Breastfeeding Positions SIMPLIFIED!
Okay mamas! So now you have this beautiful bundle of joy in your arms and they are hungry! What are the best breastfeeding positions for you? This is all personal preference depending on your situation but I am going to describe a couple of great options below for you to play around with!
1. Cross Cradle Position
This position is very common for first time breastfeeding moms. It is easy and you can support your back, arms, and baby all while feeling them against your skin(which stimulates milk production!). In this position you want to sit up straight and bring the baby to you. Don’t make it harder on yourself and start slouching over to get to baby. Use your supports! Some women prefer to use a nursing pillow, however, any supportive pillow will work for this.
You want to bring the baby across the front of your body so that their little tummy is pushed up against yours and their mouth is facing your breast. Hold them with their head in your hand and their body resting against your forearm so that they are in the “bend” of your arm. The trick to making this “cross cradle” is to hold the baby with the arm that is opposite of the breast you are nursing from. For example, if baby is nursing on the left breast, use your right arm to hold them and vice versa.
Left Side Nursing & Right Arm Supporting
2. Cradle Position
This is a position that most moms start to use after the first few weeks. Once you and baby start getting the hang of things you don’t really need to guide them or have as much control as you do in the cross cradle position. In this position you are going to lay your baby tummy to tummy with their face towards your breast.
The difference here is that you are going to cradle them in the arm that is on the same side you are nursing from. So…if you are nursing on the right side, you will use your right arm to cradle the baby. The back of their head should be supported by the bend of your arm as they lay against your forearm and your open palm can cradle their butt. Of course, that changes some as they grow, but for learning purposes we will talk about tiny babies 🙂
Personally this is my favorite position! This is what my daughter has loved from the very beginning and what we do most of the time. It allows you to cuddle your little one and nurse them so you don’t miss out on those sweet little milky eyes looking at you and their cute little smiles.
Right Side Nursing & Right Arm Supporting
3. Football Position
This probably has to be the position that I hear most people talking about when they are asked about positioning. Maybe because it has a funny name! However, the name does a great job at explaining this position! A lot of moms that have c-sections are taught to use this position because it keeps baby off of your stomach! And off that incision! This position is also good for mothers who have a very strong “let down” reflex as it helps baby control the flow of milk more easily.
Again, remember to use your supports! If you do not bring baby up to you, you will kill your back over time from slouching! Put a firm pillow underneath your arm or use a nursing pillow. Lay baby down beside you on the pillow. Once you are in position pick up baby and put the back of their head into your open palm. Their back should be resting on your forearm with their little booty towards your elbow. You then tuck baby’s feet under your arm. Their little feet should go around toward your back. Think of this like a quarter back clutching the football and running with it.
My Advice: This position can be very helpful when babies are having trouble latching sideways due to nipple or breast shape. Sometimes laying underneath and having your whole nipple pointed downward into their mouth allows them to get a better latch.
4. Side Lying position
Most commonly this position is used for night time feedings! However, this is another option for moms that have had c-sections or moms that had to have an episiotomy and/or tore during childbirth and hurt when they are sitting up.
This one is fairly simple! Lay down on your side facing your little one! Bring them close to you and offer them your nipple. Often times babies enjoy this position and will use their free hand to feel your breast and touch you.
My Advice: If you have larger breasts this position can be somewhat difficult and you may have to lean back some to keep one breast up so that the baby can breathe. I would not recommend this position at night if you are a heavy sleeper and have large breasts because it is an easy way for a newborn to suffocate.
5. Laid-Back Position
This is the position that you see in all of those beautiful “breast crawl” videos on YouTube! If you haven’t ever watched one, I urge you to go do it! It really is amazing! A lot of moms do this as soon as their little ones enter the world because you can fully see and touch their baby all over! So go ahead and cuddle away!
For this position you want to be semi-reclining, not lying flat. You also want to make sure that you are well supported. So get comfy and lay back like you normally would. Lay baby on your body tummy to tummy again really anywhere you would like! They are sort of going to do a face-plant into your breast. Gravity works with you in this position because your baby’s head is brought towards your breast instead of pulling away. This position is very customize-able so do whatever is comfortable for you! Just relax and get to know one another.
6. Upright Position
This position is also exactly what it sounds like! The baby is sitting more upright! In this position the baby’s head is going to be up above their butt, whereas in other positions the baby was more side-lying. You can do this many ways,perhaps your child is older and likes to sit up in your lap and nurse. You can even nurse in a baby carrier! If your little one prefers to be more upright there are a ton of ways you can nurse! Just find one that is comfortable for the two of you!
My daughter loves to be sitting up so she prefers to be more upright while nursing compared to laying down all the time.
My advice: This position can help for babies that have reflux as well as for babies whose mothers have strong let down or very full breasts. Think of it this way, if you have a strong let down and full breasts while your baby is below you, gravity helps the milk travel down faster. This milk can come out way too strong, like a fire-hose, and cause baby to have issues nursing. Allowing them to sit up can give the baby more control over the flow.
Head Above Butt!
One of the most beautiful things about breastfeeding is that each journey is unique and it is YOURS! It is something special that you share with each child. It really does create a bond that is incomparable to anything else!
**These pics are my daughter and I! She is not a tiny baby anymore so I got the best pictures I could while she wiggled around 🙂 I hope they help!**
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