Since the dawn of time, mothers have been perfecting the art of breastfeeding. And beautiful art it is! At its core, breastfeeding is about a relationship between mother and baby, and each relationship is unique. That includes your nursing positions.
Finding the best way to breastfeed will be very specific to you and your baby. Hopefully you’re taking advantage of breastfeeding classes, books and online resources that explain the ins-and-outs of breastfeeding. You can also seek help from a lactation consultant or many breastfeeding support organizations in your area. Logistically, breastfeeding may take a bit of work as you and your baby discover the best ways to position yourselves for great latch, good suck and swallow reflexes and to avoid reflux and spitting up as much as possible.
There are many standard nursing positions that most lactation consultants and books recommend, such as the cradle, cross-cradle, football hold and side-laying. These are a great place to start but they don’t work for every mother and baby pair. Today we’re recommending a few new nursing positions that may be the perfect fit for you and your baby:
Laid Back: Rather than lying completely on your sides facing one another, in the Laid Back position, mother is reclining with baby lying across her torso. The Laid Back position works well in a reclining chair, cushioned couch or a rocking chair when mom can keep her foot pressed against a stool. This is also a great position to try if you are nursing in your car and can recline the drivers or passengers seat. Laid Back allows baby straight-on access to the breast and keeps her at a propped position for easy flow and digestion.
Side Sling: Moms are on-the-go more than ever so wearing your baby in a sling is convenient for the mobile mom. Baby wearing is often comforting to baby because she can enjoy being close to mom and the rocking rhythm of your motions. Breastfeeding in a sling is a great way to multi-task and offers some discretion in public. The Side Sling position is similar to the cradle, except your sling is holding baby in place rather than your arms. This is perfect for over an over-the-shoulder style sling.
Carrier Forward: This is another convenient position for baby wearing moms. Carrier Forward works best for front pack style carriers (think back pack, but worn on the front) where baby is facing mom. You are probably used to wearing your carrier high enough for your baby’s head to prop against your chest, just under your chin. When it’s time to nurse, try lowering the straps so your baby’s face meets your breasts. You may have to adjust baby’s position slightly from one side to the other. Many carriers come with an inner shell that offers head support for newborns and smaller infants, which can be helpful for Carrier Forward nursing.
Saddle: This nursing position entails mama sitting upright in a chair with baby facing forward straddling your legs. Again, baby is able to sit up to prevent reflux, spit-ups and excess gas. This is often a better position for older babies who are able to hold up their own heads. You may need to tilt your baby’s head sideways to ensure good latch.
Upside-down Mama: Unusual as this position may sound, it can be very effective. Lie baby down on the ground and hover over her on your elbows and knees. Then lower your breast to baby’s mouth. Your baby may enjoy this new perspective and even get a chuckle out of it. And she may feed better too. By leaning down, your milk can drain more efficiently and is easier for your baby to suckle out. If you’re feeling like your baby is having trouble getting enough milk or you are not fully expelling the milk from each breast, give this position a go.
Switch up your nursing positions to see which ones your baby responds to best. You never know, one of these new nursing positions may become your favorite one!