Breastfeeding Positions: Guide For New Mothers

Breastfeeding Positions

No matter how long you’ve been a mother (whether a day old or a decade), you know how important breastfeeding is to your baby. It’s a common knowledge that mother’s milk takes care of all the nutrition in early days of baby. Listed below are some interesting  facts about breastfeeding that you should know as you begin this journey.

  • According to a UNICEF,  a breastfed child has minimum six times greater chance at survival as compared to a non-breastfed child in the initial months.
  • Every new mother can breastfeed. In cases of complexities, accurate aids, guidance,  and assistance with positions should be provided. It is an equally advantageous process for both the mother and the baby.
  • For the first six months, breastfeeding provides all the required nutrients to the baby, without any requirement for supplements; from assisting in fighting diseases to positively influencing the life of the child, breastfeeding has an umbrella impact.
  • The ideal duration of breastfeeding is six months, followed by continued and mixed breastfeeding for upto two years. The latter can always vary according to the baby’s and your requirements.
  • With the right breastfeeding position, there are more chances of continued milk production and successful breast feeding.

With enough know-how on how essential breastfeeding is, next important question that pops up in young mothers is about breastfeeding positions; for if the baby is not comfortable, not only s/he will not be able to latch onto your breasts but also it will cause quite a bit of discomfort to you.

If you are treading upon this path for the first time, at this point, you are probably wondering what the right position for your baby is, or possibly deciding on one. Listed below are some breastfeeding techniques and positions which can make the process as simple as it is beautiful, and help you to ensure that your new born stays healthy and so do you.

Breastfeeding Positions For Your Baby

Dancer Hand Position

Dancer Hand Breastfeeding Position
Dancer Hand Breastfeeding Position

This position is directed towards supporting the baby’s jaws while the baby feeds. The breast is to be cupped with three fingers, whereas the index finger and the thumb hold and support the baby’s chin. Dancer Hand position helps when the baby is struggling to maintain the suction, or is unable to latch onto the breast altogether.  For babies with a particularly low muscle tone, provide a gentle hand support, along with the dancer hand position . It provides you with maximum control.  This position works best with large breasts, small babies,  babies with disabilities like down syndrome , and for caesarian recovery.

Laid Back Breastfeeding Position

Laid Back Breastfeeding Position
Laid Back Breastfeeding Position

This position is one of the most relaxed positions for breastfeeding. It relies more upon baby’s natural instincts rather than the mother doing the accommodating job. Just lay down in a relaxed position, place the baby on your belly , and let the baby figure out its way towards the nipple. This position helps the baby in latching onto the nipple, in a faster and easier manner.  Your hands will be free, and hence, can be used to support the baby’s route to the nipple. If you have had a cesarean delivery, this position is not advisable, although if you wish to try it, you can make sure that the baby does not come around your belly.

Laying Side Position

Laying Side Breastfeeding Position
Laying Side Breastfeeding Position

Another position that does not require you to sit up while breastfeeding. It is similar to laid back /laying down position, but unlike the laid back position, it can be practiced when you have had a caesarian delivery.  Simply lay down on your side, and lay your baby  down , on his side, at the level of your breasts, and feet pointed towards the direction of your feet.   You can use pillows as a prop, under your head and between your knees to feel at ease. Remember to support the baby’s head. Bend your knees to avoid joint and back pain.

Football Hold

Football Hold Breastfeeding Position
Football Hold Breastfeeding Position

Just like the name suggests, tuck your baby between your arm and your side. In the football hold position, make sure that you hands are supporting the baby’s shoulders and he is reaching the breast from underneath. Placing your hands on the head will lead to pressure on the chin , causing problems while latching. This position works well if you have had a caesarian delivery, or the baby is small and has difficulty in latching. It is also one of the most suited positions for feeding twins.

Dangled Breastfeeding Position

Dangled Breastfeeding Position
Dangled Breastfeeding Position

Dangled feeding is mostly used when you have a blockage in the duct or a condition such as mastitis . By leaning over the baby, the nipple is dangled in its mouth , and this eases the flow , owing to gravity.  In order to avoid straining your back and shoulders, make use of cushions and pillows. It is a tenuous position, hence it is advised not to practice it constantly, but it works well when mixed with other suitable positions.

Cradle Hold Position

Cradle Hold Breastfeeding Position
Cradle Hold Breastfeeding Position

The cradle hold is one of the most popularly employed breastfeeding positions, owning to the comfort it provides to the new born. The baby is placed on mother’s arms, head is placed towards the elbow, and the arms act as a back support. Ensure that you are seated in a comfortable position and the baby is facing towards your chest, is aligned with the rest of your body and is not turned on the other side.

Cross Cradle Hold

Cross Cradle Hold Breastfeeding Position
Cross Cradle Hold Breastfeeding Position

A position similar to that of the cradle position. The only difference is that instead of using the same arm, you use the opposite arm to hold and provide support, and the same arm can be used to adjust the breast and facilitate the nursing if required. This helps you to guide and control the baby, as it latches.

Upright Hold

Upright Hold Breastfeeding Position
Upright Hold Breastfeeding Position

If your baby is old enough to breast feed while sitting up or as the name suggests, is comfortable in an upright position while nursing, it can prove to be a very comfortable position.  The baby should be facing towards you, and you can place one hand on the back of the neck, between the shoulder blades, in order to provide the support while feeding. This position is most convenient when the milk ejection is of high pressure or forceful,  or the baby has a problem in swallowing. This position is not suggested post C-section deliveries.

 

The nursing experience is a unique process and has its own pace for different mothers. No matter the position, always ensure that the body of the baby is not far away from the breast, that you are not hunched over the baby, and lastly, that the baby’s head and body are in the same direction at all times. Remember that there is no such thing as the most accurate or the best breastfeeding method or position. It all depends on the position you and your younger one is the most comfortable in.

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