Learning I was pregnant with twins was terrifying. Imagining how I was going to nurse each baby was even more overwhelming. After much research and following all of the moms’ groups I could I knew I wanted to learn to tandem feed prior to leaving the hospital. I had purchased all the gadgets; pumps, bottles, pump parts, nipple creams, nipple shields, and the popular breast friends pillow for nursing multiples. However I still wasn’t even close to realizing what I was getting myself into. Did you know there are many Breastfeeding Positions?
The hospital staff was amazing and the lactation consultants couldn’t have been a bigger help. The problem? When I exited those hospital doors all of my resources stayed behind. My husband, myself, and our two tiny boys were on our own. I no longer had an electric bed, an over-sized recliner, or two more sets of hands. I was left fighting with pillows for back support, juggling babies between my husband and I to find comfortable positions for both I and each baby to nurse to get the most effective latches and feeds.
Each baby is unique and just because they were born at the same time doesn’t make that statement less true. So whether you have one baby at a time or multiple, here are 10 breastfeeding positions to try to help mom and baby (or babies) nurse more comfortably.
- Cradle hold (maybe the most popular)
a. Supporting your baby’s neck in the bend of an elbow, make sure his whole body is facing you, you will help him latch to the breast closest to the elbow his head is supported in.
- Cross-cradle hold (same as cradle hold but your arms switch roles)
a. Supporting your baby’s neck with your hand you will cross his head over to the opposite breast of the hand you are holding him in. Again, be sure that his entire body is in-line (hips to shoulders) and facing you to support proper latching.
3. Football hold
a. Make sure you have good back support.
b. A nursing pillow or firm bed pillows will help to support baby under her back.
c. Lay back so you are bent at your hips and still upright.
d. Place a pillow length-wise under the arm of the breast you plan to nurse from.
e. Lay baby on her back so she is looking up at you. Her head should be at your breast and her legs up against your back support or what ever you are sitting against.
f. Support baby’s head with your opposite hand and with the hand of the exposed breast make a C-shape with your thumb being the top of the C. Place this around your breast to support the breast to help baby latch.
4. Double football hold (the same instructions as football hold but with two babies)
a. You will place one baby under each breast using the instructions from above.
5. Side-lying position- This position is great post c-section, latching issues, strong letdowns, and night-time feeds.
a. Lay down on your side. Place baby facing you again watching for aligned spine.
6. Laid back- great post c-section, multiples and strong let downs
a. Lay on your back with or without pillows. Do not place pillows under baby unless needed for larger breasts or body frame.
b. Baby will come across your shoulder with her feet facing away from you to latch on to the breast closest to that shoulder.
7. Upright- great for two babies, preventing ear infections and reflux
a. Sit anywhere you are comfortable with or without back support.
b. Place baby facing you and straddling the same leg as the breast he will be nursing from. If nursing two babies, place the other baby on the opposite leg to nurse from the opposite breast.
c. Make sure spine is still aligned. For older infants with more neck control they may move there head about to look around and this is okay.
d. If nursing a newborn in this position just be sure to provide a lot of neck support with your hand or bend of your elbow.
8. Dangle feeding or All Fours- good for clogged ducts
a. Place your baby on his back and get on all fours so your breast is dangling into baby’s mouth.
b. Watch for a proper latch. An improper latch may be painful and may not produce an effective feed.
9. Laid back breast crawl
From the moment babies are born they have the instinct to nurse. If you were to place a newborn on a bare mothers chest they would use their arms and legs to inch toward one breast to nurse. This position is just that.
a. Lay back in a semi-reclined position with good back support and place baby chest down on your chest. Allow baby to nurse.
10. Sling nurse- good for one or two babies
a. Place baby or babies in a sling facing you or on your hip. If nursing multiples please use a sling meant for multiples.
b. Make sure baby is at the right height to nurse. His nose should be at your nipple line.
c. Expose breast on the same side as baby. Nursing-friendly tops and bras work great for this because you don’t have to pull your whole shirt up under the sling.
d. Support baby’s neck either with your hand or using the sling for support making sure the sling is not too tight on baby’s head.
If you are a mama wishing for an extra set of hands finding a breastfeeding position best for you and your babe or you are in need of breastfeeding support reach out to a Mama Coach.