11 Breastfeeding Positions
23/05/2022 | Catarina Vilela - Mipmed
There is no right or wrong way to hold your baby and breastfeed and every mother and baby will find their preferred position. What's important is that you both feel comfortable.1,2 Knowing a few different breastfeeding positions and techniques can be helpful, because life often requires us to be versatile, especially as your baby grows and starts to come out more. You may need to try a few breastfeeding positions before you can figure out which one is best for you and your baby.
Whichever breastfeeding position you choose, remember:
- Before starting the breastfeeding session, gather everything you need, such as a drink, something to eat, your cell phone, the TV remote, a book or a magazine. And don't forget to go pee first. You may not have a chance to get up again anytime soon!
- Make sure your baby is comfortable. Regardless of their position, your baby should be stable and well supported, without twisting their head, neck or spine.
- Make sure you are also relaxed and comfortable. If necessary, use cushions, pillows or rolled towels to support your back and arms.
- Make sure your baby is latching on to the breast correctly. A good latch is vital for comfortable breastfeeding.
- If your baby struggles to latch on to the breast, or if breastfeeding is painful, seek support from a breastfeeding consultant or breastfeeding specialist. They will also show you how to support your baby to help you breastfeed more comfortably.
1: Reclined or reclined breastfeeding position
The recumbent breastfeeding position, also known as biological breastfeeding,1 is often the first one that mothers experience. If your baby is placed on your chest or belly as soon as he is born, if all is well, he will instinctively move towards one of your breasts and try to grab it. This is called "crawling to the breast". Skin-to-skin contact helps stimulate your feeding instincts, while gravity helps you latch on to the breast and hold it in place.
However, recumbent breastfeeding is not just for newborns. It can work well with babies of all ages. It can be especially helpful if your baby has to work hard to latch on to the breast in other positions, if he doesn't like to be touched on the head when breastfeeding, if your milk let down is too strong, or if your breasts are too big, as Isabel, mother of one, found out, UK. "The combination of my big breasts and a small 2.7kg baby made positioning difficult at first. It took me a few weeks to realize that there wasn't a position I 'should' be in. I ended up breastfeeding most of the lying down, with my baby balanced on top of me."
You will probably be more comfortable if you are slightly bent over rather than lying flat on your back. Use pillows or cushions to support yourself and watch your baby.
2: Packing position
This is the classic position most of us imagine when we think of breastfeeding. It is a position in which you are sitting upright, with your baby on your side, with your head and neck supported along your forearm and your body against your stomach, in a belly-to-tummy position. much appreciated, it's not always easy with a newborn because it doesn't give your baby as much support as other positions. A pillow or pillow behind you and a nursing pillow on your lap to rest your baby or your arms can give you more support and avoid strain on your back and shoulders. If using a nursing pillow, make sure your baby doesn't sit too high. Your breasts should remain at their natural resting height to avoid sore nipples and strain on the baby when latching onto the breast.
"I used the rocking position because it worked! I felt comfortable and enjoyed sitting there just looking at my baby," says Rachael, mother of two, Italy.
3: Cross pack position
This position looks the same as the rocking position, but your arms switch roles, so your baby's body is supported along the opposite forearm.3 The goal is to support your baby around the neck and shoulders, to allow them to lean the head before taking the breast. This is a great breastfeeding position for newborns and is also good for small babies and babies who have difficulty latching onto the breast. As your baby is fully supported on your opposite arm, you can better control their position and can use your free hand to shape your breast.
Julie, mother of two, UK, likes the flexibility of this position: "I normally use the cross-cradle position with my newborn. I have one hand free to take care of my oldest child at the same time."
At first, do not hold your baby around the head, as it may push his chin towards the chest. This can make you latch on to the breast superficially (as your nipple hits the base of your tongue instead of reaching your baby's palate) and cause sore nipples. As your baby grows, this technique gets easier and you can support your baby's head in your hand (as shown in this image).
4: Hold like a rugby ball
In this position (also known as under-arm or football position), you are sitting with your baby resting along your forearm. Your baby's body is snuggled next to you, with her feet facing the back of your chair or somewhere else she's sitting.3 This is another convenient position for breastfeeding at first, as it supports your baby well, giving You give yourself a lot of control and a good view of his face. Being snuggled against your body will also help your baby feel secure. Mothers who have had a cesarean section, have had twins or a premature baby, as well as those with larger breasts, may also enjoy this position.
"With my first daughter, I had very large K-size breasts, twice the size of her head," recalls Amy, mother of two, Australia. "I would put a rolled towel under each breast to help lift it, as they were very heavy, and I nursed it, holding it like a rugby ball, but more upright, so as not to be oppressed by its size. good because I had the scar from the cesarean section and I couldn't put it on my body."
5: Side lying position
Ideal for relaxed breastfeeding sessions at night, in bed or on the sofa, lying on your side can also be more comfortable than sitting if you've had a C-section or have stitches. another, belly-to-belly.
"I struggled to sit up in bed during many nightly feeding sessions, partly because I had a caesarean section and partly because of exhaustion," says Francesca, mother of one, UK. "I later discovered that I could breastfeed my baby lying on her side and relaxed at the same time."
"Maisie couldn't latch onto her breast other than in a side-lying position due to her tongue-tie. A lactation consultant showed me how to do it. She seemed to handle the force of my flow better and latch better. the breast in this position. As the mouth grew, it latched on to the breast much better in the normal way," says Sarah, mother of two, Australia.
6: Breastfeeding recumbent after a cesarean
If you have had a caesarean section and are unable to find a comfortable breastfeeding position,3 this may help. Reclining with your baby's body on your shoulder will allow you to breastfeed comfortably without any weight or pressure on your wound. Or you can also try lying on your side.
7: Breastfeeding in an upright or horseback position
In the upright or rider position, your baby sits as if riding a horse on your thigh or hip, with the spine and head upright while breastfeeding.4 You can use this position with a newborn if you support him or her too much good. It's also a comfortable way to breastfeed an older baby who can sit up without assistance. The upright or horse-back position is often the most comfortable breastfeeding position for babies suffering from reflux or ear infections (who often prefer to be upright) and can also work well with babies who are tongue-tied or have poor tone. muscle.
"When my baby was older, I often used the upright position because it was comfortable for both of us and I could still feel her body close to mine," says Peggy, mother of one, Switzerland. "She was also discreet when breastfeeding in public."
8: Breastfeed leaning over the baby
In this breastfeeding position your baby is lying on his back while you lean over him on all fours and rock your nipple in his mouth.4 Some mothers say that doing this for short periods of time helps if they have mastitis or another condition and don't want to. that the breasts are squeezed or touched; others claim that gravity helps unclog blocked milk ducts, although there is still no scientific evidence to support this claim. You can also breastfeed leaning over the baby while sitting up, kneeling over your baby on a bed or sofa, or almost lying down but supported in your arms. You may need to use pillows and cushions to support yourself so you don't put pressure on your back or shoulders.
"I used the bent over baby position a few times when I had blocked milk ducts and other ways to expel the lumps didn't work. It seemed to help. I think it was because gravity was on my side and because my baby's angle and position were different. so different from our normal breastfeeding sessions that she would drain her breast in another way," says Ellie, mother of two, UK.
Breastfeeding leaning over your baby is probably not a breastfeeding position you want to use regularly, but it can help if you need to vary it up a bit.
"I used the bent over baby position when my baby was struggling to latch on," says Lorna, mother of two, UK. "It wasn't the most comfortable way to breastfeed, but at the time I would have done anything to get him to latch on to the breast. It worked. And we're still breastfeeding after eight months!"
9: Breastfeeding in a baby carrier
It may take some practice, but breastfeeding your baby in a carrier can be comfortable when you're out and about, babysitting older children, or even doing light errands.
It's also handy if your baby doesn't like to be held down, or if your baby feeds frequently, as Lindsay, mother of two, USA found out: "With my two babies, I often used a front baby carrier. I tied a sarong around her neck and put it over the baby carrier so that it acted as a cover.
This method usually works best if your baby is experienced at breastfeeding and can keep his head up on his own. You can breastfeed in all types of slings, including stretchy covers or coats, underwired slings and front baby carriers. Whichever you choose, make sure you can always see your baby's face and that their chin isn't pressed against their chest.
10: Hold both babies like rugby balls
Holding both babies like rugby balls (also known as the double football position) is a great breastfeeding position for twins as you can breastfeed them at the same time while keeping your hands relatively free. special design for twins, especially in the early days. This gives extra support to get both babies in the right position and also minimizes the pressure on your belly if you had a caesarean section. You will also notice that, with your hands freer, you can take care of one of the babies without disturbing the other one to nurse.
"When my twins were born they were very tiny and needed to be fed every two hours, day and night. I quickly realized that to be able to do anything other than breastfeed, I had to breastfeed them at the same time," says Emma, mom of two children, UK. "Used the position of holding them like rugby balls, with a nursing pillow."
Other breastfeeding positions you can try with twins include: two rocking positions crossed over each other; holding one twin like a rugby ball and having the other in a rocking position; the double recumbent breastfeeding position and the double upright breastfeeding position.
11: Breastfeeding position with dancer's hand
If your baby struggles to hold on to the breast, or has poor muscle tone – perhaps because he is premature, has a condition like Down syndrome, or an illness or disability – try this position to support his head so much. like your breast.4 Start by holding your breast from below with your hand, with your fingers on one side and your thumb on the other. Then move your hand forward in a "U" shape with your thumb and forefinger, just in front of the breast. The other three fingers should continue to support the breast from below. Rest your baby's jaw on your thumb and forefinger as he sucks, with his chin on the underside of the "U" and with your thumb cupping one cheek and your forefinger gently cupping the other. This position allows you to give your baby a lot of support and you will be able to control its position and see how well it grips the breast.
If you can, breastfeed! A Mipmed advice!
Catarina Vilela - Nurse