Different Breastfeeding Positions For Newborns: As a nursing mother, you are most likely wondering what the best position to breastfeed your baby is. If you don’t identify the best positions, both you and your baby will struggle during nursing. So, it is definitely an aspect you shouldn’t neglect.
Most mothers try out different nursing positions before saying that they found the one that works best for them. You might have to do the same as what position will work for you is a subjective matter after all.
To find out the best position to feed a newborn and breastfeeding techniques for newborn, we put together this guide for the recommended breastfeeding positions to help you be comfortable along with your baby.
Without further due, let’s see different types of breastfeeding and how to breastfeed positions are essential for both you and your baby and the best you can try.
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Why are breastfeeding positions important?
When you nurse your baby, both of you should be comfortable. This is essential as a good nursing position will help your baby feed better. You will also avoid breast soreness and different aches you might experience if you breastfeed in an uncomfortable position.
When your baby is not latched to your breast correctly, they will struggle to feed. In this struggle, they might hurt you as they try to access the breastmilk. So, both of you will be exhausted and frustrated by the end of the meal. To avoid such unpleasant situations, try applying the positions below. You will, for sure, find a few that are comfortable for you!
Different Breastfeeding Positions for Newborns
1. Laid-back Position
The laid back breastfeeding position is also known as the reclined position. This is definitely one of the positions you should try as you are nursing your baby.
- It is also the position you will be advised to have when you first hold your baby. Shortly after you give birth, you will receive your baby in this laid-back position. Thanks to this, you will notice that this position will most likely come naturally to both of you.
- You can achieve this position by reclining at an angle of 180 degrees, give and take according to your comfort. Using pillows to support your back will help you get as comfortable and relaxed as you need to be.
- Hold your baby gently with one hand and support their spine straight while their head will rest on your elbow. This position is ideal for babies who don’t like having their heads touched during nursing.
- You will notice that your little one will find their way to your nipple and start nursing in no time. It is not recommended to lay flat on your back as this can be uncomfortable for both you and your baby.
- Lying flat can expose you to accidents that you can otherwise avoid. For instance, your baby might not stay comfortable on your chest and slide to the side, losing contact with the breast.
- You will also not like that you can’t really see how good your baby is nursing if you lay flat. Such unpleasant aspects could increase the frustration and ruin a good nursing time.
- You should also consider that this position can be so comfortable that your little one can fall asleep quickly, even if they are not done feeding. So, moving a bit as you hold them might keep them alert enough to focus on their meal, at least in the first weeks of their life.
When they drift away into dreamland, you will notice you can gently move just enough to wake them up. Other than this, the laid-back position is one of the best options you have for sure.
2. Cross-cradle Position
The cross-cradle nursing position is also prevalent among mothers, but you will have to try it to see if it is a good option for you and your baby.
- The cross-cradle position allows your baby to sit on your opposite arm of the breast they are latching on. You will use your forearm to support your baby’s neck and shoulder while the other arm supports the rest of their body. Be ready to change your arms as your baby goes from one breast to another.
- This cross-cradle position is ideal for newborns and babies in their first two months of their life. However, if you want to continue breastfeeding them in this position past this time frame, you can.
- Your baby will get full-body support with this position, and you will not have to worry at all during breastfeeding.
- You can also use this position with just the opposite forearm, so you have one hand free. If you do this every now and then, you have the freedom to adjust your breast, for instance.
- However, this option is more common for mothers breastfeeding newborns as your baby needs to be small enough to be supported well with just one arm.
- Ensure you don’t hold your baby’s head because if you push their chin on their chest, it can trouble to latch, and feeding them will become problematic.
If you avoid this potential mistake, your baby will have a relaxing time in nursing, and so will you as you are nursing them.
3. Side-Lying Position
Another position that might work miracles for you as a nursing mom is a side-lying. If it sounds like a complicated position, don’t worry, as it is actually quite comfortable.
- You will actually love this side-lying position if you had a C-Section, as it doesn’t put pressure on your abdominal area. The simple way to describe this position is you and your little one lying down, belly to belly, as you stay on your sides next to each other.
- While not all babies will be willing to adopt this position, they might prefer it once they get used to it. If your baby struggles with latching, this position could also be a lifesaver.
- This side-lying position is perfect for nighttime feeds, too, as you can relax and feed your baby while reducing the frustration and exhaustion of those feedings.
- You can rely on this position since your baby is a newborn until they are done with the breastfeeding phase. It is perfect for babies of all ages, and it creates no discomfort whatsoever, so you will both learn to love it.
- One thing that you might not be pleased about when it comes to this position is that it provides less skin to skin contact. Since your baby will lay on the bed right next to you, they will mainly get in contact with your breast.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t caress them during the nursing, so you feel them closer.
4. Football-Hold Position
As funny as this position’s name seems to be, you will most likely be impressed by its efficiency. This position involves you holding your baby under your arm, exactly like you would hold a football ball.
- The arm you choose to use is entirely up to you, and it depends on the breast you will feed them with as well. You will use the arm that is close to the breast you use so that your baby can latch comfortably.
- In this position, you can hold the baby’s head so they can latch easier. The only thing that can make the football position difficult is if your baby doesn’t like to have their head held, which is typical for some of them.
- If you feel like you need extra support for your baby or want to increase their comfort, try using a soft pillow.
- You can place your baby on the pillow and use your hand to support their neck and head. It is also important to lift your baby, so they can reach your breast. You want to bring your little one to your breast and not your breast to them.
- For mothers who had a C-Section, this position is advantageous. It is equally efficient for mothers with larger breasts as it gives you a better view of your baby so you will know if they are feeding correctly.
- However, a fantastic advantage of this position is evident for mothers of twins. These mothers can feed both of their babies at the same time.
All they have to do is hold one baby to one breast and the other to the other breast by using the football position on both of them.
5. Cradle Position
The cradle position remains one of the classics. It is comfortable, easy to apply, and highly efficient.
- The cradle position has you sitting upright while holding your baby against your tummy. You will hold their head and neck by using your forearm and position their body sideways.
- It is the type of position you see in most breastfeeding pictures as it is the most common. There is no wonder for this popularity as it brings a lot of benefits to both of you.
- However, you might not feel so comfortable with this nursing position if you had a C-Section. It adds pressure on your stomach. Even if your baby is held higher than the C-Section scar, you will still feel a sort of discomfort.
- The cradle position could also add some strain on your back and shoulders, so you might use different pillows to support your body and your baby.
- Keep in mind that you should try not to hold your baby too high if you use a nursing pillow.
Your baby should meet your breast at its natural height. Otherwise, you will deal with sore nipples and a lot of discomforts.
When to use each of the above positions?
As efficient and comfortable as the positions above might seem, it is essential to understand that they are not for everyone. You will discover that you might find some of them comfortable while your baby doesn’t like them as much.
- Laidback: This laid back or reclined position will work great for newborns. In the first weeks of their life, babies are small, and you can hold them comfortably on your stomach. It might not be as comfortable, though, for mothers who gave birth through a C-Section, but with the proper nursing pillow, you can make it work as well. If you find out that this position is suitable for both of you, you can try using it even when your baby is older than two months. But you should be prepared for some discomfort in this case.
- Cross cradle: If your baby is younger than two months old, you will both love the cross-cradle nursing position. It might be more complicated for babies older than two months to use this nursing position. They are heavier and more challenging to hold. But if you place their body on a nursing pillow, you might still be able to make it work. Just make sure the pillow is lifting your baby high enough to reach your breast without you having to bend.
- Side –lying: The side-lying position should be great for babies of all ages. However, some babies will need more skin to skin contact to find the comfort they need, and therefore, they might not like this position much. If you had a C-Section, it could be one of the best nursing positions to try. You will be able to relax as you are breastfeeding your baby in this position too.
- Football: The football position is ideal for mothers of twins. It allows you to feed both of your babies simultaneously as long as you feel comfortable doing so. It is also a miracle position for mothers who gave birth through a C-Section or those who have some other type of surgery to recover from. This position will not put any pressure on your abdominal area, and you might even be able to use your free hand as you see fit. Babies of all ages tend to like this nursing pose as long as they accept you to hold their head.
- Cradle: The cradle position will be the right choice for babies of all ages, but mothers might have a different idea. First of all, it can put pressure on your C-Section, so if you gave birth like that, you might have to look at other positions to nurse your baby. On the other hand, it can add some discomfort to your back and shoulders. To avoid this, use supportive pillows for both your back and your baby. If you adjust this position appropriately, it can become a very efficient one for both you and your little one.
Finding the best nursing position for you and your baby is not easy. But with the information in this guide, you might save some time trying and a lot of frustration for both of you. Make sure to consider your recovery and your baby’s weight before trying one position or another.
Those that are not suitable for mothers who had a C-Section will need to be adjusted with nursing pillows that you can easily find on the market.
The position you use during nursing will most likely change as your baby grows as well. So, taking this aspect into consideration will help you be prepared for different nursing stages.
A great idea is to get used to those nursing positions that work with babies of all ages. By doing so, you can stick to the positions you find comfortable even if your baby gets older.
- “Latching on | Breastfeeding Guide | Start4Life”. Accessed November 29, 2020. Link.
- “7 Tips for Successful Breastfeeding After a C-Section”. Accessed November 29, 2020. Link.