When you’re breastfeeding, positioning is everything. From the get-go, your baby’s little positioning preferences will reveal themselves in how they latch and feed.
Everyone has a different anatomy and that means each person has a different experience of where and how to position themselves when breastfeeding. It can take time to find the right fit for you and your little one, but once you do, it’ll be worth all the effort.
There are so many different ways that you can position yourself to breastfeed, as well as your baby to breastfeed. We’ve put together our best tips and tricks on positioning for breastfeeding from start to finish. Read on for all the details.
Know Your Options
Before you dive into the how-tos of breastfeeding, it’s important to understand the various positions that are available for breastfeeding. These are just a few of the most common positions for breastfeeding, so no matter what your body type or shape, you and your baby can find a position that works best for both of you.
- Cradle Hold – Cradle hold is a great position for new breastfeeding moms because it allows you to easily see your little one and hold them close with your arm while still being able to support their head with your hand. This is a great position if you have a smaller baby who is brand-new to breastfeeding.
- Side-Lying – Side-lying is a great position to use if you have a larger baby, a baby who needs to be positioned on their side, or if you have a baby who wants to be held in a way that allows them to suck for prolonged periods of time. This positioning can also be helpful if you are recovering from a C-section or if you have back pain.
- Back-Lying – Back-lying is a great option for moms who have had a c-section or who have back pain. It’s also a position that you can often continue to use throughout pregnancy as your baby grows.
Start in Cow Pose
We’re not kidding, this position is called cow pose for a reason. With your knees bent and your legs out in a V-shape, you’re ready for your little one to crawl right in for a snack. This is a great position to start in if you’re breastfeeding for the first time or if you’re breastfeeding again with a different baby. It’s also great for mothers who are pumping as well. This position helps your baby latch and also gives your breasts a little extra space from your baby’s mouth, which can help reduce any discomfort you’re feeling. This position works for mothers with larger chests and smaller breasts alike.
Try Different Angles
Another great way to find the right position for both you and your little one is to try out different breastfeeding positions. While cradling your baby upright, in their tummy, or on their side are all great options, it might be helpful to try out different breastfeeding positions to see what works best for you. A breastfeeding position that works one day might not work the next. When you’re trying out new positions, make sure you give yourself some extra time to get comfortable so that you can focus on your little one and not on yourself. Try different breastfeeding positions to see which ones work best for you and your baby.
Hold Your Baby Up-Front
If you’re struggling with latching or positioning, you may want to try holding your little one up-front. With your baby’s head resting against your breast, you can help your baby find your nipple and latch. If you do find yourself using this position, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, make sure that your arm is extended and that your baby is positioned higher than your breast. You don’t want your baby to be sucking from your armpit. Next, try to position your baby closer to your breast so they can latch easier. This can be done by bringing your baby closer to you or leaning back a bit.
Try Shifting Positions of Your Knees
If you find yourself having trouble with your positioning and having to shift your knees up or down, it’s time to try a new position. If you have a larger chest, you might find that you have to lean over a bit while holding your baby upright. Or, if you have a smaller chest, you might find that you have to lean back a little bit to get your baby closer. You’ll want to make sure that your baby is close enough to latch without straining. When you’re trying out new positions, you may want to try breastfeeding with a pillow or leaning over the arm of the couch or a chair. You can also try using a breastfeeding aid.
When Laying Down to Breastfeed
We know that breastfeeding while laying down is not for everyone, but for some, it’s the best and most comfortable position. If you’re breastfeeding while laying down, your baby will be on their side, facing your side. To help your baby find your nipple, you will move your breast closer to their mouth. If you’re breastfeeding while laying down, you may want to have a hand free to support your baby’s head. You may find it helpful to lean over a bit and rest your baby against your chest. You may also want to try propping up your head with a pillow. This will ensure that you are comfortable while you breastfeed.
The Final Word
Breastfeeding is a skill that takes practice and patience, so don’t worry if it doesn’t come naturally the first time around. It can take baby and mom a few tries to find their groove, and that’s normal. Breastfeeding your baby isn’t only about you, it’s also about getting your little one comfortable and happy, too. It’s important to remember to check in with your little one as you’re breastfeeding to make sure that they’re comfortable and getting what they need.