By Gabi Falanga
During the first few days and weeks of breastfeeding your new baby, you may need to experiment with different positions to see what is the most comfortable for you and your baby. Some of these positions may make it easier for your baby to get a good, deep latch in order to nurse. We take a look at some of the most common positions that are used to breastfeed in a baby’s early days. As you and your baby become experts at breastfeeding, you’ll find that there are many variations to these and you’ll eventually figure out the positions that work best for both of you.
Cradle hold: The cradle hold is most probably the first position that comes to mind when you think of breastfeeding. It involves cradling your baby with the arm that’s on the side your baby is feeding on. Your baby will be lying side-ways across your lap, with their tummy turned towards yours. Use pillows to support your arm and baby’s body to get a comfortable position. You can use your free hand to guide your breast into baby’s mouth.
Cross-cradle hold: This position is similar to the above position, except that you’ll cradle your baby with the arm opposite to the breast that it is feeding on. This position gives you more control over baby’s position, which is especially helpful in the first few weeks. You can use your cradling hand to support the baby at the nape of their neck. Use your other hand to guide your breast toward their mouth.
Football hold: For this position, your baby will be tucked under the arm of the breast they’re nursing on, with their feet pointing towards the back of your chair. Put a pillow under baby to make sure they’re at the correct height and use your hand to guide their head towards the breast. You can use the opposite hand to guide your breast to their mouth if necessary. This position is especially helpful for mother’s who’ve had a C-section and want to keep baby off their sensitive abdomen.
Side-lying position: The side-lying position, is a relaxing and comfortable nursing position for both mom and baby. Both lie on their sides, facing each other. Use your bottom arm to support your baby’s back while they nurse. You can use pillows between your legs and behind your back to make you comfortable.
Laid-back feeding: Laid-back breastfeeding is also known as biological nurturing. This position relies on your baby’s natural instinct, or reflexes, to nurse. Lie back, semi-reclined in a bed, reclining arm-chair, or on the couch. Use cushions to support your back and arms, so that you feel comfortable. Lie your baby on their stomach, across your stomach or even shoulder (a good position for mother’s who’ve had a C-section). Your baby will push against you with their feet and wriggle until they’re able to reach your breast. Doing this position skin-to-skin is especially good for bonding.
You might also want to read our tips on how to get your breastfeeding journey off to a good start.