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Ultimate Newborn Breastfeeding Positions for Happy Moms and Babies

You can find dozens of breastfeeding positions on the internet, but you need to make sure they’re safe for you and your baby. Here at Flo, we’ve carefully picked out the best breastfeeding positions for you.
Mother feeding her baby side lying

Best breastfeeding positions

There are many different options for breastfeeding positions. It really comes down to finding the best breastfeeding position for you and your baby. Newborns tend to be a little more particular about the position they want to be in when nursing. As your baby gets older and heavier, you may want to consider other breastfeeding positions. Here are a few suggestions for different breastfeeding positions. 

Cradle hold

The cradle hold is the most common position for breastfeeding and the first that most new moms try. The cradle hold is the way most people hold babies and the one that most lactation consultants will suggest as a newborn breastfeeding position. One of the great things about the cradle hold is that you can use it whether you’re standing, sitting, or lying down. To master this breastfeeding position, hold your baby on your lap while supporting their head and back with the arm on the same side as the breast they’re nursing from.

Cross-cradle hold

This upright breastfeeding position is similar to the cradle hold. The only difference is that you support your baby’s head and back with the arm on the opposite side of the breast you’re nursing on. 

Football hold

This breastfeeding position is helpful if you’ve had a C-section and are still feeling sore. The football hold is an upright breastfeeding position where a pillow on your lap supports the baby’s head and back. Position the baby so the top of their head faces away from you and their feet stretch toward your back. The baby will lie next to you instead of on your lap, and you’ll be able to look at their face as they nurse. This is also one of the best positions for breastfeeding twins.

Side-lying position

The side-lying is a good breastfeeding position when your baby gets a little older and doesn’t need as much help finding the nipple or supporting their head. In this position, you lie on your side with your baby parallel to you, heads facing the same direction. Make sure to support your head and back so you stay comfortable while the baby is nursing. Just be careful not to fall asleep and accidentally block your baby’s airway with your breast. This is the main reason to wait until your baby is older before trying this position. It’s not suggested as one of the newborn breastfeeding positions. 

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Breastfeeding positions

Laid-back breastfeeding

The laid-back breastfeeding position isn’t as blase as it sounds. It is probably better described as a reclined breastfeeding position. Get comfortable on a sofa or bed, leaning back slightly and using pillows or a cushion for support. Lay the baby tummy down on your stomach with their head toward your chest. This position is more about bonding and less about correct positioning. It also encourages the baby to find your nipple and develop good nursing skills. 

Koala hold

The koala hold is probably the upright breastfeeding position that you will use most. With this breastfeeding position, the baby sits on your leg, facing you. The baby’s legs straddle your thigh, and you cradle their head in your hand as they nurse. This is another alternative for moms who have had a C-section because it’s a natural breastfeeding position that gives a little space between mom and baby.

Dangle feeding

If you’re experiencing a blocked or plugged milk duct, then this breastfeeding position might be the best solution for you. The dangle feeding position allows you to place your baby flat on your lap, dangling your breast over them to nurse. The advantage of this breastfeeding position is that gravity helps the milk flow toward the nipple and clear blocked/plugged milk ducts. 

Positions for breastfeeding twins

Correct breastfeeding positions for twins can be tricky. As stated earlier, the best breastfeeding position for moms with twins is the football hold. It allows you to watch both babies’ faces as they nurse, supporting both with a pillow. It’s hard to nurse two babies at the same time in any other breastfeeding position. The football hold also allows you to have a hand free to support their head or help them latch on. 

Inappropriate positions for breastfeeding

The only breastfeeding positions for babies that might be considered inappropriate are those that may cause harm. The primary focus is on the baby’s ability to breathe while feeding. Another thing to keep in mind is that correct positioning makes nursing far more comfortable. If your baby is experiencing more gas than normal or having trouble keeping up with the flow of milk (particularly with the let-down reflex), then a more upright breastfeeding position may work better. 

Some foods and medications you take while breastfeeding may also upset your baby. If you have any questions or concerns about these, speak with your primary care provider or your child’s pediatrician. They can provide you with a list of things to avoid while breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding twin babies

Tools for breastfeeding

Today, there are tons of breastfeeding tools and gadgets available for you and your baby. If you only invest in two things, here are the two worth considering: a nursing pillow and sling.

Nursing pillow

The nursing pillows on the market have been designed specifically to help you achieve the most comfortable breastfeeding position possible. Having one of these pillows exclusively for you and your baby means that it hasn’t been used by anyone else on a bed or sofa. Secondly, they’re made with removable covers that you can easily wash whenever necessary. You can often buy additional pillowcases as well. 

Nursing sling

You can use a nursing sling to hold your baby in a comfortable position that allows you to have one or both hands free. These slings also provide some coverage when you are nursing in public. You can adjust them for different breastfeeding positions and wash them as needed. 

Breastfeeding provides your baby with proper nutrition and is available on-demand wherever you go. It can serve as a method of contraception and helps your uterus return to its non-pregnancy state. Once you and your baby get used to breastfeeding, finding the best breastfeeding position may be an easy way to get even more comfortable. When your baby is nursing, you can relax and enjoy some bonding time.

https://www.llli.org/breastfeeding-info/positioning/
https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/Breastfeeding/Pages/default.aspx
http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/129/3/e827
https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=ZoakDAAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=breastfeeding+positioning&ots=726qrgg3O-&sig=XAY1jRJQw5RMkJb5E5VetLMBrbk#v=onepage&q=breastfeeding%20positioning&f=false
https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/bfm.2016.0193

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