With a new baby at home, you’re still getting used to what life looks like with a little one (or another little one!). If you’ve decided to breastfeed, which breastfeeding positions work best for you and your baby is another aspect of motherhood that you’ll need to figure out.
Each mom and baby is different, and there is no one “right” position for breastfeeding. In this article, the baby experts at Mustela offer some general tips for breastfeeding, followed by explanations of common breastfeeding positions.
But before we get to that, we’re going to take a quick look at why your breastfeeding position is so important!
Why Breastfeeding Positions Are Important
In addition to simply keeping you comfortable, finding a good breastfeeding position is important for one main reason: it helps your baby to latch on correctly.
When your little one doesn’t latch on correctly to your nipple, they might not feed well or get enough milk. An incorrect latch can also cause some pretty uncomfortable damage to your nipples and put you at risk for soreness or cracking.
For healthy and comfortable breastfeeding, experiment with various breastfeeding positions to find the best one. If you’ve found a couple that work for you, you can even change positions every now and then. This switch-up could help avoid sore nipples.
Expert tip: Whether you already have sore nipples or just want to show them a little TLC during these breastfeeding days, apply Mustela’s Nursing Comfort Balm!
This soothing nipple cream will ease discomfort and moisturize sensitized nipples. Plus, it’s environmentally friendly, made of 100% naturally derived ingredients, and safe for both you and your baby during prenatal and postpartum pregnancy.
3 Tips For Breastfeeding
To help breastfeeding go as smoothly as possible, here are a few simple things you can do for yourself and your little bundle of joy.
1) Watch For Your Baby’s Hunger Cues
If your baby is crying, they might be ready for some milk! But crying is a late hunger cue and means that your baby is really hungry. If that’s the case, you might have a harder time getting them to latch on correctly.
Instead of waiting for your little one to cry, look for earlier hunger cues that tell you they’re ready to nurse. You may notice them sucking on their fingers or opening their mouth and moving their head side-to-side, which is called rooting.
2) Be Prepared
Before you sit down to nurse, collect everything you might need. Remember you could be sitting there for a while!
To make yourself comfortable, you may want a couple of pillows or a breastfeeding pillow. Then grab a book, your phone, the tv remote, or whatever else might help you relax and enjoy this time.
Don’t forget to pour something to sip on while you nurse. Also, make a potty stop beforehand so you won’t be squirming halfway through nursing!
3) Take Care Of Your Skin
In more than one way, breastfeeding takes quite a toll on a mom’s body! You look after your little one every day — take care of yourself as well by tending to your breasts.
Apply Mustela’s Bust Firming Serum to nourish and hydrate your breasts, neck, and neckline. Safe to use while breastfeeding, this serum will tone your skin and give it a firmer look and feel!
Common Breastfeeding Positions
No matter which breastfeeding position you use, lend a hand to help your baby latch on correctly. Touch their upper lip with your nipple so they open their mouth big and wide.
Then, bring their head to your breast (not your breast to their head) and put their chin to your breast first, followed by their mouth.
If you have to take baby off for any reason, break the suction by gently pushing down on your skin near their mouth or inserting your finger into the corner of their mouth. Don’t cause yourself unnecessary pain by unlatching suddenly!
Without further ado, we’ll explain a few of the common breastfeeding positions so you can give them a try for yourself.
The cradle hold is one of the most common breastfeeding positions and probably what you imagine when you think of breastfeeding.
Sit up and hold your little one in your arm on the same side as the breast you’ll use. Their head will be in the bend of your elbow, facing your breast, with that forearm and hand holding the rest of their body.
You and your little one should be facing each other. Your other hand will be free to cup your breast if needed.
With the cradle hold, your baby is held with the same arm as the breast you’re nursing from. But with this breastfeeding position, the crossover hold, you hold your baby with the opposite arm.
If you’re nursing from your left breast, hold your baby’s head in your right hand and let their body rest on your right forearm. Your wrist will be on their upper back and you can use your fingers to support their head behind their ears.
You’ll have your other hand free to support your breast or, if all is going well, relax and take a sip of tea!
Just based on its name, you can probably guess how this breastfeeding position works. Lean back or recline (you don’t have to lie completely flat), and then put your baby face down on your stomach with their head at your breast.
The positioning of their body doesn’t have to be exact as long as you’re front-to-front with them and they can reach your nipple to latch on. (This position is great for skin-to-skin contact!)
You may end up directing your nipple toward their mouth, but many babies automatically latch on in this position.
If you’ve had a C-section and need to protect your stomach (or just want to switch things up!), try the laid-back position with your baby’s body across your shoulder.
This position also involves you and baby lying down facing each other, except on your side.
Lie down on the side of the breast you’re going to give first and place your baby on their side facing you. Their mouth should be at the level of your nipple. You’ll have your top arm and hand free to cup your breast.
Make gravity work to your advantage with this breastfeeding position. Dangle feeding is exactly what it sounds like — you let your breasts dangle so your baby can nurse.
For this position, your baby will always be flat on their back but your position can vary somewhat. One option is to put your baby on the floor and get on all fours.
You can also experiment with leaning over your little one while they are lying flat on the couch or bed. Another easy way to do this is to sit on the couch and lean over your baby lying in your lap.
While it’s not the most comfortable position, dangle feeding might be useful for you if you have mastitis or a blocked duct. Gravity will do its best to pull the milk down and clear a blocked duct.
In this position, hold your baby’s head with your hand on the same side as the breast you’re giving. Then tuck your baby’s body between your arm and your side.
The football hold works especially well for twins or for mommies who have a tender tummy from a C-section.
The koala hold is an upright breastfeeding position, which means you and your little one are both upright, usually sitting.
This position is perfect for older ones who can hold themselves up without any help, but you can also do the koala hold with new babies if you give them plenty of support.
Sit with your baby also in a sitting position on one or both of your legs, their head at your breast. If your little one is big enough, their legs should straddle your thigh so they’re completely facing you, not twisted.
Make Breastfeeding Work For You And Your Baby
Try the positions mentioned in this article to find what works best for both you and your baby. And don’t forget to take care of yourself in the process! Use Mustela’s Bust Firming Serum and our Nursing Comfort Balm to care for your hardworking breasts.
Breastfeeding can be frustrating and challenging at times, but once you find the right breastfeeding position, you’ll savor the moments you get to spend snuggling and nursing your little one!
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