Lucky for you and your baby, there are a number of different breastfeeding positions you can use to nurse your little one. You might find that there’s one particular position you really enjoy, that you want to switch it up a little and try different positions from time to time, or that certain positions become more comfortable as your little one grows. To get you started, here are five that we think you should know about!
1. The cradle
This is the most basic of breastfeeding positions, but it can also be one of the most difficult. To achieve the cradle, sit with Baby across your abdomen with your elbow supporting their head and your hand supporting their bottom — essentially fitting them into the crook of your arm. For more flexibility, use your other hand to support your breast. Make sure to use lots of pillows, and keep your feet up to avoid leaning into your little one. This position is best for older babies who can easily latch on, because it is harder to control a baby’s head while nursing in this position.
2. The cross-cradle
This maneuver is best for babies who have difficulty latching on, because it allows you full control over your baby’s head movement. In this position, use the opposite arm of the breast you are using to feed to support Baby’s body — if you are feeding on your left breast, use your right arm for support and the right hand to support their head. The cross-cradle is ideal for early breastfeeding and smaller babies.
3. The clutch or football hold
To perform this expert hold and rival even the best of NFL quarterbacks, hold your baby at your side, using your right arm for support to gently guide their head to your breast. Then, tuck Baby underneath your arm, facing up, and rest your arm on a pillow. The football hold is ideal for beginners, larger babies, twins, and folks who have had a C-section.
4. The side-lying position
Ideal for tired moms or women who just want to be comfortable, this position involves the least amount of work for both you and Baby. Lie on either side with your back supported, face your little one towards you, and use one arm to support their tiny body. You can make a nest of pillows behind you to ensure that your back and hips are in a straight line. Make sure not to strain either your or Baby’s neck. This is also a perfect position for nighttime feeds.
5. Mom on Top
This breastfeeding party trick also doubles as a yoga position. You can’t really keep this one up for long, because your arms might get tired, but if you place Baby on a pillow and slowly lower your breast into his or her mouth, gravity helps drain your milk ducts completely. This can also be super helpful for a blocked milk duct!
It may be worth giving any number of these a try until you find the one that works best for you. If Baby has reflux, however, it’s best to feed in an upright position. If your let-down is powerful, a laid-back position can also be beneficial.
- “Slide show: Breast-feeding positions.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, September 11 2015. Web.
- “How do I position my baby to breastfeed?” La Leche League International. La Leche League International, November 16 2014. Web.
- “Positions For Breastfeeding.” HealthyChildren. American Academy of Pediatrics, November 21 2015. Web.