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5 Best Breastfeeding Positions

Updated on November 12, 2016
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Whitney is a mom trying to evoke a healthy, happy life for herself and her family.

There is no one right position to breastfeed your newborn. There are actually five different positions that can be comfortable for you and your baby. You may find that your baby feeds better in one position over another, so if you're having trouble getting your baby to fully feed, you may want to find a different position that she likes better.

Even if you've found a position that works for you and your baby, you may still want to mix it up based on where you are or the time of day. For example, a cradle hold may be most comfortable during the day, whereas lying down at night may be more comfortable.

Plus, some say that mixing up the breastfeeding positions can prevent your baby from applying pressure to the same spot every time he feeds.

1. Cradle Hold

Good for: Most moms and babies

  • Sit in a comfortable chair with support for your arms and back.
  • Support your breast with your hand in a cupped U-shape and place your baby across your stomach so that you are belly to belly.
  • The baby's head should be in the bend of your elbow and her nose directly in front of your nipple.
  • Use a pillow to support your arm, and tuck the baby's lower arm around your wait so that it's out of the way.

If you're correctly positioned, your baby's body should form a straight line from one ear to her should to her hip.

2. Cross-Cradle Hold

Good for: Moms who are having trouble with latch-on and those with small or premature babies. This position lets you see the latch-on better than the traditional cradle hold.

  • Sit in a comfortable chair that supports your arms and back.
  • Hold your baby across your body in the arm opposite the breast that she will be feeding from.
  • Position the baby as you would for the cradle hold, but use your other arm to hold her.
  • Support your baby's head with the palm of your hand at the base of her neck.
  • Make sure that your baby is level with your breast. You want her body turned toward you.
  • You can tuck your baby's bottom into the crook of your arm.

3. Football Hold

Good for: Mothers who had a C-section, mothers with large breasts, flat or inverted nipples, or a strong let-down reflex. It's also helpful for babies who prefer to be more upright. The hold allows you to better see and control your baby's head and to keep the baby away from a C-section incision.

  • Hold your baby at your side, lying on her back with her head at the level of your nipple.
  • Support baby's head with the palm of your hand at the base of the head.

4. Laid-Back or "Biological Nursing"

Good for: Moms who would like an alternative to supporting the nursing baby with their arms. In this position, mothers are more comfortable and their infants are able to latch more easily , as the baby is securely positioned against the mother's body and the baby's reflexes assist in latching on.

  • Find a comfortable position that is semi-reclined.
  • Make sure your arms and torso are well supported.
  • Place the baby on your stomach between your breasts, allowing the baby's reflexes to help her find the nipple.

5. Lying Down

Good for: An alternative position, especially at night or when sitting is uncomfortable.

  • Lie on your side, using one pillow to support your head and another along your back. You want your head and necked comfortably propped up with pillows or your arm.
  • Position your baby so she's facing you. Pull your baby close so your baby faces your body and her mouth is opposite your nipple.
  • Putt a pillow behind your baby's back to support her.
  • Support your breast with your free hand.
  • When your baby opens her mouth, pull her onto your breast to latch on.

Which position did/do you and your baby prefer?

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