Getting To Know Different Breastfeeding Positions

April 24, 2012

Every mom and baby has different needs and preferences, so it’s no surprise there are so many positions for breastfeeding. If you’re planning to breastfeed or looking for tips to make breastfeeding easier, read on for our recommended breastfeeding positions.

Cradle Hold

This position requires you to be sitting upright in a chair with a sturdy armrest or pillow to support your elbow. Hold your baby so that his/her head is cradled within your elbow. He/she should be positioned on her side, so his/her whole body is lying across your abdomen. Then, use your forearm to support his/her back and neck.

This is a very natural position, and is a great option for full-term babies who have developed some strength to support their own head. If you had a cesarean section, you may find this position uncomfortable until you are fully healed. Until then, you may consider one of the other positions below.

Cross-Over Hold

This position is very similar to the cradle hold, but you use your hand to support your baby’s head, instead of your elbow. Place your thumb and fingers behind your baby’s head to help guide her head to your breast, while holding her close to your body with your other arm.

This position is ideal for smaller babies who may have latching problems. It allows you to control the positioning of your baby’s head to encourage a proper latch.

Clutch or Football Hold

You guessed it! With this position you hold your baby like a football or purse under your arm. Your baby should be facing you with her nose at nipple level and her feet wrapped around your body. Resting your arm on a pillow will help you support your little one’s back and neck with your forearm. With this position, use a C-hold and guide your baby’s mouth to your breast. Be sure to do this gently to avoid your baby tensing up and becoming fussy.

This position is most comfortable for moms who had a cesarean section, and would like to avoid their baby resting on their abdomen. This can also be beneficial to moms of twins, because it allows both babies to be fed simultaneously.

Side-lying or Reclining Position

This position allows you to breastfeed while lying down. To begin, lie on your side with pillows supporting your back and hips. Have your baby lying next to you, facing you at nipple level. Use either hand, based on your comfort level, to support your baby’s head and guide her mouth to your breast. Feel free to use additional pillows to position you or your baby, so it’s easy and comfortable to feed.

This position is great for moms who are recovering from a cesarean section or illness, as it allows you to breastfeed from bed. Many moms also choose the side-lying position for late-night feedings.

What breastfeeding position made you and your baby most comfortable? Share in the comments below.

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