Breastfeeding is a special and one of the most unique periods in life. Due to the fact that almost everything regarding breastfeeding is personal and directly related to yours and your baby’s emotions, there is no rule book about it. Sure, there are pieces of advice, but in the end, you should always act according to your feeling. In that sense, when you are breastfeeding, you should explore different options and see which one suits you and your newborn best. After all, the two key things to focus on are: managing to feed your baby, and finding the most comfortable position to do that.
The following article aims at showing you 7 different ideas of breastfeeding positions which might help you with finding the perfect one!
1. Cradle hold
This position is one of the most common ones. It is usually presented on the majority of posters, so it has become a sort of a symbol of breastfeeding. What you have to do is sit straight and lay your newborn’s head along your forearm. His/her stomach should be against your stomach. Even though this position is very common, it is not always the best solution, especially when you are breastfeeding an infant. Sometimes it will require more support in the shape of a pillow. You can put it behind your back or you can use breastfeeding pillow when it comes to the support of the baby.
This position requires you and your newborn lying down on your sides, belly to belly. It is a very comfortable and relax way do feeding your baby, and it is especially practical if you have stitches or if you have had a cesarean. Also, you can do it in bed or on the sofa, so it doesn’t necessarily require being in a bedroom while feeding. Nevertheless, if you are breastfeeding it public, it might be quite tricky to pull this position off.
3. Koala hold
While we are at breastfeeding in public, this position is perfect for practicing it for example in a park, or any other public place. The spine of the baby is upright, and he/she is sitting on your thigh. It is particularly practical if your baby likes to sit upright more, but it can be done even with a newborn if you provide him/her with additional support. Many mothers around the world define this position as one of the easiest to pull off, as long as your baby enjoys it.
4. Dancer’s hand
It can happen that your baby doesn’t like lying or for some reason it cannot stay latched on (due to being born prematurely, or different conditions such as Down’s syndrome), this position will probably be the most useful one. It revolves around holding the baby’s head and your breast. When you hold your breast, your fingers should be on one side and thumb on the other. The thumb and the index finger should form a U shape in front of your breast. Your baby’s jaw should be placed on this U which you have formed with your fingers and his/her chin at the bottom of the U. Your finger should hold one of his/her cheeks, and your thumb the other. In this way, you will provide your baby with all the necessary support and have control over the whole process of feeding.
This position is particularly useful after cesarean because you don’t want to have pressure on your wound. Therefore, what you have to do is lie on your back, and lay your baby across your shoulder. In this way you will be relaxed and, more importantly, you will be able to lie without pressure after the C section.
6. Cross-cradle hold
Very similar to the cradle hold, you hold your baby on your forearms, but in the opposite direction. In other words, the body of the newborn is held alongside your opposite forearm. This position is very practical for the infants because you can provide them with just enough support and have control over the feeding. Furthermore, if your baby has latching difficulties, it will be helpful to do the feeding in this position. Additionally, you will have a free hand for taking care of something else.
7. Using a sling
Using a sling in order to breastfeed can be very useful, even though it requires a bit of practice. While doing this you can take care of other children, slightly do chores, or just walk around. It will probably work better if your baby is experienced in breastfeeding. The most important thing to do while using a sling is to make sure that you see your baby’s face and to make sure that his/her chin is not pressed against your chest.
To sum up, there is not an ideal and universal position for breastfeeding your baby. There are many factors that will influence your choice of position. For example, you should think about what suits your baby the best, whether you had a C section, or if you enjoy having a free hand to do something else during the feeding. On top of that, you should see if your baby needs support or not, and decide about the position in accordance with that. Therefore, don’t worry about strictly following the ‘rule book’, because there really isn’t one. What you should do is listen to your own body and your baby and you will find the perfect and the most comfortable position! Hopefully, the above-mentioned ideas will help you try out different things and explore the whole process of breastfeeding further until you discover your perfect position!