Finding the right breastfeeding position for you and your baby takes practice and patience. Knowing how different positions work and why someone would use them, helps to determine which one is best for you. As you and your baby get to know one another, you will have most likely tried some of these positions at least once:
Football Just like it sounds! You are holding your baby as if you are holding a football; supporting baby’s head at your breast. This position works well for newborns as they are small enough to maintain a snug position. It also allows mom to see baby latch on, which is comforting. It also works well for mother’s with larger breasts.
Cross cradle Holding your baby across your lap, supporting baby’s head with the opposite arm of the breast she is feeding from. This is the position most moms are taught in hospital. This position also allows for mother’s to see baby latch on.
Dancer This position provides extra support for baby’s jaw by using your thumb and index finger to support baby’s chin while cupping your breast from underneath with the same hand. This position is not often used, but provides support to baby’s who cannot stay latched or have low muscle tone.
Side Lying Both you and your baby are lying parallel to one another, tummy to tummy. This
position allows baby’s head to be supported by the bed and for mom to be able to rest too!
Laidback I strongly recommend this position as I find it is most effective in attaining a baby led latch and a deeper latch at that. Also, you do not need to hold on to the back of baby’s head in this position. Your baby is lying across your tummy while you are in a comfortable reclined position ‘Lazy Boy position’.
The latter two are my favorite and my most recommended positions. They both allow for a deep latch thereby improving comfort to breasts and nipples, may increase transfer of milk due to the deeper latch and allow for both mom and baby to enjoy the experience.
As for many things in life, the set-up is most important to easily achieve these positions:
In side-lying, lie on your side tummy to tummy with your baby. Baby will be feeding from the
bottom breast. Align baby’s nose to your nipple so that they must lift their chin to latch on. As they are latching, pull them in snug to you with your top hand at their shoulder blades.
For laid back, set yourself up in a reclined position with feet up. Having your feet up is most
helpful to achieve this position. Have your elbows propped up at your sides. Pillows can help with this. Allow baby to relax on you, tummy to tummy, across your chest (like a satchel). For this example, let’s say baby will be feeding from the left breast. Baby’s head is resting on your left arm or forearm (depending on the length of baby and of mother’s arm). Align baby’s nose to nipple so they must lift their head to latch on. You can assist them by using your right hand to aim your nipple to the roof of their mouth. Once they are latching, pull them in snug with your left hand or forearm at their back.
For all of these positions, take time to talk or sing to your baby, stroke their hair, and enjoy the time together. These are special moments that you will remember for years to come.
Looking for more guidance in achieving these positions? I will be holding a ‘Position Yourself For Success Webinar’ on October 13th at 10am.
Finding the right position can take some time. An IBCLC, can help guide you in finding the position that is right for both you and your baby.
Consultations with Melanie Jacobson ND IBCLC are offered on Tuesdays at Dupont Naturopathic Family Centre.