Breastfeeding is hard. There are so many things you never even thought of that can completely sabotage your efforts to feed your baby. One of the easiest, but most profound ways to ensure success is position. Choosing the right position can make the difference between your experience being a struggle or being a breeze.
I’m going to introduce you to some of the most common feeding holds and explain who might benefit from using them.
The Cradle Hold
This is the most common position, and the most picturesque by far. It may be the easiest if you’re feeding on the go. Also, it’s fast and convenient for feeding babies who already have the hang of nursing.
And this is the position most people picture in their heads when they think about nursing babies. BUT….
If you have a newborn – and especially if you have latch issues – this isn’t the best position to use. It can be difficult to hold baby securely while using your other hand to hold your breast or coax baby’s mouth open. Or both!
It’s not my personal favorite because
I’m lazy the baby gets heavy after a while and sometimes my arm falls asleep under his head. This position could also be a challenge if you have back trouble.
The Football Hold
The football hold is wonderful for feeding a newborn because it keeps your baby’s head positioned right where you need him so you can focus on getting him latched. Sometimes with a brand new baby, latching feels like a juggling routine, so the football hold is helpful when you don’t seem to have enough hands.
Another bonus – baby is laying on you, so you don’t have to worry about him getting heavy after a few minutes.
The Seated Hold
The seated hold is best for babies who are a bit older and can at least hold up their own head, or who can sit on their own. They can sit sideways on your lap and turn to face you, or sit spread eagle on your lap facing you.
This is an easy-peasy position and really wonderful for babies with reflux, or for mothers who have an oversupply and a forceful letdown. If your baby is gulping too hard or choking as he drinks, this is a sign he’s getting too much milk at a time and you should try the seated hold.
Tummy to tummy position
I love this position with new babies! You can accomplish a few things all at once, and who doesn’t love multitasking? For starters, if you both undress, your baby can get some great skin to skin contact while he eats, which is super beneficial for him and you.
Who says you can’t play and eat? If your little guy isn’t overly hungry, you can lay him on your chest and get a few giggles out of him before he starts to nurse. This works his neck and core muscles, so it definitely counts as tummy time, and it’s a wonderful time for bonding with your baby.
You can also lay little one on your chest and watch him do the breast crawl. It’s really amazing that tiny new humans know exactly how to find the nourishment they need! Think your newborn is completely helpless? Witnessing this just may change your mind.
This is also another good position if your milk flow is too fast for your baby because gravity works against your milk and keeps him from choking on it.
Side lying position
This has always been my go-to position because
I’m lazy it’s easy to just lay down next to them and have my hands free to get the latch right, and rub that silky baby hair.
If you’re nursing a newborn, you’re probably exhausted; so using this position is a great way to close your eyes and relax for a few minutes. Please be careful not to totally fall asleep unless there’s someone around to make sure baby stays safe! I started using this one for night feedings because I kept falling asleep while nursing in the chair. I tried everything to stay awake, but I never could. This was a much safer option for us.
It’s up to you!
These are just some of the most common positions, but not all by a long shot. Any way you get a nipple in the baby’s mouth can be a breastfeeding position. I’ve even created a few of my own. There was the Daddy’s-Not-Pulling-Over-Till-We-Get-There-But-Baby’s-Hungry-Now position where I crawl in the back seat while we’re driving down the interstate, buckle up, and pull a boob out while stretching over the carseat. There’s also one my toddler created called Mommy-Says-It’s-Too-Early-To-Be-Awake-So-I’m-Going-To-Crawl-Over-Her-And-Get-Some-Milk-Anyway. I think that one is pretty self explanatory.
The positions for feeding your baby are limitless. Just make sure you’re comfortable, baby’s comfortable, and you’ve got a good latch. The positions you prefer will probably change over time, so if one isn’t working for you, change it up and see if a new one might work better.
What’s your favorite breastfeeding position? Tell me in the comments, I’d love to hear!