Comfortable Nursing Positions That Make Breastfeeding Easier

Comfortable Nursing Positions That Make Breastfeeding Easier

Even though nursing a baby is a natural process, that doesn't necessarily make it easy for every new mom. Getting into a nursing rhythm might take time, effort, plus a lot of trial and error. For many, having patience and sticking with it from the get-go may be helpful.

It’s best to breastfeed your baby within an hour after they are born. That’s because twenty to thirty minutes after birth is when a healthy newborn's desire to breastfeed reaches its peak, so it's best to have your baby close by to drink your colostrum, the nutrient-rich first milk you express after giving birth.

If this is your first child, the first week can be a whirlwind of excitement and anxiety. Most moms have a hard time with breastfeeding positions. First, it’s important to remember that there is no right and wrong position. The only correct breastfeeding position is one in which both mother and child are most at ease. 

Second, get the most out of the nurses and lactation consultants at the hospital by getting their advice on the ideal positions for you and your newborn to achieve a successful latch. 

The ideal position for a nursing infant is for them to have their mouth open, their chin lowered and contacting your breast, their tongue hanging down, and their lips on the areola. Breastfeeding success can be attained in a variety of positions; try out a few to see which you and your baby prefer. So, keep reading to find out about many of the most effective breastfeeding positions.

Laid-back Position

This super relaxed breastfeeding posture is popular with both mothers and infants because it is comfortable for the mother and seems natural to the infant. Whether you prefer the bed, the couch, or the recliner, recline back about 45 degrees, and position your baby so that they are face down on top of your breast with their arms gripping both sides of your breast.

Football or Clutch Hold

This is typically the first breastfeeding position that new mothers learn. The football hold consists of supporting your breast with one arm while holding your infant tucked under your arm in an off-center position, like a football. For example, if you're holding your baby on your right side, it will latch onto your right breast while your left hand provides support.

Side-Lying Technique

Lie on your side with your baby facing you while you nurse in bed using this technique. You can prop up baby's back with a nursing cushion or rolled-up towel. The breast is resting on the bed while the baby is nursing on it. 

Cross-Cradle Hold

Most mothers find this the most convenient nursing position, as the baby is stretched across their body and they can watch their progress as they latch. It's also the most discreet way to breastfeed in public and a popular way to feed a baby from a bottle.

Using the cross-cradle position entails bringing baby across your body, belly to tummy; if the baby is nursing on your left side, for example, you would hold the baby, cradling their neck with your right arm, and support the breast with your left hand. Many mothers find that nursing in this position is more convenient and comfortable when they utilize a breastfeeding pillow or maternity pillow

Cradle Hold 

This is a variation on the cross-cradle in which the baby is supported by the arm on the same side as the breast being used. It's a  common nursing position in the early days or weeks while mom and baby adjust to their new routine. A breastfeeding pillow, like the one used for cross-cradle, can assist you lift your infant and prop up your elbows.

Upright Breastfeeding

Baby should be seated upright with his or her back to you and straddling your knee for this breastfeeding position. It's also known as the koala or upright football hold. As in the football hold, you'll use the arm opposite the one on which baby is eating to support yourself while breastfeeding. 

Double Cradle Hold

With a breastfeeding pillow positioned under both infants, moms of multiples can nurse at the same time in this position. Your babies are nestled in the crook of your elbows, their little legs criss crossing in your lap.

Double Football Hold 

The babies' bodies are supported in this position by pillows placed along your sides and underneath your arms. Alternatively, you can nurse one infant in a cradle position while breastfeeding the other baby in the football hold. 

Breastfeeding for Large Breasts 

Nursing mothers who have very large breasts often find it most comfortable to lie on their side while breastfeeding, as this allows them to rest their breasts on the bed mattress and better observe their babies' latch. The football hold is another popular choice for breastfeeding mothers with ample bosoms. It can help you see the baby sucking, but be sure to hold your breast the whole time so you don't strain your baby's chin. 

Sore Nipples Breastfeeding Position

When a mother's nipples become uncomfortable from breastfeeding, lactation experts recommend switching positions to distribute the weight of the baby's mouth evenly. When nursing, many mothers experience a brief pinching sensation; if this pinch persists or if your nipples are still sore three weeks after giving birth, it may indicate a difficulty with the latch. The latch should be examined by a lactation consultant.

Breastfeeding Positions to Feed Babies with Reflux 

Babies who suffer from reflux benefit most from being held in an upright or semi-upright position, such as the laid-back position, because gravity aids in digestion. Try standing or walking while nursing if your infant is hesitant to latch due to reflux. In addition to calming infant, the motions also stimulate feeding. It’s important to hold your baby over your shoulder or in an upright infant carrier for 15 to 20 minutes after each feeding to prevent reflux. 

Breastfeeding Positions That Prevent Gas 

Multiple factors contribute to infant flatulence. Your personal eating habits may be to blame. If your infant has a food sensitivity, changing breastfeeding positions probably won't help soothe their upset stomach so it's important to watch what you eat as well.  When the infant takes in a lot of air during nursing, this can also contribute to babies being gassy. Breastfeeding in an upright or semi-upright position, such as the laid-back position, can alleviate this problem.

Final Thoughts

Breastfeeding takes time and effort, and  can be done in a variety of ways. It may take time to find the one that works best for you and your baby, but don't worry as many moms have experienced issues at any stage, even the beginning. It’s perfectly normal to switch from one position to another as you’re exploring the best ways to feed your baby. 

You could also use a breastfeeding nipple shield that covers both the nipple and the areola. If your infant is having difficulty latching, these soft silicon covers can greatly help!

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