The Right and Wrong Breastfeeding Positions for Newborns

May 22, 2023
Priyanka Sonkushre – May 22, 2023
The Right and Wrong Breastfeeding Positions for Newborns

Breastfeeding is one of the most joyous experiences for a new mom. Being able to…

Breastfeeding is one of the most joyous experiences for a new mom. Being able to feed her little one and ensure their healthy growth and development is all that a mom truly wishes for. While nursing is a natural process, many moms initially have trouble feeding their newborns because breastfeeding is new to them, and both mom and baby need to work their way to achieve successful breastfeeding.

The breastfeeding positions for newborns play a crucial role here as it ensures the baby latches properly to the breast and makes the entire experience comfortable for both – the mom and her baby. Therefore, it is essential to maintain a correct position while breastfeeding. In this write-up, we will be talking about breastfeeding positions for newborns and share a few tips to support you in your breastfeeding journey.

The Basics of Breastfeeding Positions for Newborns

There are several different positions for breastfeeding. Some of them are more common than others. Positions like cradle hold and football hold are preferred more because these work well for most moms. Experiment with different positions during the early stages of breastfeeding to zero in on a few that allow you to remain at ease while feeding your baby.

The Basics of Breastfeeding Positions for newborns

Ensuring comfort for both mom and baby is crucial because breastfeeding is not a one-time affair. It continues for months on end and, if not done correctly, can lead to issues like backaches and poor posture for moms. Plus, an uncomfortable baby will not feed well and remain fussy throughout the day.

Another reason why moms should experiment with different breastfeeding positions for newborns is that the right position will ensure the baby latches appropriately onto the breast resulting in adequate milk transfer and giving the child all the nutrition they need. Hence, finding a comfortable feeding position is vital. Remember, it doesn’t matter which position you prefer as long as you both are comfortable and your baby is well-fed.

Correct Breastfeeding Positions for New Moms

1. Cradle Hold Position

Cradle Hold Position type for new moms

The first breastfeeding position we are going to talk about is the cradle hold position. It is the most common position practiced by nursing moms. While you may need a little time to get the hang of it, it will quickly become one of your favorite feeding positions as your baby learns to latch well. However, if you have had a C-section, this may not be the best position for you because of the discomfort it creates near the tummy and scar area while you hold your baby in this position. But once your scar has healed and you’re back to your usual self, you can try this position.

Benefits of the Cradle Hold Position

  • Easy to practice
  • Comfortable for mom and baby
  • Allows mom to guide her baby to latch properly

Tips for Achieving this Position

  • Find a comfortable place to sit, as you’ll be sitting for quite some time
  • Make sure you have adequate support to rest your arm while holding your baby. Place a pillow under your arm and elbow if required
  • Lay your baby across your lap with its head on your forearm
  • Turn your baby’s body towards you so that their nose is towards the breast, and they are not required to turn their head in an uncomfortable position while breastfeeding
  • Support your baby’s body with your hand and check that the ear and hip align correctly and fall in a straight line.
  • Don’t lean forward. Instead, bring your baby closer to you to prevent back pain.

2. Cross-Cradle Hold Position

Cross-Cradle Hold Position for new moms

Now let’s talk about the cross-cradle hold. The difference between cradle hold and this position is that you hold the baby with the opposite arm of the nursing breast with their head in your hand instead of on your forearm. This position works well for premature babies and during the first few weeks after birth when the baby is small, so you can comfortably hold them in this position. This position gives mommy a clear view and is great for babies who have trouble latching as you have complete control of the baby’s head and can gently support them to latch properly.

Benefits of Cross-Cradle Hold Position

  • Allows you to support your baby’s head.
  • Helps in attachment and maintaining the latch.
  • Suitable for early breastfeeding.
  • Enables one-hand control over breastfeeding.

Tips for Achieving this Position

  • Sit in a comfortable position, preferably on a couch or a chair with armrests.
  • If you’re feeding from the left breast, hold your baby tummy to tummy, with their body supported by the crook of your right arm and holding their head with your right palm.
  • Use your left hand to form a U-shaped hold on your breast.
  • Help your baby latch well by guiding their mouth to the right position.
  • Sit back and relax until your baby enjoys the feed.

3. Football Hold Position

Football Hold Position for new moms

Also known as the clutch hold or the rugby hold, this position is great for moms who have had a cesarean delivery. When you hold your baby this way, the baby’s weight does not create pressure on the painful scar and tummy area, making breastfeeding easy and comfortable. Plus, it is also ideal for moms with large breasts or those having twins, as it allows you to feed both babies simultaneously. Overall, the football hold is a comfortable position, making nursing much easier for moms and their babies.

  • Allows you to check if the baby has achieved a proper latch.
  • Works well for moms with flat or inverted nipples.
  • Prevents plugged ducts by promoting the emptying of milk ducts.
  •  Makes it easier for babies to handle a strong milk let-down.

Tips for Achieving this Position

  •  Place a pillow on your side. Make sure it is on the side you want to breastfeed.
  • Lay your baby on the pillow and tuck their legs under your arm.
  • Support your baby’s body with your arm and gently hold your baby’s head with your palm.
  •  Turn your baby towards you and get them close to the breast.
  •  Bring your baby’s mouth close to your nipple to ensure a good latch.
  • Use your other hand to create a c-shaped hold on the breast for successful breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding Positions to Avoid

The last thing you would want for yourself and your baby is to stay in an incorrect position during a breastfeeding session. Improper positioning may not stimulate the breasts adequately and hinder milk production. Your baby may not feed well if uncomfortable due to poor positioning leading to inadequate growth and development. In addition, you may be more prone to developing aches and pains if you sit in an incorrect breastfeeding position for newborns for too long. Let’s discuss some breastfeeding positions you should try to avoid.

Breastfeeding Positions to Avoid for new moms

Not Holding Your Baby Close Enough

If you don’t keep your baby close to your body when breastfeeding, your little one will struggle to hold onto the nipple and may not nurse well.

Leaning Forward

When a mom leans forward towards her baby during breastfeeding, it may result in latching problems and poor feeding. So, always sit upright and bring your baby closer to you to breastfeed.

Not Aligning Baby’s Head and Body in a Straight Line

Will you be comfortable having a drink with your head turned in a different direction than your body? Well, no. The same goes for babies. So make sure your baby’s head and body are in a straight line during the entire feeding session.

Practicing Side-Lying or Laid-Back Nursing Positions

While these two breastfeeding positions for newborns are perfectly safe if done correctly, caution is still needed. Taking care of little ones is no joke, and it is possible to fall asleep when nursing in these positions, which could be dangerous for the baby.

Tips for Comfortable and Successful Breastfeeding

If you’re new to breastfeeding, we have put together a few tips to help you achieve your breastfeeding goals.

Tips for Comfortable and Successful Breastfeeding

Get Support

The best advice for all new moms is to not compare their breastfeeding journeys with other moms. Like every child is different, every mom is also different. Don’t hesitate to ask for help. Talk to a lactation consultant for all the help and answers you need. And feel free to get some first-hand advice from your friends and family who have been there already!

Make Adjustments for Comfort

Take a few deep breaths to relax before you begin breastfeeding. Make sure you sit comfortably and use as many pillows as you need to make yourself feel comfortable. Set up a nursing station if that’s what you need. If you have not already, it’s time to invest in some good-quality nursing bras to support you and maintain comfort. And remember to keep a glass of water by your side in case you get thirsty!

Look for Signs of Successful Feeding

You can always know if your baby is feeding enough. Here are a few signs that can help you identify if you are successful at breastfeeding your baby.

  •  You can hear your baby swallowing milk.
  • Your nipples don’t hurt when you breastfeed your baby.
  • You have a happy and content baby after the feed.
  •  Your breasts turn soft after your baby has fed.
  • Your pediatrician affirms that your baby is gaining adequate weight.

In Conclusion

Practicing and maintaining proper position is essential, so you and your child have an enjoyable feeding experience. When your breastfeeding position is correct, your baby can suck and swallow milk without any difficulty and breathe well simultaneously. Feeding your baby may seem challenging initially, but with time and practice, you will master this art and successfully carry out your role as a nurturer to your little one. We suggest you try out a couple of positions to find which ones are most comfortable and effective. Once you identify what works best for you, you will surely cherish these moments of closeness to bond with your little one.  

Written By

Choose Your Baby’s Age