There is no right or wrong way to hold and feed your baby. Whichever breastfeeding positions you choose from, just keep in make a note of the following things:
- Make sure your baby is comfortable,stable and supported. His head, neck and spine should not be twisted.
- Ensure you are relaxed and comfortable. If required, use cushions, pillows and rolled towels to support your back or arms.
- Ascertain your baby is latching correctly. A good latch is vital for comfortable feeding.
Here are some breastfeeding positions that will help you to choose the best one for you and your baby.
The Cross-Cradle Hold
If you are a new mom and this is your first-time breastfeeding, the cross-cradle hold might be the best breastfeeding position for you and your newborn. First, sit down in a comfortable chair that has armrests. Hold your baby directly in front of you with their tummy touching yours. Their body should be cradled in the crook of your arm, facing the opposite breast you’re going to nurse from – use your right arm for your left breast and vice versa. Support your little one’s head with an open palm and use your other hand to support your breast in a U-shape hold. Without leaning or bending forward, gently guide your baby’s mouth to latch on to your breast. The cross-cradle hold is one of the best breastfeeding techniques for newborn babies, particularly if your baby struggles to latch on to your breast correctly.
The Cradle Hold
This breastfeeding position is similar to the previous one, except here, you will support your baby with the arm on the same side as your nursing breast. This position requires you to sit up straight in a comfortable chair with armrests. Cradle your baby such that their head is held in your while facing your breast. Your baby’s head must be in line with the rest of his or her body and not turned to the side. This is important as not only can it cause your baby discomfort, it will even result in them not latching on to your breast correctly. Make things easier for yourself and your little one by laying a pillow across your lap to provide some extra support.
The Football Hold
The football hold, also sometimes known as the clutch hold/ underarm is one of the best breastfeeding positions for women.This technique is a much more comfortable position to nurse your baby with as it takes your baby’s weight off your stomach. Begin by holding your baby next to you at your waist level. Bend your elbow, place your baby’s head in your open palm. Your little one’s back will rest on your forearm just like you’re holding a football or a clutch. With your free hand, hold your breast in a C-shaped hold, making it easier for your baby to latch on to.
The Side-Lying Hold
As a new mother, there are bound to be times when exhaustion takes over your body, particularly just after childbirth and when nursing in the middle of the night. When you feel tired or drowsy, one of the best breastfeeding positions to try is the side-lying hold. Breastfeeding while lying on one side instead of sitting up is extremely helpful for new mothers who have undergone a C-Section. To try the side-lying hold, simply lie comfortably on one side, with your baby lying across directly in front of you. Use one hand to nudge your breast and nipple close to your baby so that he or she latches on. Once this happens, you can use one arm to prop yourself up and the other to hold your baby close. Just be cautious not to fall asleep in this position. This is also one of the best breastfeeding positions to reduce gas.
The Koala Hold/Upright Breastfeeding
This breastfeeding position is perfect for babies struggling with reflux. Similar to the football hold, you will need to support your baby while making them sit upright, with the arm on the same side as the nursing breast and supporting your breast with your free, opposite hand. The koala hold is one of the best breastfeeding positions to reduce gas and for newborns suffering from acid reflux or GERD, as well as for older babies who can sit upright by themselves.
Laid-back / Reclined Position/Biological Nursing
For this position, you need to lean back in a semi-reclining position on a sofa or your bed; ensure you are well-supported with pillows so that you can place your baby tummy-to-tummy on your body. Your little one can rest in any direction so long as their entire body is against yours and they can reach your breasts. In this position, your little one can naturally latch onto your breast, and you won’t have much else to do besides lie back and relax.
The Twins Hold
If you have been blessed with twins, then you can try to employ any one of the above breastfeeding techniques for newborn babies. Depending on how comfortable you are, you can either breastfeed your twins together or one at a time. To make yourself even more comfortable, use a large pillow or cushion under your little ones and gently support them with your hands on their upper backs,
Mothers with twins can also go for the double rugby ball hold or the double clutch.In this technique, you feed the twins in tandem while having your hands free. But if they’re newborns, you would definitely need a specific twin breastfeeding pillow. This provides extra support, helps both babies to get in the position, and reduces the pressure on your tummy( if you’ve had a c-section).
In this position, your baby lies on his back, then you stoop over him on all fours and hang your nipple over his mouth. It is helpful for those mothers who have conditions like mastitis and don’t want their breasts to be touched or squeezed. Mums do this for short periods and can be performed while you’re sitting or lying down. No need to strain your back or shoulders, use pillows to support yourself.
Nursing in a Sling/ Ring Sling
This is basically breastfeeding your child in a carrier or sling. Nursing in a sling is highly convenient and allows you to do light chores while you’re at it. The position is ideal for babies who can hold their heads up or are full-fledged breastfeeders. Many slings are available but whatever you choose, ensure that your baby’s chin is not pressed against his chest.
Dancer Hand Nursing Position
This position is ideal for babies who struggle to stay latched because of their premature birth, any illness or condition such as Down’s syndrome. This position helps in supporting the baby’s head as well as your breast. For this technique, begin by cupping your breast with fingers on one side and thumb on the other. Now, adjust your thumb and index finger in such a way so that a ‘U’ shape is formed in front of the breast. The remaining three fingers should support the breast. Your baby’s jaw will rest on your thumb and index finger as he feeds. Your thumb and index finger will hold your baby’s cheeks on both sides.This position helps in giving a lot of support to your baby.