Melissa Portunato MPH, IBCLC, RLC
Mothers and babies learn to breastfeed by breastfeeding. Exploring different nursing positions can help lessen nipple pain, improve milk transfer and allow you to get more rest. Read on to discover some of our favorite breastfeeding holds to try with your new baby.
First things first, start every feeding with skin to skin. Remove all pillows, blankets, and comforters nearby; this can make latching more cumbersome and difficult. Baby should only have a diaper and bare chest for the parent. Skin to skin helps engage baby’s inborn feeding behaviors and reflexes while contributing to a powerful hormone feedback system between mom and baby. Skin to skin is powerful!
Laid – back
Breastfeeding in a reclining or laid-back position relaxes and stimulates reflexes in both mother and baby. Research shows mothers and babies have innate physical responses that are triggered with laid-back breastfeeding. Interestingly, mothers were found to stroke their baby’s feet at just the right time during latching and feeding, which triggers the release of the lip and tongue for a deeper, more nutritive latch. Babies feed using their whole bodies, not just their heads and mouth. Your nurs-ling is looking for a place to anchor their chin, push with their toes, and feel the warmth of their natural environment – mommy’s chest!
Mastering the Side-Lying Breastfeeding position can help you recover from a difficult labor or cesarean delivery and can naturally improve blood circulation as you recover from childbirth. Start lying down side by side with your baby. You should be facing each other – belly to belly. Your baby’s mouth should be even with your nipple. Next, lift your arm under your head and, with your other arm, cradle your baby on the back of the neck to assist them to the breast if needed. Cradling your baby with the opposite arm can keep your newborn close, preventing turning and unlatching from the breast. Baby’s arm should always be hugging the breast.
Cradle your baby by supporting the back of the neck with the same arm you will be latching to the breast. With the opposite hand, lift your breast to aim your nipple above the baby’s nose. Wait for your baby to “gape” or open wide and quickly bring your baby towards you. Pillows should be used only to support YOUR arms and back, not the baby.
Feeding your newborn in an upright position can lessen reflux and manage an overactive or forceful letdown. Sometimes called the koala hold, your newborn will latch to your breast, sitting up while straddled on your thigh or knee. Baby’s spine and head should remain upright throughout the feeding. With proper support, this position can easily be done with newborns and can be a convenient way to nurse older babies too!
Practice these four simple to-do nursing positions that will ensure your baby is growing and thriving from your super milk. Remember that breastfeeding doesn’t have to be “all or nothing.” No matter if you are nursing at the breast, exclusively pumping or supplementing with formula – it’s still breastfeeding! We’re here to support you and offer any help we can as you navigate your breastfeeding journey.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or set up a free consultation with one of our IBCLCs at www.spectrababyusa.com/lactationservices.
Milinco, M., Travan, L., Cattaneo, A. et al. Effectiveness of biological nurturing on early breastfeeding problems: a randomized controlled trial. Int Breastfeed J 15, 21 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13006-020-00261-4
Positioning. La Leche League International. (2020, August 6). https://www.llli.org/breastfeeding-info/positioning/.