Breastfeeding isn't always easy and comfortable for beginners. Babies can often nurse instinctively, but it can take some time for both mom and baby to get into the swing of things. Breastfeeding can be a beautiful bonding experience, and little things like insecurities can take away from that. There are ways to help prepare yourself by learning and practicing.
Top Four Positions & Their Benefits
The Cradle Hold
The cradle is a common position for older babies that have an easy time latching. It can be a little more challenging to control a newborn's head while nursing in this position.
The cross-cradle hold offers the most control. That in itself causes many parents to prefer this position during the first few weeks after the baby is born.
Lay your little one on their side, ensuring they are well-supported (a nursing pillow is beneficial) and touching you. When feeding with your left breast, use your right arm to support your baby's body and your right hand to support their head. Your fingers will support the left breast.
Side-lying is really popular during the first few feeds and the night. However, if your baby has difficulties with latching on, you might try another position.
Lie on your left side if feeding with your left breast. Make sure your back is supported. Lay the baby on their side facing you, with their chest against yours. Your right arm supports the baby's body, and your right hand supports their head. Some moms are more comfortable having the baby supported in the nook of their arm. Use a pillow behind the baby's back to stop them from rolling away while feeding.
The Football Technique
The football hold has been said to be great for beginners and bigger babies. The hold is easy, allowing mothers to focus on latching, and once that's down, you can move on to trying other techniques. This cradle hold is excellent for mothers who birthed their baby cesarean because it helps keep the baby away from the incision site. Women with long torsos and smaller breasts may find this position isn't comfortable or useful.
Hold the baby at your side, lengthwise, and face up. Use pillows to help support them. If nursing on your left side, use your left arm to keep the baby at your left side. Guide their head toward your breast. Their bottom should be close to you, your elbow, and their legs and feet tucked under your arm.
Breastfeeding is a process, and it takes time to get used to. You can have three children and still struggle a bit with learning what works best for each baby. After all, they're individuals, and some babies don't like being help this way or that. Ease into it, find the best flow for both of you, and then roll with it.
Sitting with your baby lengthwise, across your abdomen. You can use a pillow to bring them up to breast height if that helps. Your elbow will support their head and your hand, their bottom. Your opposite hand supports the breasts, so if you're feeding with your left breast, the baby should be cradled in your left arm; it's vice versa for the opposite position.