Breast milk may come naturally to many mothers but the mechanics of a good and solid positioning is mainly trial and error. New mothers might have come across different feeding styles but the most suitable would be the one in which both, the baby and the mother are most relaxed and peaceful. Most of the mother’s stick to the tried and tested positions at first but when they start to get a good grip on breastfeeding they tend to explore and work their way towards positions they are comfortable in. After a few trials you’ll nail a position which makes breastfeeding easier and unperturbed for you and the little one.
Basically, a good position must support a good latch; otherwise, mothers’ faces a ton of problems like a dip in milk production due to improper draining of the breasts. Although breastfeeding drinks and treats help boost the milk supply, it’s best to avoid this all by just aiming for a perfect position. Breastfeeding has quite a few options like lying down, side-lying, cradling, standing, sitting up and on top of the stomach. You can take some leverage with positions as long as the baby has a good latch, mother’s back and shoulders are supported and both are comfortable in that position for the entire nursing session.
I feel that mothers should try different positions and shouldn’t stick to the traditional ways as knowing a few different breastfeeding positions and techniques has never harmed anyone. In fact as the baby starts to grow, wants to explore other things while nursing and as the mother starts to go out and about her day these new positions can make breastfeeding easier and less overwhelming. Every mother, over a course of time figures out the best position working for both of them and it might not work for others but that does mean it’s not right, go ahead and make yourself comfortable.
Pointers for Positioning
A good position is in which the mother has a well-supported back, arms, shoulders and her feet shouldn’t dangle in the air; they must either be on the bed or resting on a foot rest. The baby should also be placed close to your breasts so he doesn’t have to make the effort to reach, hips flexed, chic resting on the lower part of breast and nose on the areola and your breast mustn’t be pressing on your baby’s face. Try supporting your breasts by holding it in a cup style, having the forefinger on the top part, another finger on the lower part holding it back. Now when the mother and the baby are both comfortable and all set, make sure the baby has a good latch. The main indicator of a good latch is that the mother won’t feel any pain in her breasts, her breasts will feel fully drained after the session and the baby will be happy and peaceful. If the mother feels pain, redness, soreness or cracked nipples after sessions then work on the latch. Milk production depends on a demand and supply which is disrupted by a bad latch. Mothers then have to take breastfeeding drinks in order to increase milk supply.
Here we have lined up some top breastfeeding positions which are tried, tested and favourites of many mothers across the globe.
The Cradle Hold
This first position is a classic in the world of breastfeeding, the most common and widely used. This position may not work with a new born baby as the support system is far less efficient than some other contemporaries. But for kids from 3 months of age can adapt this position very well. It makes mothers more alert and also gives them a better look of the baby and his latch. For the best cradle hold, position your baby on your lap, the back of the baby resting on your forearm, the head resting on the bend of the elbow and the hand on the back cradling the baby towards the breasts.
Reclined or Laid-Back Position
This natural position, also known as biological nurturing, is very comfortable especially for those initials’ days after delivery when the baby is too small and the mother doesn’t have the energy to sit up for hours on end to nurse. Mothers can nail this position by leaning back in the bed or couch, fully supported by pillows on back and neck, making a semi-reclining position. Place the baby in a tummy-to-tummy position and let the gravity conform the baby naturally into your curves. Baby can rest his cheeks on you as long as he can reach the breasts easily. The best part is when your baby is set on nursing you don’t have to do much other than just placing your hands on the back and rest.
This position is perfect for those night time feedings when mothers don’t have the energy to sit up, stand up, lay straight or any other way they do in other timings of the day. This position provides more comfort as compared to sitting up and is ideal for mothers who have delivered with a C-section. To master this position, both the mother and the baby need to lie on their sides, tummy facing each other. Use one hand to cup your breasts and the other one placed securely behind the back of the child so you can also place a pillow behind. Avoid nursing in this position on waterbeds, recliners and couches to avoid unbalancing.
A perfect position for mothers, who have big breasts, had a C-section, delivered twins or premature babies. Place the body of the baby on the breast you want him to get started on and the legs tucked in your same arm just like a football. This position is also called the clutch hold.
The Cross-Cradle Hold
This position is very much similar to the original cradle hold. This position gives all the benefits of the cradle hold and is almost the same. The only variation is that in this position the hands and arms switch roles. The body of the baby still lies on the forearm but this time it’s the opposite forearm from the breast. Rest your palm behind between the shoulder blades of the baby, the thumb behind one ear and the fingers behind the other ear to fully support the baby.
Different mothers prefer different styles but the ultimate goal is to have good latches that increase milk supply. If you have trouble with your milk supply due to a bad latch you can opt for breastfeeding drinks to boost milk production but breastfeeding must continue as it’s the best gift you can give the baby.