Breast Feeding Positions
July 6, 2016
Breastfeeding is a natural and beautiful process which is recommended for all mothers so as to ensure that their baby(ies) are able to get the necessary nutrients and antibodies needed for healthy growth and development.
However, while breastfeeding is a natural process it is not an easy one and some mothers may face a bit of difficulty at the beginning as they try to get the process going. In order to help make the process a blissful one, regardless of the position you opt to use, it is important to remember to:
a) Try and relax before you begin to breastfeed and find a comfortable position, for example through using cushions or a nursing pillow. You can also have a drink with you to help you stay hydrated and boost your milk supply.
b) Bring your baby to the breast and not the breast to your baby though making sure not to make your baby strain.
c) Keep your baby’s ear, shoulder and hip all in one line and not twisted, with his/her head, neck, back and bottom carefully supported.
d) Bring your baby close to you such that they do not need to strain to reach the breast and that you do not need to hunch forward to feed them. It’s important that both you and your baby(ies) are all comfortable regardless of the breastfeeding position.
e) Support your breast with your free hand using either a C-hold (cupping the bottom part of your breast with your four fingers keeping your thumb on top all positioned away from the areola) or a V-hold (placing your breast between your index and middle finger placed away from the areola).
In this article you will find visual guides and directions to the below breastfeeding positions.
For one Child: For Twins:
a) Cradle hold f) Cross-cradle position (twins)
b) Cross-cradle position g) Clutch or Football hold (twins)
c) Clutch or Football Hold h) Mixed hold (twins)
d) Semi-reclining position
e) Side-lying position
BREAST FEEDING POSITIONS:
a) Cradle hold
In this position, your baby should be lying on his/her side with her face, stomach and knees directly facing you. His or her head should be rested comfortably on your elbow on the same side from which s/he is feeding from. That is, if your baby is feeding from your right breast then his/her head should be rested on your right elbow with your right arm supporting his/her back and your right hand supporting his/her bottom as shown in the image above.
This position is good for full term babies who have strong neck muscles.
b) Cross-cradle position
This position is the reverse of the cradle hold in that if your baby is breastfeeding from your right breast then his or her head should be supported by your left hand with his or her back supported by your left arm. Remember that your baby’s face, stomach and knees should still be facing you as in the cradle position as shown in the image.
This position is good for smaller babies or babies who have a problem latching as you can easily guide their mouth to your breast.
c) Clutch or Football Hold
In this position your baby will be tucked under your arm like a clutch bag or football, hence the name ‘the football hold’. S/he should be facing upwards with his or her nose in level with your nipple and their back, shoulders, neck and head carefully supported by your arm which should be strategically placed on top of a pillow as shown in the image. Guide your baby to your breast with your other hand by slowly moving your nipple towards his/her chin upwards.
This position is good for mothers who have large breast or those who have undergone a caesarean section and are still nursing their wound.
d) Semi-reclining position
In this position, your baby will lie vertically on you in line with the breast from which s/he is feeding from. If your baby is breastfeeding from your left breast, support his or her head with your right arm and her back and bottom with your left arm and hand respectively as shown in the image.
This position is good for mothers who have undergone a caesarean section and are still nursing their wound.
e) Side-lying position
In this position you and your baby should lie down parallel to each other with you lying on the side from which you plan to breastfeed from. That is, if you plan to breastfeed with your left breast you should lie down on your left side with your left arm tucked underneath your head and your baby’s mouth in line with your nipple as shown in the image. It is okay to place a soft baby pillow below your baby’s head to raise it slightly so that s/he can reach your breast without straining.
This position is good for mothers who are looking to breastfeed while lying on the bed, for example at night or those who have undergone a cesarean section and are still nursing their wound.
f) Cross-cradle position (twins)
This is similar to the cradle position only that you are breastfeeding two babies at the same time. The baby’s heads should be away from each other with their legs crisscrossed giving you better control of their bodies as shown in the image.
This position is most effective when the twins are younger since as they get older they will often then get in the way of each other’s feeding.
g) Clutch or Football hold (twins)
This position is similar to the football hold or clutch hold only that you will be breastfeeding two babies at the same time. In this position the babies have their bodies parallel to each other on each side of your body as shown in the image.
This position is good for mothers who have large breast or those who have undergone a cesarean section and are still nursing their wound.
h) Mixed hold (twins)
In this position we combine both the cradle hold using it on one baby and the football hold using it on the other baby. For example, you could place one baby in the cradle position to breastfeed from your left breast while placing your other baby in the football hold to breastfeed from your right breast. Remember to effectively position and support both babies using your arms and pillows as explained under each individual position’s image (‘a’ and ‘c’).
This position is good for babies who have different positioning preferences and different latching capabilities.
All images in this article are By BruceBlaus via Wikimedia Commons