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Women and Family Care

Breastfeeding positions

Is your positioning correct?
1. Support baby on pillows at breast height.
2. Roll the baby toward you, belly to belly.
3. Line the baby up nose to nipple.

Although breastfeeding is natural, it is a learning process for both you and your baby.There are two important things to ensure comfortable, full feedings: the way you hold your baby and how he latches onto the breast.

Correct positioning and proper latch-on can prevent many of the common problems mothers encounter when starting to breast-feed. Allow yourself several weeks to perfect these techniques. If you’re not sure that your baby is latching on properly, seek the help of a certified lactation counselor or your health care provider right away. Once breastfeeding is fully established, it can be one of the most rewarding experiences of new motherhood.

Getting comfortable

Choose a comfortable chair or sofa with good support for your back. Use a footstool to bring your knees up so your lap is slightly inclined. Position pillows as needed to support your arms and relax your shoulders.

Positioning your baby

With all breastfeeding positions, be sure to turn your baby completely onto her side, “belly to belly.” Her mouth should be directly in front of the breast so she does not need to turn her head at all to get to the nipple. Position your baby with her nose to your nipple so she has to reach up slightly to grasp the nipple. Her chin should touch the breast first, then grasp the nipple. Place your baby’s lower arm around your waist. This will draw her close to you. Look for a straight line from your baby’s ears, to shoulders, to hips. Her legs should curl around your waist.

Beginner’s positions: (first few days/weeks)

The cross-cradle hold is one of the preferred positions for the early days of breastfeeding. You will have control of the position of your baby’s head by placing your hand behind your baby’s ears (not on the head). Roll baby to face you belly to belly.

The football hold is good for mothers who have had a cesarean delivery because baby is not on your belly. It is also works well for pre-term babies because of their small size. Tuck the baby under your arm with pillow support to place the baby at breast height. Tuck a pillow or rolled receiving blanket under your wrist to help position baby belly to belly.

Advanced Positions: (after breastfeeding is established)

The side lying position is great for night time and getting rest while your baby nurses or to avoid sitting
because of soreness. Use pillows to support your back, the baby’s back, and between your legs. Roll the
baby towards you.

The cradle hold is ideal as baby gets bigger. Place baby level with your breast. With baby’s face directly
facing your nipple, support baby’s head and back with your forearm and rest baby’s head in the bend of
your elbow on the same side the baby is nursing from. This same hand grips baby’s bottom or thigh, while
the other hand holds your breast.

© 2011 Poudre Valley Health System

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