In the first weeks after your baby is born, it may feel like you’re always breastfeeding. You will spend a lot of time feeding and bonding with your baby, so make sure you find comfortable breastfeeding positions while you do it. There are some ways to hold your baby that will make feeding easier for both you and your baby.
Shortly after delivery, you may choose the laid-back hold. Babies lying on their mother’s chest right after birth can seek out the nipple and begin to breastfeed on their own.
Lie back in a reclining position and place your baby on your stomach, tummy to tummy. To make it more comfortable for you, adjust the direction your baby’s feet are pointing. In this position, your baby may find your nipple on his own, or you may need to guide him.
If you’ve had a cesarean delivery, the football hold may be the most comfortable. Just as you would hold a football, tuck your baby’s body between your body and your arm. A pillow can be placed underneath your baby for support.
While you and your baby are still getting used to latching on, the cross-cradle hold may be a good position for you both. In this position you can hold your breast with one hand while your baby’s head rests in the palm of your other hand, giving you more control to guide him to your breast. Support your baby with your hand under his neck by his ears and pull him to your nipple.
As you and your baby become more comfortable with feeding, you can use the cradle hold. In this hold, cradle your baby’s head in the crook of your arm. Let your baby’s back rest on your forearm and hold his buttocks in the palm of your hand. Sit upright and use a pillow to bring your baby up to your chest level. Some women find putting their feet on a step-stool helpful. Don’t lean over your baby. These tips will help prevent backaches.
And finally, the side-lying position allows you to rest while your child feeds. Lie in a bed side-by-side with your baby facing you. This position is helpful if you’ve had a cesarean delivery, or an episiotomy. But make sure you don’t fall asleep with your baby in this position, or any position. Always put your baby in his crib or bassinet to sleep after feeding.
Whatever position you find most comfortable for you and your baby, remember when you’re nursing, your baby should always face your nipple. His ears, shoulders and hips should be in good alignment. And his nose, cheeks and chin should be touching your breast.
Go ahead and try different positions for you and your baby. You may find you have more control using one hold or another. And when you find the right hold or holds for you and your baby you can relax, settle in and enjoy the time it takes to feed your baby.