Highly Effective Breastfeeding Positions for Newborns and Mothers
Breast milk is nature’s perfect food for your little one. From providing nutrition to your small munchkin to helping you lose pregnancy weight, it does a lot of work. It builds immunity in your baby and prevents many diseases, apart from being the baby’s only initial food for survival and growth. Breastfeeding also acts as a wonderful bonding experience between you and your child.
For some lucky moms, breastfeeding just comes naturally. For many others, it is a skill that needs to be learned. And, to nail it, you need time and practice. Your first attempt at breastfeeding may be difficult and laborious. With time, many of you along with your babies may have also devised your comfortable positions for breastfeeding. And maybe some of you are still employing the trial and error method and are yet to discover the perfect breastfeeding position. Feels relatable? We are here to guide you in this regard. Knowing about proper breastfeeding positions is necessary for you as a new mom because proper and correct positioning ensures your baby is latching well. It also helps to keep certain breastfeeding issues like nipple soreness at a distance.
Different Breastfeeding Positions
Have a look at the different breastfeeding positions. This may help you if you are still struggling to find a perfect breastfeeding position.
The classic position most of us imagine ourselves whenever we think of breastfeeding. In this tummy-to-mummy position, you sit upright with your baby on its side, its head and neck laying along your forearm, and its body against your stomach. 3 Even though it's a common posture, it's not always simple to accomplish with a newborn because it doesn't provide as much support as other positions. A pillow or cushion behind you, as well as a breastfeeding pillow across your lap, propped up by your baby or your arms, may provide greater support and reduce back and shoulder pain. If you're using a breastfeeding cushion, be sure it doesn't raise your infant too high; your breasts should be at their natural height. This helps to avoid strained latch and sore nipples.
2. Cross-Cradle Hold
This position resembles the cradle hold, but your arms are switched so that your baby's body rests on the opposite forearm. The goal is to support your baby's neck and shoulders so that it may tilt his head before latching. This is an excellent infant breastfeeding position, as well as one for petite babies and those who have difficulty latching. You have more control over your baby's positioning because it is fully supported on your opposite arm, and you can shape your breast with your free hand. Don't wrap your baby's head around its neck in the initial days since you might shove its chin towards its chest. As your nipple contacts the base of your baby's tongue rather than the palate, you may experience a shallow latch and aching nipples. This approach becomes a lot easier when your baby grows older, and you can lay your baby's head in your hand.
3. Laid-Back or Reclined Position
The laid-back nursing position, also called biological nurturing, is frequently the first option for new mothers. When your little bundle is placed on your chest or tummy just after birth, it will automatically find its way to one of your breasts and try to latch on - this is known as the 'breast crawl.' Skin-to-skin contact stimulates his natural feeding instincts, while gravity aids in latching on and keeping the baby in position.
However, this position can very well work well for babies of all ages and not just newborns. This position can also come in handy if your baby dislikes other nursing positions, or you have large boobs. Reclining softly instead of resting flat on your back, will be perhaps more pleasant. Try using cushions or pillows to keep you supported while allowing you to see your baby.
4. Side-Lying Position
If you've had a cesarean or stitches, side-lying can be more pleasant for night feeds and nursing in bed or on the sofa. 3 You and your baby should lie on your sides, tummy-to-tummy, adjacent to one other.
5. Rugby-Ball Hold
You sit with your kid resting upon your forearm in this posture This position is also referred to as the underarm or clutch. Its feet are tucked into the back of the chair, or whatever you're sitting on, and its body tucks alongside your side. This is another ideal early breastfeeding position since it gives you a lot of control and a good view of your baby's face while also supporting him properly. Being cuddled up close to your body will also make your newborn feel secure. This position may suit mothers who have had a c-section, twins, or a premature infant, as well as those with larger breasts.
6. Upright Breastfeeding Position or Koala Hold
As your baby feeds, your baby sits straddling your thigh or on your hip in the upright or koala hold, his spine and head upright. If you offer your little one enough support, you can utilize this hold with a newborn, and it's also a comfortable approach to feeding an older baby who can sit alone. For kids with reflux or ear infections (who prefer to be upright), the upright or koala hold is frequently the most pleasant breastfeeding position, and it can also work well with newborns who have a tongue tie or low muscular tone.
7. Dangle Feeding
Your baby should be resting on its back as you crouch over it on all fours and dangle your nipple in its mouth in this nursing posture. Some mothers report that doing this for brief periods helps if they have mastitis and don't want their breasts squished or handled; others suggest that gravity helps open plugged milk ducts, despite the lack of scientific evidence. You can ‘dangle feed’ while sitting, kneeling over your baby on a bed or sofa, or almost lying down with your arms raised. To avoid straining your back or shoulders, you may need to support yourself with cushions and pillows.
8. Dancer Hand Breastfeeding Position
Try this hold to support both your baby's head and your breast if your baby struggles to stay latched on or has low muscle tone - particularly if your child is a premature baby, or has a condition like Down's syndrome, or in case of any illness or disability. Cupping your breast with your hand below, fingers on one side and thumb on the other is a good place to start. Then, with your thumb and index finger forming a 'U' shape directly in front of the breast, move your hand forward. Continue to support the breast below with your remaining three fingers. As the baby feeds, rest your baby's jaw on your thumb and index finger, with his chin at the bottom of the 'U,' your thumb gently holding one of his cheeks, and your index finger gently holding the other.
This nursing position offers your baby plenty of support and you have a lot of control over its position teamed with an excellent view of your little one’s latch.
How Can You Improve Your Breastfeeding Position
With your thumb on top, well back from your areola, and your fingers underneath, support your breast. Also, keep your fingers well away from your baby's mouth. Breastfeeding in the clutch or football position, as well as the cradle position, is easier with this grip.
How to Hold Your Baby if You Choose to Bottle feed
Correct positioning is essential even while you are bottle feeding. Sit comfortably as you hold your baby close to you. Look into your baby’s eyes and try to talk to them while you bottle feed them. For bottle feeds, hold your baby in a semi-upright position. Provide support to its head to enable it to breathe and swallow comfortably. Gently touch the teat of the bottle to the lips of your baby and when just when it opens its little mouth, allow it to draw the teat inside. Give as much time as possible to your baby when it feeds. Don’t hurry. Also, never leave your baby alone while it is bottle feeding with a propped-up bottle because it may choke on the milk. And hold the bottle in a horizontal position to allow the steady flow of milk. This also prevents your baby from taking in air.
Our Tips For Breastfeeding
Here we have come up with a few tips that may help you with nursing your baby.
1. Set a Comfortable Atmosphere
Reserve one particular area or one perfect corner in your home for nursing your baby. It may very well be your room too. Build the mood. Make sure the atmosphere is cozy and warm. You can also keep a book or a magazine or just anything you like for long breastfeeding sessions to prevent boredom.
2. Get Extra Support
Try using pillows, nursing pillows, rolled blankets, etc. for extra support. This can help you in case you get muscle strain from holding the baby for prolonged periods. For instance, try putting a pillow underneath your elbow that supports the baby and also protects you from neck and shoulder pain.
3. Support Your Breast
Your breasts may end up covering much of your baby’s tiny face if they are large. Use your free hand to support the weight of your breast. This can make the position more comforting and pleasant, and also will keep your baby’s face and nose from being covered.
4. Pump After Breastfeeding
A mom can pump after each breastfeeding session to enhance and build up breast milk supply. This aids in the emptying of the breasts. Some mothers may also prefer to pump on one breast while nursing on the other to save time.
5. Have your water bottle next to you each time you are feeding
As your baby feeds, you will get dehydrated in no time. And your throat will be dry and quenched very fast. Keep a bottle of water handy and keep taking small sips now and then while your baby feeds.
Positions to Avoid While Nursing
Improper positioning may keep your baby from latching properly and may also hamper milk production. This can inflict further problems in the future. Have a look at the positions that you must avoid.
1. Hunching Over Your Little One: Many latching-on issues arise as a result of Mom hunching over the baby, trying to force the breast into her mouth. Maintain a straight back and bring your baby up to your breast.
2/ Baby Being at a Distance From Your Breast: If that's the case, he'll yank on your breast when you're feeding – a big 'ouch' moment for you and maybe disappointing for the baby too.
3. Baby’s body and Head Facing Different Directions: This is the last thing that you would want. It is difficult and uncomfortable.
Arm Yourself With The Right Breastfeeding Supplies
Anything that can make life easier and more pleasant for you while you breastfeed your baby is a welcome addition. Here are some items to think about purchasing:
- A well-fitting nursing bra can provide the perfect amount of support for your breasts while allowing you to feed your baby without totally undressing. Before your baby is born, you might want to stock up on nursing bras. Consider purchasing a size larger, as your breasts may expand after giving delivery.
- Breast pads can be useful if your breasts leak a little milk now and then. Plastic liners can irritate your nipples, so avoid them. If you don't want to buy pads, you can use a handkerchief or fold up a piece of absorbent material.
- To pump milk and store it for later, you'll need a breast pump, bottles, and breast milk storage bags.
- A nursing pillow may provide you with additional comfort.
- Breastfeeding on a rocking chair or glider can be more pleasant for you, and the rocking or gliding motion may also soothe your baby.
- A footstool can assist you in raising your legs and lap higher, bringing your infant closer to your breasts. A matching ottoman or built-in footrest may be included with a nursery glider purchase.
Be Prepared for a Public Breastfeeding Session
You may need to breastfeed your little one in public. There may be times when your little one gets annoyed and hungry in a public place and demands milk. It’s important you stay prepared for that. Here are our tips that can help you in this regard.
- Wear a loose top or a button-down shirt that allows you to readily access your breasts.
- When breastfeeding, you may want to cover yourself with a nursing cover, an enormous scarf, or a light blanket. You and your baby should do this at home to get used to it.
- You can breastfeed your baby while wearing it in a sling or soft baby carrier. This is not only practical, but it also keeps your infant near to you.
- Find a women's lounge or a dressing room in a department store where you can breastfeed in solitude.
Breastfeeding can be challenging. Like the aforementioned, it is a skill that is acquired with time and practice. And soon, it will be so easy that you will be multitasking in no time while feeding. Follow our suggestions and tips and you may be surprised at the outcome. It is all about providing the utmost comfort to you and your small angel. As long as the both of you are comfortable, you are good. Just stay relaxed, and avoid improper nursing positions.