There are several different positions which make breastfeeding comfortable for you and your baby. You may vary in these positions depending on the time of day and the growth of your baby.
Proper positioning is key to your comfort, adequate milk production, infant growth and the prevention of sore nipples, engorgement and breast infections.
Find a comfortable position, with your back, feet and arms supported. Often, a favourite chair is best. You might find a footstool helpful, too. It helps if the chair has a straight back so you do not lean backwards. Many mothers find sitting with their legs crossed under them provides more support to the baby.
Your baby should be supported at breast level. Try using blankets or pillows to lift her up to the right level so that your arm doesn’t tire. You also don’t want baby sliding down; this leads to pulling on your nipple and can be quite painful. Check out the commercial breastfeeding cushions on the market, too.
Supporting the breast with your hand in the C-hold is helpful in helping baby to latch on properly. With the C-hold, the fingers are placed under the breast, with the thumb on top, well back from the areola.
This position is exactly what it sounds like – it’s similar to carrying a football.
It is a good position to vary pressure on sore nipples, and it’s also good for women who have had Caesarean births, who have large breasts or flat nipples, as well as for premature infants or twins.
- Sit up straight in an arm chair or on a couch.
- Support baby on a pillow against your side, with baby’s head and back lying against your hand and forearm.
- Flex baby’s legs up behind your back, against the surface of the chair.
- Your opposite hand supports the breast.
This is easy to learn and the most common daytime position.
- Your arms will be wrapped around the base of the baby’s head, in the crook of your arm, with the back supported by your forearm and the buttocks or thighs cupped by your hand. The opposite hand supports the breast with the C-hold.
- Baby should be on her side with her stomach pulled in close to yours.
- Some mothers find that sitting crosslegged in a cradle hold with a pillow under the baby helps provide more support.
Modified Cradle Hold
This position is similar to the cradle hold but uses both arms. It is often the easiest position during the learning period and is also good for premature infants.
- The breast is supported with the hand on the same side, and the baby is held with the arm on the opposite side. Your arm supports baby’s hips and back while the palm of your hand supports her shoulder and head.
Lying Down (side-lying)
This position is good for resting and it’s the best position if you have pain from an episiotomy or Caesarean incision. It can be tricky to learn, however, so have someone show you the proper way to do it until you’ve got the hang of it.