Breastfeeding Positions

A comfortable position during breastfeeding is fundamental! The newborn spends most of the time at your breast; the infant eats less often, but he still likes to savor mother's milk.

The truth is, in the first year of baby's life breastfeeding takes a significant part of your daily life as a mother. If during that year, you spent a few hours every day in an uncomfortable, hunched position, your spine would give up quickly, and breastfeeding would become a nightmare. Furthermore, breastfeeding in an uncomfortable position you would feel discomfort inhibiting oxytocin production and milk would flow slowly, irritating the hungry baby.

To you, your "milky moments" together should be the time to relax and slow down in your daily hustle. Thus, you must feed in the position that is comfortable to you and your baby. There is plenty of options to choose from - try them.  

Lying position - mum on her side

Lie down comfortably on your side, rest your head on apillow. The baby should be placed in front of you, also on his side, with his nose at the level with the nipple. Place one arm ("bottom") in a way supporting the baby's head, and your hand should embrace the baby (his tummy must touch your belly). With the other hand ("upper") give the breast to the baby. When he grasps the breast correctly, you do not have to hold it in your hand.

This way you can feed the baby both from the "bottom" (with the baby lying low) and from the "upper" (with the baby lying higher, on a relatively hard pillow) breast.

This position is perfect to relax, you can even have a nap. This is also an ideal position for nighttime feeding, when you sleep with the baby or the dad brings you the baby to your bed.

Lying position - on your back (Australian hold)

Lie on your back, and rest your head on pillows high enough to see the suckling baby well. You can put the baby across or along your belly and support his bottom with your hand. This position is ideal when your milk flows too fast and intensively, and the baby cannot swallow it fast enough and chokes or releases the breast (and then he is drenched with a fountain of spurting milk). When you place the baby on your belly, he will suck the breast from the top, so he certainly will not choke, particularly, as in this position the milk flow is slower.

This position is recommended to women after the C-section, because they do not feel pain in the surgical wound, and the baby placed along their belly also does not press on it.

Sitting position - cradle hold

Sit comfortably, in an armchair, on a sofa or a chair (provided it is not very hard). Your back must be supported - to sit straight place a pillow between your back and the armchair backrest. Place your feet on a footstool (or a small stool, or a stack of books), or cross your legs, so the baby is placed higher. Put the baby's head on one forearm and hold him with your hand (with his tummy touching your belly), supporting him under his bottom. With the other hand give the breast to the baby - when he latches on it correctly, you do not need to hold it. The whole body of the baby should be at the level with your breast, so when necessary, place the baby on a pillow (so he is not too low) or insert a pillow under your forearm.

Sitting position - cross-cradle hold

This position is similar to the cradle hold, but your hands are used in a different way. It ensures a good control over the baby's head so it is very helpful when you are teaching the baby correct grasping of the breast. Place the baby on your lap (preferably on a pillow) on his side. When you feed with the left breast, grasp the baby's head with your right hand, and hold him to you with your right forearm. With your left hand give the breast to the baby and with your right hand place baby's open mouth on your breast in one firm move.

Sitting position - underarm hold

This position is recommended during milk stasis and mastitis, as it helps the baby to grasp and suck the breast correctly. It is also helpful after the C-section (the baby does not press on the surgical wound) and is ideal for tandem feeding of twins.

Sit comfortably with your back supported. Place the baby on a pillow and under your arm, with his head at your breast and his tummy against your side, under your arm. Baby's body must be at the level with your breast. Hold the baby's head in your palm in front of you, and with the forearm of that hand hold the baby to your side. With the other hand give the breast to the baby and put his open mouth on it.

Your baby's behavior will surely tell you which positions he prefers, and which he does not like. You will also discover quickly, whether you prefer breastfeeding while lying or sitting, and you will choose your favorite position. However, you must remember to change positions so the baby can stimulate and empty all areas of the breast.