Breastfeeding Positions

Breastfeeding PositionsThe loving embrace between you and your baby while nursing is one of the most cherished moments in new motherhood. And the way you hold your baby while breastfeeding goes beyond the complete and utter amazement, joy and affection you have for him. It also helps your baby find a comfortable and effective way to nurse.

Today we’re reviewing the most common breastfeeding positions that experts recommend to support your baby and ensure he can nurse properly to reap the phenomenal benefits of breastfeeding.

Before we dive into specific breastfeeding positions, let’s talk a little about the body positions you and your baby should maintain while nursing. Your baby should always be facing you so she will never have to turn her head to nurse and her body should be in alignment. That means her ears, shoulders and hips will all make a straight line. Always bring your baby to your breast rather than leaning into your baby. A breastfeeding pillow or any regular pillow can be useful in helping you position your baby properly for nursing.

Now that that’s squared away, let’s review breastfeeding positions:

Cradle

As the name suggests, your arm creates a cradle for your baby in this breastfeeding position. While your baby lays on your lap support her with the arm on the same side you are nursing and allow your baby’s head to rest in the crook of your arm opposite your elbow while your hand extends down his back to his bottom. Your other hand is free to support your breasts as needed. This position is often best for older slightly larger babies who need little assistance latching.

Cross-Cradle

Similar to cradle, cross-cradle or crossover hold simply switches up your arm positioning  Again with your baby lying across your lap, support his head with the opposite hand and arm from the side he is nursing. Cross-cradle allows you to easily guide your baby’s head to your breast with your supportive hand. That’s why it is often taught as a great breastfeeding position for newborns and small infants who need help latching.

Football

In this position you will tuck your baby under your arm as if he were a football. Your baby will lay to your side beneath your arms with her nose facing your nipple and her feet pointing upwards. Support your baby’s head with the same arm as the side he is nursing and use your hand to guide his mouth to your nipple. Sometimes called clutch, this position is a favorite of moms who gave birth via c-section because your baby will not lie across your tender incision area.

Vertical

Your baby may prefer to nurse sitting up due to acid reflux or bruising to the back of the head during childbirth. Sit your baby on your lap facing you with his legs straddling your legs. Gently cradle his jaw with your thumb and pointer finger and guide him to your nipple encouraging him to latch starting from underneath your breast. You may need to adjust your lap height by crossing your legs or placing a pillow on your lap depending on your baby’s length.

Side-Lying

A popular position for nighttime feedings, side-lying allows both you and baby to lounge during nursing. You will both lay on a firm, flat surface facing each other. Position your baby’s mouth at breast height and use your top arm to support your baby as necessary. You can further support your baby’s body by scooping your bottom arm beneath his body towards his back.

Dangle

Dangle feeding position may not be a regular in your toolbox, but it can be useful at certain times. In this position your baby will lay down on a firm, flat surface such as a blanket or your bed and you will hover over him on all fours “dangling” your breast over his mouth. You may find this useful when you have a plugged milk duct that you need to clear or simply to encourage gravity to assist your milk flow.

Sources: What to Expect, Today’s Parent, Parents Magazine and BabyCenter

 

Loving Moments believes moms should have the knowledge, resources and power to make the healthiest choices for their babies, starting with breastfeeding. In celebration of World Breastfeeding Week and National Breastfeeding Month in August, we are sharing Breastfeeding Basics, our educational blog series that we hope will empower you with information, encouragement and inspiration to meet your breastfeeding goals.