Breast feeding basics: positioning
It takes time to work out which breast feeding position is most comfortable for you and your baby. But it’s worth persevering.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to breast feeding positions. What works for you and your baby may not work for someone else. And, what works on one breast might not work on the other.
Finding the right breast feeding position is important, though. If you are both comfortable and your baby can latch on correctly, then it’s more likely she will get sufficient milk at each feed.
Remember, practice makes perfect – for both of you.
Five common breast feeding positions
- Cradle – your baby is positioned belly-to-belly in front of you, supported on one arm and latched onto the breast on that same side
- Cross cradle – your baby is positioned belly-to-belly in front of you, supported on one arm opposite to the breast (if left arm supporting, baby latches to right breast)
- Football – your baby is wrapped along your side with her head at your breast and feet behind your back (think of holding your baby like an American football player running with the ball)
- Side-lying – both you and your baby lay on your sides facing each other with your baby slightly below your breast so she must tilt her head back while you hug her in to latch on
- Laid-back – using pillows for support, you recline at a 45 degree angle with your baby’s head between your breasts allowing her to latch to either side
Keep re-evaluating what works best
As your baby grows, her preferred position may change. You might find a position that didn’t work in the early weeks may be easier as your baby matures.
Keep re-evaluating, too. If you experience any discomfort, like pinching on the nipple or an aching back or shoulders, then try a new position.
And listen to your baby – she will tell you what she likes. If she fusses when you turn her a particular way, she might be uncomfortable in that position. Keep experimenting until you’re both happy.
Other tips for breast feeding comfort
Bring your baby to your breast and belly rather than bringing your breast to baby by hunching over. Remember, you need to stay in this position comfortably for 20-45 minutes (the length of a feed). Bringing her to you will not only be more comfortable, but it can also help her achieve a successful latch.
Make pillows a part of your breast feeding routine, too! Pile up as many as you need to bring her level to your breast. Also use them to make you more comfy – whether they are behind you or at your side. Just make sure the pillows don’t interfere with your baby’s breathing should you both drift off to sleep.