Breastfeeding Positioning: Finding a Position That Works for You

a woman in hospital breastfeeding her baby

Breastfeeding positioning plays a huge role in how comfortable the feeding session is for you and your baby and how well your little one can latch onto the breast. Every baby and every mum is different, so there’s no universal breastfeeding position to teach that works for everyone.

If you're a new mum, finding the right breastfeeding positions for your newborn can be challenging. Still, if your little one is struggling to get a good latch, squirming around while feeding, or you’re struggling to make it through a nursing session without getting a dead arm, it might be time to try out a new breastfeeding position and see if it works for you.

Examples of Wrong Breastfeeding Positions for Newborn

Sitting in the wrong breastfeeding positions for your newborn can result in discomfort, pain, and even reduced milk supply. You might not even realise that your breastfeeding position is causing a problem.

Common mistakes include:

  • Holding your baby too low or too high
  • Positioning the baby too far away from the breast
  • Incorrect placement of the baby's mouth on the nipple
  • Improper support of head and neck

If you experience ongoing pain or discomfort during breastfeeding, it may be a sign of poor positioning. Try out some new breastfeeding positions, and seek support from your GP or a breastfeeding specialist if the problem continues.

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Best Breastfeeding Positions

Laid Back Breastfeeding Position

The laid-back breastfeeding position is loved by loads of mums and can be a relaxing and comfortable way to breastfeed. Here's how to do it:

  • Find a comfortable reclined position on a bed or couch, with pillows supporting your back and head to prop you up.
  • Place your baby on your chest, with their head near your breast.
  • Allow your baby to find their way to your breast, using gravity to help them latch onto the breast.
  • Use your hands to support your baby's head and neck.

Side Lying Breastfeeding Position

The side-lying breastfeeding position can be particularly helpful for night feedings, or when you need a good rest during long nursing sessions! Follow these steps to try it out:

  • Lie on your side with your head propped up on a pillow.
  • Place your baby down on their side facing you, with their mouth level with your nipple.
  • Support your baby's head and neck with your arm.
  • Bring your baby to your breast, allowing them to latch.
  • Use your other arm to support your upper breast and nipple.

Rugby Ball Position

The rugby ball breastfeeding position, or rugby ball hold, is a popular option, particularly for mums who have had a c-section delivery. Here's how to do it:

  • Sit in a chair or on a bed with pillows supporting your back and arms.
  • Hold your baby under your arm, with their head and neck supported by your hand.
  • Position your baby's mouth at your breast, using your other hand to support your breast.
  • Your baby's body should be tucked under your arm, with their feet pointing towards your back.

Breastfeeding Position for Reflux

If your baby has reflux, an upright breastfeeding position can be helpful to prevent the flow of milk back into the oesophagus. Here's how to do it:

  • Sit in a comfortable chair with armrests and a high backrest.
  • Hold your baby upright against your chest, with their head resting on your shoulder.
  • Position your baby's mouth at your breast, supporting their head and neck with your hand.

Breastfeeding Positions After C-section

If you've had a c-section delivery, finding the right breastfeeding position can be challenging. Here are some positions that may work for you:

  • Side-lying position
  • Rugby ball position
  • Laid-back position

Remember, proper positioning and latching are crucial for comfortable and effective breastfeeding for all of these breastfeeding positions. You’ll likely be spending what feels like a lot of your time breastfeeding, so don’t be afraid to experiment in the early weeks and find the breastfeeding positions that work best for you and your baby! And don't be shy about getting some help if you need it - you got this.

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