If you just welcomed your baby into the world, you may be struggling a little bit to find the best breastfeeding positions.
If you've chosen to nurse your child over formula, you will soon realise that breastfeeding can sometimes feel awkward if both you and the baby don't get into the right position.
However, the goal here is to find one that's comfortable for you, especially one that doesn't cause you a terrible backache in the process, and at the same time it allows your child to latch on your breast (basically, so that he can be fed properly). To do so, many mummies try out different postures until they hit the jackpot.
There are many things to take into account when breastfeeding, so you may be feeling a little overwhelmed. You need to think about what foods to avoid, and breastfeeding itself is something new and challenging. Do you need advice on picking the breastfeeding position that works best for you? Then pay attention and take note of these:
Breastfeeding positions: Laid-back
When we think of a nursing mum and her baby, this is probably the 'classic' position that we picture. You need to find a comfortable position, reclined or semi-reclined, and with your little one lying all across your stomach or shoulder, instead. This is such a good position for both of you, since it prevents you from getting muscle tension on your back and it also makes the baby feel extra supported, with your body beneath.
Breastfeeding positions: Side-lying hold
Try lying down, resting your head or the arm supporting your head on a pillow, and keep the baby parallel to you. Use your free hand to support your munchkin and guide him to your nipple. If you can, place another pillow behind your back. Among breastfeeding positions, this may be one of the most relaxing.
Breastfeeding positions: Cradle hold
You should sit upright and use both arms to hold your baby across your lap. One of the arms has to support the child's head so that he can reach your breast. The 'cradle effect' produced by this position can help him settle as well.
Breastfeeding positions: Rugby ball hold or underarm
As you may expect, this breastfeeding position makes it look as if you were grabbing a rugby ball. How? Well, by placing your baby at your side (it's even better if you put pillows previously) and tucking him under your arm. Your baby's legs lie past your back, and you can use your hand close to the breast he'll suckle from to support his neck and head. This is a posture that works really well in case of having twins, since you can place both at each side of your body and breastfeed them simultaneously. Needless to say, the underarm position provides you with good rest, because you are just partially holding your munchkin.
Breastfeeding positions: Koala hold
Yes, koala! As if your child were a cute koala, this position sets him straddled across your knees while you are sitting upright. Use a hand to support his back and hold it against your breast. If he needs extra help, you can accommodate the chosen breast with the other hand.
Breastfeeding positions: Laid-back breastfeeding after a C-section
And what would happen if you needed a C-section to give birth? Obviously, you have fewer choices when it comes to breastfeeding positions. You shouldn't have any problem by adopting the 'rugby ball hold' one, but if you need an extra one, you can lie back, semi-reclined, with your child lying vertically on you. Place a pillow at your side, so that his legs and feet can be cushioned, and tuck him into your forearm.
Other position-related tips
Besides establishing a suitable position, when you start breastfeeding there are many details that you should be aware of. For example, make sure you don't lean over your child trying to stuff your nipple into his mouth. Instead, bring him forward, towards your breast, and let him latch on it. If he can't do this the right way, you could end up suffering from sore nipples!
Also, when he's suckling your milk, be sure that both the nipple and the areola are covered by his mouth. Another thing to keep in mind is that your baby should be lined up while being breastfed, so check his body to make sure it isn't twisted round. Finally, and as said earlier, don't hesitate to use as many pillows as you need to make breastfeeding more comfortable. They will help reduce the chances for you to get muscle strains.
If you're in need of some extra help, here you have other breastfeeding tips.
In short, there are many breastfeeding positions for you to consider through the nursing stage. After all, your final choice will depend on which one feels the most comfortable for both of you. However, by knowing and practising some, you can combine the different postures and decide on the most convenient one according to the circumstances. That may be very useful if, for instance, you are not home and need to stop and feed your baby. In a case like this, it's better to be prepared rather than improvising.