Breastfeeding your newborn is the first step that leads to lifelong bonding. Learn about 5 comfortable positions that can make breastfeeding a happy experience.
This position is a classic breastfeeding position that needs to cradle the baby’s head with the crook of the arm. For feeding the baby in this position, you can sit comfortably on a bed with lots of pillows or on a chair that has supportive armrests and rests your feet on a table or any raised surface. Hold the baby in your lap (you may also use a pillow on your lap) adjust the baby in a way that the face, stomach, and knees are directly facing you. Put the lower arm of the baby under your own. Raise your baby to your breast and you can support your breast with your other hand.
This position improves the baby's ability to latch on because they will be able to tilt their head back a little.
Make sure you do not lean down toward your baby. Not suitable for women who have had a cesarean section as it might put pressure on their abdomen.
Full-term babies who were delivered vaginally. This position is recommended when your baby has strong neck muscles. Generally, this position is suitable for older babies who can easily latch.
Cross Cradle Hold
For the crossover position, hold the baby's head with the hand opposite to the breast from which you will be nursing from (i.e. if nursing from the right breast, hold the head with your left hand). Keep your wrist between your baby’s shoulder blades for support, your thumb behind one ear, your other fingers behind the other ear. Use your other hand to cup your breast as you would do for the cradle position. Tickle the lips of the baby and wait until the baby opens the mouth wide. Bring your baby to the breast and not your breast towards the baby to avoid back or neck pain.
This position works best for an infant who has a latching issue.
Small babies. It gives you maximum control in holding your baby and bringing the baby to the breast.
In this position, you will be holding your baby on either of your sides, you tuck your baby under your arm on the same side that you’re nursing from. For this position, you need to place 1 or 2 pillows at your side, then position your baby at your side, under your arm. Your baby’s feet and legs should be tucked under your arm & pointing towards your back. Then lift your baby to your breast. Use your forearm to support her upper back & hand to support his head.
It helps the mother in learning how to position the baby correctly.
Mothers who had C-section to protect their belly from the pressure or the weight of the baby. This position can also be used for mothers who have twins and want to feed both babies at the same time. Also, for women who have large breasts and inverted nipples.
Lying down/Side-lying Position
For this position, you can lie down on your comfortable side and turn your baby on your side with his chest and tummy directly facing you. Your baby should be positioned in a way that the baby’s nose is opposite your nipple. You can make use of pillows or blanket behind you and your baby to support the back and to bring the baby towards you. Cradle your baby’s head with the hand of your bottom arm. You can support your breast with your other hand.
This position is suitable for mothers who had C-section, also this position is best for night feeding when the mother is also sleepy and wants to feed the baby.
Make sure the baby doesn’t strain to reach your nipple, also you shouldn't bend down toward him. You can lift your breasts with the fingers underneath to help your baby reach to your nipples.
Laid-back breastfeeding is the most comfortable position for breastfeeding. In this position, you get comfortable with your baby and encourage your own and your baby’s natural breastfeeding instincts. You can rest down on the bed or couch so that you can lean your back and your back is well supported. Now you can put your baby on your chest, the gravity will help the baby to be in a position with you. Keep your baby’s whole front in touch with your whole front and your baby’s cheek rest somewhere near your bare breast. You can relax and breastfeed the baby in this position.
The baby can naturally latch on in this position without outing much effort.
Mothers who have small breasts.
How to create an ideal environment for the baby while breastfeeding?
Find A Comfortable Position:
The first and foremost thing to consider while breastfeeding is to adjust in a comfortable position, use pillows to support your back and make your baby comfortable while feeding.
Keep your baby close to you while feeding, the body to body touch helps the baby to be comfortable.
Wear Easy Access Clothing:
Top, kurta or a nightgown, whatever you wear make sure it opens down the front (rather than one you have to pull up or down). It will give your baby easier access while keeping you warm during cool nights.
In order to create a comfortable and accessible environment for the kids, make sure you keep the baby’s required things at a place, so that you don’t need to run around, leaving your baby alone. Keep diapers, a bottle of water, even a snack or two near your bed so that you don’t have to go anywhere to get what you need.
Make use of towels while feeding the baby, in case your breasts leak mil or in case the baby spits up. Keep a towel underneath you and your baby to stay dry and hygienic.
-Joyce Jayaseelan is a lactation consultant, Fortis Hospital, Bengaluru