Breastfeeding isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of deal. In fact, for many mothers, it can be a struggle to learn to nurse a baby, and it also takes time for your baby to get used to nursing as well! If your baby is fussing at the breast during feedings, seems uncomfortable, or you are uncomfortable, there are many different breastfeeding positions you can try!
Breastfeeding on Day 1
Right after you have your baby, your body will produce colostrum, early milk that is packed with healthy nutrients for your newborn. Your newborn will probably want to eat within the first hour after birth, so be sure to make time for skin-to-skin as your baby attempts her first latch. Thankfully, most hospitals have lactation consultants on hand, who will guide both mother and baby through the whole process. Don’t worry, you won’t be left alone to figure it all out on your own! Many babies struggle to latch in the beginning, so don’t be discouraged if your baby’s first feeding isn’t perfect.
No matter the position you breastfeed your baby in, the important thing is to look for a proper latch. Here are things you want to see in your baby’s latch:
- Your baby’s mouth should be wide open.
- Your baby’s lips should be flanged, not puckered in.
- Your baby’s chin should be touching your breast.
- Your baby’s tongue should be down, not thrust out.
To achieve a great latch, try out these breastfeeding positions!
1. Football hold
This is one of the simplest holds to learn, and often one of the first one's moms are encouraged to try. You hold your baby like the name implies - nestled against your side, head cradled in your hand, like a football. You will hold the baby with your arm on the side that baby is laying against. Baby will also eat from the side they are laying on. With your free arm, you can guide your nipple to the baby’s mouth.
2. Cross-cradle hold
This position is great for nursing in public because you are sitting up and can easily see your baby. Your baby will nurse from one breast while you cradle and support her with the arm on the opposite side of your body. In this position, your baby faces you and her body will rest against yours. With the arm not cradling your baby, you can guide your breast to her mouth. This position is great if you are using a nursing pillow!
3. Side-lying hold
This position is so comfortable and perfect for those late nights or early morning nursing sessions when you just want to stay in bed. In this position, you lay on your side, and the baby lays on her side facing you. Your baby will nurse from the breast touching the bed. To make this position easier, you can always place a pillow or rolled-up blanket behind your baby’s back to support her while she eats.
4. Cradle hold
Like the cross-cradle hold, your baby will be laying on her side, facing you, nestled against your belly. In this position, you will hold your baby using the arm on the side of your body she is nursing from - not the opposite. This position can really help the baby feel safe and secure, and you can use your opposite arm to assist the other arm holding your baby or to guide your breast to the baby’s mouth. This is another position where a nursing pillow comes in handy!
5. Laidback hold
This is another great nursing position for when you’re super tired! Lay in a reclined position, no lower than a 45-degree angle, and lay your baby against your chest, with her arms on either side of your breast. This is a good position for mamas that have a strong letdown as well. This position can be done in bed, on the couch, or in a rocking chair!
6. Upright hold
This position is also known as the koala hold. In the upright hold, your baby sits and straddles one of your legs, in an upright position. Baby holds onto each side of the breast as you support her back and neck with your hands. The upright hold is a great position for older babies or toddlers that have the muscle strength to sit up.
As you can see, breastfeeding isn’t a one-size-fits-all process! You can play around with different holds to see which ones your baby prefers. Each baby is different, and give yourself some grace - breastfeeding is as much of a learning curve for mamas as it is for babies!
Parenting is awesome. Sleep is overrated. Everyday is an adventure.