|What Is A Breastfeeding Position?
It is the position you hold your baby while breastfeeding. There is no correct or best position, you will probably need to try every position before finding one that is comfortable for both of you. You may discover some positions even make it easier for your baby to latch onto the nipple (known as latching). Don't forget to use pillows under your elbows, neck or back to support you for the 30 or 40 minutes it takes to feed your baby.
The following is a list of some of the most common nursing positions:
This is an easy classic position that is comfortable for most moms and babies. With the cradle hold your baby has his head on your forearm (the crook of the arm) and faces his body towards you. To start, sit in a chair with supportive armrests to support yourself. Avoid leaning towards your baby or you may injure your back. Lie your baby on your lap (or on a pillow on your lap) facing towards you. Extend your arm down his back to support his spine and keep him from rolling back.
Pros and Cons: This position usually works best for full-term babies delivered vaginally. Some mothers complain it makes latching difficult so you may wish to reserve it until the baby is at least 4 weeks old and has stronger neck muscles. If you are recovering from a cesarean section you may find it initially puts too much pressure on your tummy.
The Clutch or Football Hold
The baby is placed under the arm like a football or clutch handbag. To start, position the baby at your side under your arm. He should be facing you, his nose level with your nipple and his feet tucked behind your arm. Using the c-hold (see below), guide the baby's mouth to the nipple, chin first. Use your forearm to support his upper back. Be careful not to force him so he resists and arches his neck.
Pros and Cons: The football hold can be slightly more difficult to master than the cradle hold. It is however useful for moms who have had a cesarean section or those with large breasts or with flat or inverted nipples. You may also find it better if your baby is small and has trouble latching on or if you have a strong let-down reflex (your milk squirts out powerfully). It also works well for feeding twins.
Cross Cradle Hold
Also called the transitional hold, you hold your baby along the opposite arm from the breast you are using (in the cradle hold you use the arm nearest the breast). To start, sit up straight in a comfortable chair with armrests. Lie your baby across your tummy (tummy to tummy). Hold the baby's body in your arm, using the palm of your hand to support the head. Don't bend or lean forward, instead cradle the baby to your breast.
Pros and Cons: It is a better position for premature babies or those with weak suckling action.
This is a good position if you are tired, but never forget to return the baby to his own bed. Lie on your side and pull your baby close so that he faces your breast. Use one hand to guide him towards the nipple and the other to support his back. You may find it useful to place some pillows behind your back or between your knees or under your head for support.
Pros And Cons: Good for tired moms and those recovering from a c-section or difficult birth (where sitting is uncomfortable).
Some moms with twins find it easier to breastfeed their infants one at a time. Others may not have time to do this or prefer to try and feed both together. The two main positions for feeding twins simultaneously are (1) football hold and (2) holding one baby with the cradle hold and the other with the football hold. Another alternative to tandem breastfeeding is to bottle-feed one (using pumped or formula milk) while breastfeeding the other (and then switch off).
What Is The C-Hold?
The C-hold is a method of holding the breast to facilitate latching. It is especially useful for women with large heavy breasts. Place the palm of your hand (the hand on the same side you are nursing from) under your breast. Curve your thumb around the top and side forming a c shape and lift the breast. Keep your fingers well away from the areola (dark area of skin around the nipple) or they can prevent the baby from compressing the milk sinuses. Alternatively you can roll a washcloth and place it under the breast for support.
Disadvantages of breastfeeding.
Benefits of breastfeeding.
Tips For Nursing Positions
1. Talk to a lactation consultant if you are a first-time mom or if you are experiencing problems with breastfeeding. Your local hospital or birthing center can provide you with a list of qualified consultants. Alternatively, see: www.ilca.org.
2. Always bring your baby to the breast rather than the other way around, regardless of which position you choose.
3. Support your breasts with the c-hold position or with the v-hold (create a v with your index and middle fingers under your breast). All breasts become heavier while lactating.
4. Alternate breasts at every feeding, this will boost milk production.
5. Vary the position you use. It will help prevent breastfeeding problems like blocked milk ducts, engorged breasts and sore nipples.
6. Read our article on learning how to breastfeed for the first time.