The Ultimate Guide to Breastfeeding Positions

Being successful at breastfeeding can be as simple as finding the right position.  Certain breastfeeding positions work better for some than for others, depending on the situation and your comfort level.

Here are some tips to ensure that you are utilizing all the positions correctly and getting the most out of your breastfeeding experience.

The following is a guest post from Ahmed Fawzi at www.Breastfeedo.com.  [Images used with permission]

The Ultimate Guide to Breastfeeding Positions

*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.


5 Breastfeeding Positions

1. Cradle and Cross Cradle Nursing Position

Both are the most common nursing position of all time where you carry your baby within your arms to breastfeed him.

Cradle hold

In which your baby is lying on your forearm on his side “the forearm of the same breast you use to breastfeed”

Cross-cradle hold

The same of cradle hold except your baby is on the opposite forearm of the breast you use to breastfeed (i.e. if you breastfeed from the right breast, your baby is held on your left forearm and vice versa)

Important notes

Your baby is on his side where his head and neck are in the same straight line. In other words, if your baby’s neck is tilted down, the swallowing process would be hard which affects the milk extraction negatively and hence your milk supply.

Your breast is at the same level of baby’s head.

Always keep your baby’s head free to move back to enable him to catch your breast deeply and widely.

Stomach to stomach

Baby’s legs are around your waist for more comfort and control.


2. Football Nursing Position

the football-hold-during-breastfeeding
Football Hold Position Tutorial

This position got its name as it looks like when football “rugby” players are carrying the ball under their armpit. Your baby is on his side or his back and his head -the rugby ball- is between your armpit and your used breast.

Baby’s body is wrapped around your side and back “hidden from the side view.” This particular position is preferred in 3 main cases:

If you have twins  – double football hold

After C-section – no load on your abdomen

Large breasts – you have a good/wide-angle view of your baby’s latch

Important notes

As we said before, your baby’s body is wrapped around your truck but keep his legs away from any solid surface such as the back of the chair or sofa.

That is because the natural baby reflex, called stepping reflex (when his legs step on any solid surface he tends to push himself against that surface) makes the latching process hard and unstable.


The most comfortable position while nursing without thinking is…

3. The Laid Back Nursing Position (it is also called The Biological Nurturing).

Simply, you are lying on your back in a semi-reclined position by using two pillows under your head and neck and your baby is positioned along your body.

In that amazing breastfeeding position, you get the use of gravity to fix your baby while latching without the need of pillows or extra effort to support.

laid-back-nursing-position-picture
Laid Back Position Tutorial
The laid-back nursing position is best for :

Tired and lazy moms 🙂

Breastfeeding at bedtime

If you don’t have any breastfeeding pillows or blankets to use

For moms who are suffering from low breast supply.

HOW?  During this nursing position, your baby’s body is in contact with all your body.  This would stimulate the breast milk let down and makes your baby at the optimum feeling of comfort and security.

Important notes

laid-back-breastfeeding-after-c-section-picture
Laid Back Position Tutorial

It is the most recommended position after birth and within 1 hour.

The biological nurturing helps your baby to self-latch by searching for your dark nipple (and he can smell it, too.)

This position is also suitable for moms after c-section with little modification. Just rotate the baby 90° degrees clockwise or counterclockwise to avoid his load on your abdomen.  Also, you can rotate the baby more than 90° degrees to reach your shoulder.


4. The Side-Lying Nursing Position

side-lying-nursing-illustration-front-view
Side Lying Position Tutorial

Nursing while side lying is another in bed breastfeeding position which is suitable at the end of your day. Both of you are satisfied when it comes to breastfeeding at night where:

Your baby wakes up to get his meal

You stay comfortable and you don’t have to change your position   completely

Important notes

It is suitable if you co-sleep with your baby.

Both of you are on their side, facing each other forming V shape.  Your baby’s head is at the level of your breast the same side of lying and his head is free to turn back.

Once he is latched, keep the tummy to tummy contact using your free hand by pushing his body gently into yours.

Your baby’s hands are hugging your breast during this position.


5. Koala hold or Upright/sitting Nursing Position

In this position, your baby is sitting upright in front of you.  Make sure to support his neck and shoulders with your hand on the same side of your used breast. The other hand is to support your breast to help him latch on properly.

Use this position

When your baby is older than 1 year

If you have a fast/strong milk ejection letdown reflex

If your baby has acid reflux (GERD: gastroesophageal reflux disease)

Or if your baby has problems in swallowing


Click to see the list!

10 Vital Notes on Breastfeeding Positions

1. After birth, your baby must be checked from a professional health care provider (pediatrics or lactation consultant) to check if there are any anomalies within his mouth like tongue tie or cleft palate.  In such conditions, you would be guided to implement special precautions in different location positions.

2. Pick the quietest and the most comfortable room in your house before breastfeeding initiation.  Relaxation has a positive effect on the breast milk supply.

3. Apply breast massage before latching to enhance the blood circulation within your mammary glands (breast milk factories).

4. Before each latching and within any nursing position, ensure that your baby is widely opening his mouth before breast insertion. This wide mouth opening looks like he is yawning. Once he does, take the opportunity and insert your nipple deeply into his mouth.

the wide-mouth-opening-while-baby-latching-picture
Tips for correct latch

5. It is highly recommended to shift between different nursing positions until both of you are satisfied.

6. Each situation has its own position as we mentioned earlier, and don’t forget that your baby has its own preferences regarding the nursing positions. Keep watching your baby while breastfeeding to understand his own language.

7. Always support your head, neck, and shoulders using pillows to avoid back pain.  And remember that any type of pain would put you under stress which decreases your milk supply.

signs-of-correct-baby-latch-during-breastfeeding-picture
Tips for correct latch

8. During breastfeeding, make sure your baby’s nose is free and you can pass one finger between his nose and your breast. It is a healthy sign of good latching.

9. Another healthy sign of good breastfeeding position is when your baby’s chin is immersed in your breast.

10. Burping your baby after each feeding would enhance your breast milk supply. By doing that, you move out the entrapped gases and air in your baby’s stomach which means less colic and more breast milk instead.

Signs that you are using a suitable nursing position:

Your baby is gaining weight properly

No sustained breast/nipple pain after each feeding (mild pain is accepted).

No milk leakage during feeding which guarantees tight seal between his mouth and your breast.

You can hear the swallowing sound during latching.

Your nipple after feeding is round with the same dark brown color.


I hope you enjoyed this very informative guest post from www.breastfeedo.com!  Make sure to check out their website for more great infographics and visual tutorials.  And don’t forget to follow Breastfeedo on Pinterest!
Find more breastfeeding posts and resources HERE.

How, When & Why to do Breast Compression


Breast compression is the underdog of breast feeding techniques.  WHEN to do them and WHY they can help are just as important as HOW to do them.

*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.


In a previous post, I praised an amazing small town nurse who gave me so much information on breastfeeding.  I promise that I will, eventually, get ALL of that knowledge out of my head and onto this website  but I want to start with something that was a huge contributor to my breastfeeding success…

Breast Compression

It sounds self explanatory, right?  You just squeeze your breast, what’s so hard about that?  I did breast compression with my first.  And my second…   I think?  The fact that I can’t even remember doing them means that they weren’t important to me back then.  After learning how to do them properly with my third one, and learning all the reasons why and when, I realized that I could have saved myself a lot of trouble if I had known about this the first time.  And the second.


bf-infographic
Pin it!
Pin It!

HOW

Get your baby latched on properly.

latch-infographic
I like this infographic from The Milk Memoirs 

After baby starts sucking you may FEEL your milk let down (not all women can feel it) and/or SEE your baby’s sucking start to become longer and slower.

Read this if you feel anxiety or depression when you breastfeed

Some women suffer from a condition known as D-MER (Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex) which causes disturbing feelings when their milk lets down.  Click here to read my post about D-MER.

Grasp your breast with whichever hand feels more comfortable. 

Some might prefer to grasp with the hand closest to the breast, others might be more comfortable reaching across their body.

This will also depend on what position you are holding your baby in to nurse.

You can switch it up throughout the feeding.

Your thumb will be on top and the other four fingers will remain on the bottom of the breast. 

Your hand will form a letter “C” (it helps to imagine you’re holding your breast like a cheeseburger).

Try to keep your hand close to your chest.  You want to stay as far back from the nipple as possible so you don’t affect baby’s latch.

It’s not as effective to squeeze the breast from the sides or to use a “scissor” hold.

Now squeeze as hard as you can handle.  It shouldn’t hurt, but you want to use firm pressure, especially if your breasts are engorged.

a blocked milk duct or mastitis
Baby-Safety-Concerns.com

Do not move your fingers around or slide them towards the nipple.

Don’t rub or massage the breast as this can cause irritation on the skin.

If you have extremely full breasts, whether it’s the first morning feed or when your milk first comes in, you may feel “lumps” of milk – focus on those spots first (sometimes they can be as far back as your armpit).

Squeeze one spot for roughly 10 seconds (or as long as baby continues to suck) and then release.

You will notice baby take longer, bigger gulps, some milk might even leak out from the corners of their mouth.

That section of the breast will start to soften

Baby may temporarily stop sucking after a few big gulps to rest.

Wait for baby to start sucking and compress the breast again.

You can try moving your fingers onto a different spot or switching hands to access the other side of the breast.


WHEN and WHY

DO NOT do them before your milk comes in.  I mean, you can, but there’s no point.

Do them when your milk comes in.  You will have a lot of it and your newborn baby will get tired of sucking before they get to that hind milk.

Do them when your breasts are really full.  Usually in the morning or if you’ve been away from baby and haven’t fed or pumped in a while.   It’s a great way to empty out full and sore breasts very quickly and make sure that baby is getting to the hind milk before they get too full.

Turn Up The Heat breast pads
TheDandelionShoppeUS on Etsy

The Turn Up The Heat breast pads by TheDandelionShoppeUS on Etsy are perfect for warm relief during engorgement and also cold relief to treat soreness. They have a removable machine washable cover and I love the hole in the middle to avoid irritating sore nipples!

Do them when your breasts are not full.  Doing compression during feeds even when your breasts feel empty will help drain the milk glands completely which will increase your milk supply.

Breastfeeding Products
Here are some breastfeeding products I couldn’t live without

Do them when you have a clogged milk duct. This is when one of those “milk lumps” gets stuck and doesn’t want to empty.  Put a warm wet washcloth on top of the breast first and then apply lots of pressure to that stuck lump while you nurse.

Do them while pumping.  Breast pumps are not as efficient at emptying a breast  or getting enough hind milk.  A good example of this is to compare a bottle of pumped milk while doing compression vs. without.  You will see a higher fat content in the bottle pumped with compression.

Do them when you have incredibly sore nipples.  Baby won’t have to suck as hard to get enough milk (giving your nipples a bit of relief) and it will also speed up the length of the feeding.

Do them when baby falls asleep at the breast and/or stops sucking.  Breast compression will either make baby start drinking some more, or spit out the nipple if they are full. (I talk about breastfeeding at bedtime in my two part sleep training guide).

Howtosleeptrainanewborn

Do them when baby cluster feeds.  The hind milk will help baby to feel fuller for longer and can reduce the amount of time you spend feeding.

Do them during night time feedings or dream feeds.  Babies are quite drowsy in the middle of the night and may not suck with the “power” that they use during the day.  Doing breast compression can help baby get milk more efficiently so that everyone can go back to bed.

Amazon.ca

Do them if your baby has greenish-coloured poops.  The greenish color could be because they’re not getting enough hind milk.

Do them if your baby gets a slight diaper rash.  Not enough hind milk can change the consistency of baby’s poops and cause their bums to get red.


There are so many benefits to using breast compression.
Breastfeeding benefits baby AND MOM

The biggest WHY is to get baby the hind milk that has a higher fat content.  It will help them to gain weight faster and stay full longer.

I know that breast compressions are usually only suggested in the first couple months – during the time when breastfeeding is still trying to become well established.  But I became SO obsessed with doing them because I was able to see the benefits in my baby right away that I continued to do them whenever I felt it was necessary.


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Prior to starting this blog, I shared my tip about breast compression with anyone who seemed to be struggling with something it could fix.  I had a hard time trying to find a resource that stressed the importance of them.

bfinclogo

The best online information about breast compression is from Dr. Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC  of Breastfeedinginc.ca.  [I’ve noticed quite a few other blogs or websites share his exact article or excerpts from it and it’s great information but it’s very… medical.]  

You can also purchase his book Dr. Jack Newman’s Guide to Breastfeeding.

Breast Compression
Indigo.ca
bfincvideos
Click here to access a library of videos demonstrating the breast compression technique and proper latching techniques at Breastfeedinginc.ca

what-is-breast-compression-w
Breastfeeding.support

Another good site to check out for more visual aids is Breastfeeding.Support it’s run by IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) Philippa Pearson-Glaze and the site has a ton of breastfeeding articles, tips and advice with some great pictures.


This awesome article from Positive Health Wellness has tons of information about breast changes during pregnancy.
check it out!

How to Use the Breast Compression Technique How to use the Breast Compression Technique