Breastfeeding Positions

Breast milk is very important in the health, growth and development of your baby. Finding the best position for breastfeeding plays an important role in how much milk baby gets for his efforts, prevents pain for mom and keeps baby from getting frustrated. If your baby is not positioned properly, she may not be get enough milk and stay hungry. Incorrect positioning can also cause mother’s nipples to crack or become sore. For a good feeding, mother should start by lifting her breast and putting it near baby’s mouth and wait for baby to open it’s mouth. Mom should then place the lower part of the areola into baby’s mouth and slowly let the baby take in as much of the breast as it can—if possible the areola along with the nipple should be inside baby’s mouth. Make sure that the baby’s lips have rolled outwards on the areola.

Mother should bring baby’s body as close her own body as possible, even the mouth and chin should be very close to the breast, but don’t cover up the nose so baby can breath. When the perfect position is achieved and baby is latched on, she can suck hard and drink milk until she is completely satiated.

Common Breastfeeding Positions

During the first 2 weeks try to pay special attention to positions and latch-on until you and baby get the hang of it. Good latch-on comes easily for some babies, others need a little help. There are various positions in which the mother can feed the baby, but the position should be such that is comfortable to both the baby and the mother. The following positions helps the mother to feed the baby without getting cracked or sore breasts and also helps the baby to feed to its total satisfaction. The first 6 weeks should be an adjustment period for you and baby, sometimes it’s easy to get a routine, sometimes it takes a little more work.

You need to be well supported and comfortable to you can hold your baby close to your breast without straining any muscles. Sitting up is usually more comfortable if you have good support for your arms, back and feet.

Cradle hold

Cradle hold for breastfeedingThis position is used by most mothers. In this position, mother sits with the baby on her lap with baby’s head on the fold of the elbow. Baby’s body is turned toward mother’s body so baby doesn’t have to turn its head too far to reach the mother’s breast. If mother is sitting in an armed chair, she can rest her elbow or arm on the chair arm for good support. If mom is sitting on a chair without arms, she can place a pillow under her arm to support her arm and baby’s head. Mom can also use pillows to support her back.

Cross-cradle hold

This hold is similar to the cradle hold except that baby’s head is held in mom’s hand rather than the crook of the elbow. This position is very helpful for mothers who are just starting to feed. It helps control baby’s head and also put the nipple correctly into baby’s mouth for good latch on. While feeding from your right breast, your right hand is used to hold baby’s head from below and the left hand is used to maneuver your breast and place your nipple into baby’s mouth. Then use the opposite hands for the left breast.

Football hold

Breastfeeding football holdThis is a very good position for mothers who are unable to place their baby on the abdomen, especially those who have had a cesarean birth. In this hold, baby is held with its legs under mother’s arm and the rest of the body supported by the arm with its face towards the breast, just like holding a football. This position is also favorable for mothers with chapped or sore nipples. Pillows should be used under baby in order to prevent mother from leaning forward.

Saddle hold

This is an interesting position to nurse a baby as baby sits on mom’s lap to feed. This is good for babies who are suffering from runny nose or blocked ears. This works best with babies who are a little bigger and are able to sit-up.

Lying down

Side lying hold for breastfeedingThis position is helpful for feeding baby while resting. It’s good for mothers who are weak or those who have had a cesarean birth. The baby and mother lie side-by-side with baby’s head next to the mother’s breast. Pillows can be used to support the mother’s back. The baby should be fed from both breasts and that can be easily done by slightly adjusting the position of mother. Extra care should be taken to make sure that the baby’s nose is not blocked and he is able to breathe.