Before you get yourself and baby into a good position for breastfeeding, make sure baby is awake and alert and showing early signs of hunger. It’s very stimulating for baby to have skin-to-skin contact, so undress him down into his diaper and cradle him nice and close to you. Sing a song, talk to him gently and get him ready for a feeding. If baby is particularly fussy or crying, calm him before offering the breast.
- It is important that you are comfortable while you are nursing your baby. Early nursing sessions can be long, especially if baby falls asleep (so sweet!) Be nice to your back and shoulders and get them comfortable to avoid knotting and pain in these areas.
- Sit upright, making sure that your back, shoulders and knees are well-supported (this may require a couple extra pillows to be placed where needed).
- Have a pillow on your lap to bring baby to breast-level
- If you’re in a lower chair, use a footstool to bring your knees up. You should not have to bend, strain or lean to get baby closer to your breast.
- Now that you are comfortable (with a nice glass of water beside you!) get baby ready for breastfeeding.
- CRADLE HOLD
- Nestle baby in your arm so that his neck rests in the bend of your elbow, his back along your forearm, his buttocks in your hand.
- Turn baby on his side, so that he is facing you tummy to tummy. Pull him close to you, so that his body wraps around yours. His head and neck should be straight and in line with his body, not arched backward or turned sideways (you should be able to draw an invisible straight line from his ear to shoulder, to hip). Baby should not have to turn his head or strain upward to reach your nipple. The breast should be right there in front of his little mouth.
- If those little, tiny arms are flailing away, tuck the lower arm under baby's body, into the soft pocket of your midriff. You can hold the upper arm down with the thumb of the hand that is holding him. Or, try swaddling.
- FOOTBALL (CLUTCH) HOLD (may be more comfortable for moms who have had c-sections, multiple births or with babies who have some difficulty latching on, are smaller, or premature.)
- This position gives better control of baby’s neck. Baby is also bent at the waist here, which allows better relaxation for some babies. If baby is relaxed, latching will be better.
- Place a pillow at your side, bringing baby to breast level.
- Place baby onto the pillow with his legs tucked under your arm. Use your hand on that side to support his neck and shoulders and your forearm to support his back..
- Cup baby’s neck in your hand (to avoid baby arching back and away from breast).
- Put baby’s mouth even to breast and latch
- SIDE-LYING POSITION (valuable for moms who have had c-section births)
- This position is basically the same as the cradle hold but with mom and baby on their sides, facing each other.
- Lie on your side with knees bent. You may want to place pillows between your knees, a couple under your head and neck, and one behind your back.
- Place your other arm, a pillow, or a rolled-up blanket behind your baby to support him.
- Put your baby on his side, facing your nipple.
- Nestle him in your arm and latch.