do not lean down to reach baby. Pull baby towards you, to relieve your arm take a feeding pillow on your laps. For new born to 2-3 months old baby you will need thicker pillow as baby is small. You can use a thin pillow below feeding pillow or below your laps to raise baby up to breast level. Rest your legs comfortably.
Cross Cradle hold
Same as cradle hold with the difference of- arm your holding baby. In this position you hold baby in the arm opposite of the side your are feeding (see the picture). In this position you can hold your breast to give baby better latching and also you can hold baby’s head in your hand easily and comfortably. This position is very good for newborns.
Football or clutch hold
Hold your baby at breast level on the arm of the same side you are going to feed. Hold baby’s head with your hand and wrap her body around your side and your back. This is helpful for twin babies (you can feed both babies at same time).
Side lying position
Lie on your side with your baby also lying down parallel to your body. Make sure baby’s neck and back are in alignment. Baby’s whole body should touch your body.
This is helpful for feeding at night. Also during day time feed in this position whenever possible so you can take rest while feeding. (Don’t forget to burp after baby is full as in this position mothers tend to sleep and forget burping baby. Also if your baby has teeth, make sure you clean them after each feeding with a wet clean cotton cloth.)
This is a little challenging position with newborns due to baby having less control of their body. You need to make sure baby is in safe position and is not unsafely pressed by your body.
Try this position several times to find if you and baby are comfortable with this position. Then for further comfort and rest during night, you can try this method of feeding from both breasts without changing the sides :
Lactation Yoga Kellymom
Baby sitting position (Upright breastfeeding)
Once baby can sit on her own, you can try this position to feeding while seating or even standing if you can securely support baby’s body and head.
This is helpful during travel when you hold baby in carrier like in kangaroo bag. If you have forceful milk ejection then this position is very helpful else try to hold your breast in u or c hold to make sure milk is effectively and completely fed to baby. Ensure baby’s head is well supported by holding in your one hand securely.
Laid Back feeding
Comfortably recline on a chair or sit in a reclining chair or lie on a bed in reclining position with the help of a couple of pillows. Now securely hold baby over your body. Allow gravity to help with the latch.
Make sure baby’s nose is not getting pressed against your breast. This position though looks like for grown up babies, is used for newborns also.
In this position you encourage baby to led the latching.
This position is also helpful if you have forceful milk ejection. But if not forceful ejection then try to hold your breast in u or c hold to make sure milk is effectively and completely fed to baby.
Supporting breast while feeding
Why to hold breast?: During feeding, breasts become heavier and larger. If you don’t hold breast, baby cannot have the milk easily which is in lower part of your breast and weight of breast is rest on baby’s chin which is not comfortable to baby.
hold your breast making C-shape of your hand. So your thumb is on top of breast and the fingers underneath. Make sure your thumb and fingers are at least 2 inches behind the nipple and areola (the darker skin around the nipple). C-hold is helpful in the cradle, clutch or football position.
hold your breast making U-shape of your hand so thumb on one side of breast and rest of fingers on other side of breast with palm underneath. Rest your elbow on pillow or on some support for comfort. U-hold is helpful in the cradle and cross-cradle positions.
Watch this video for better understanding
Learning breastfeeding positions is most important for breastfeeding success. Its not at all hard if you let it baby lead it naturally. You will be amazed seeing how well your baby can latch on and suck on at first feed itself. Babies come in this world with a proper training before birth!!