Most Mothers breastfeed their baby’s in a cross cradle position (holding baby across their body).
But every Mother and baby’s anatomy is different so you must find what works for you. You could also try a ‘rugby’ hold (top left), or an upright position. Lots of Mothers benefit feeding in the lying down position for night feeds.
Before you begin, ensure you are sitting as straight up as possible with a good posture. Slouching can cause backache and remember you’ll be feeding really regularly so you need to be comfy.
Support your back and head with cushions and relax your shoulders and your mind.
If you’re lying down, that’s fine, but still maintain a good straight posture.
Observe where your breasts hang naturally as this will indicate where to position your baby.
Also note your nipples. Which direction do they point and what do they look like? Are they protruding, or are they flat or inverted? This will also have impact on positioning and latching.
- Have your baby facing you – That’s completely facing you, chest, tummy and head. If your baby’s body is tilted away, they will have to turn their head and twist to feed. Not comfy and could end in a bad latch.
- Baby should be symmetrical So the top arm above the breast and the bottom arm below.
- Decide which breast to feed from and support your baby using your opposite arm. So for the left breast, support your baby with your right arm and vice versa.
- Your arm should support your baby’s back and your baby’s bottom settles around the crook of your elbow. Baby’s legs are tucked round your waist. You need to have a firm hold and keep baby pressed in close, well supported but not tense or squashing baby. You can use your upper arm to take the weight of baby’s bottom. This reduces strain on your wrists which support baby’s head.
- Use your hand to support under baby’s head, fingers resting on the under ear, cupping the back of the head, thumb close to the other ear and palm across baby’s shoulder girdle. Your baby cannot control head movements so is relying on you to support and guide them towards your breast. Not having a good support can make the latching part difficult. Don’t put a hand at the back of your baby’s head as they need to be able to tilt their head back to feed and then pull off when they’ve finished.
- When the breast hangs naturally and your baby is still, the nipple should line up with your baby’s nose. If you have very large breasts, you may find that rolling up a muslin and popping it underneath the breast helps to lift it up. Alternatively, you may find the rugby hold easier.
Note that some babies will latch in any position you hold them in. However, its good to start with the suggested way until you know your baby is feeding well and then tweak to your own style later.