Breastfeeding might be technically the same for all women, but as breastfeeding mothers will know, no one woman’s experience is quite like the others.
This is true for milk supply, baby preference, and breastfeeding position.
Some mothers struggle to find a breastfeeding position, or a series of positions, that work for them. Feeding sessions can last 30 minutes, so it’s important that both mum and bub are comfortable throughout. Not being comfortable might lead to your baby not latching properly, or not getting the hind milk they need to grow. Incorrect or unsuited positions can also leave mums feeling exhausted and over it.
So, we thought we’d bring together some of the most popular breastfeeding positions. Have a go at some of these for your next feed, or talk to your doctor or a lactation consultant about how these positions can work for you.
1. Cradle Hold
This is probably the most common breastfeeding position that women opt for when they start to breastfeed. The Cradle Hold involves holding the baby across your lap, supporting the child with the same arm as the breast they are feeding from. You can do this position sitting in a chair or on a bed with pillows. You’ll also want to rest your feet on a raised surface to stop you from leaning down towards the baby. Some women do say that the Cradle Hold can make it harder to guide the newborn to the nipple, so you might have more success with this hold when your child has stronger neck muscles, after about 4 weeks.
2. Cross-Cradle Hold
The Cross-Cradle or Cross-Over Hold is almost the same as the Cradle Hold but instead of using the same arm as the breast from which the baby is feeding, you support the baby with the opposite arm of the breast. This means if you’re nursing from your left breast, you’ll use your right hand and arm to hold your baby. This is a great hold for smaller babies, or babies who have trouble latching on as it makes it easy for mum to assist the baby in getting the latch.
3. Side-Lying Hold
The Side-Lying Hold, also called the Reclining Position, is when you nurse laying on your side, usually in bed. You can ask your partner to stack several pillows behind your back in order to support you, and you can also place a pillow under your head and shoulders, and in between your bent knees. The aim here is to keep your back and hips in a straight line. This is a good hold for women with a large bust, but women with a smaller bust can boost their baby up with a pillow or receiving blanket if they cannot reach the breast. Remember, this hold is for night nursing!