Best Breastfeeding Positions

Susie McGee
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You might be interested in learning the best breastfeeding positions. Afterall, breastfeeding isn't as easy as it might look. Some mothers are actually unpleasantly surprised at how difficult breastfeeding is in the beginning. The serene pictures of mother and baby that echo throughout many baby magazines actually belie the fact that breastfeeding can be painfully daunting and frustrating. Don't give up, though! After a few weeks, breastfeeding your baby will become much easier, and before you know it, you'll be a pro! Sometimes, something as simple as changing the position in which you are holding her as she nurses can make a big difference in both your comfort zone and her ease in nursing.

Best Breastfeeding Positions: Cradle Hold

The most common breastfeeding position is the cradle hold. You'll cradle your baby in your arms, with one arm supporting baby's body, neck and head, while the other arm and hand guides the breast towards baby's mouth. As you begin to put baby into this position, pull him across your body so that he is laying in a straight line, turned on his side and facing your tummy. His head will be parallel to your breast. You'll use the hand that is under him to support him. Your other hand can hold your breast, guiding it towards baby's mouth. You can also tickle his cheek with that hand to encourage him to open his mouth wide before accepting your nipple. Once baby has opened his mouth, pull him quickly to your breast. If he doesn't get the nipple and aureola in his mouth, put your finger into the corner of his mouth, break the suction, and try again. For extra comfort and support, you can place a Boppy pillow across your lap.

Best Breastfeeding Positions: Side-Lying Hold

One of the best arguments in support of breastfeeding is that you can lie in your bed and feed your baby comfortably. You might even dose off occasionally! You're getting to snuggle with your baby, and you're feeding her, too! The best way to nurse your baby while lying in bed is to use the side-lying hold. You'll need to lie with your baby stretched out beside you. Her head will be even with your breast, and her tummy will press against yours as you rest side by side. When she is an infant, you might find it easier to let her lie in the crook of your arm to raise her up to the level of your breast and nipple. As she grows, however, you can simple lay your head on your arm. You may find that you need a little extra support from pillows. Once you've gotten the hang of this position, you and your baby can relax while she nurses comfortably beside you.

Best Breastfeeding Positions: Football or Clutch Hold

Mothers who have delivered their babies through Cesarean section may discover that using the traditional cradle hold can be very painful in those first few weeks after childbirth. The football hold will allow mothers who have had surgery the opportunity to nurse their babies with the least discomfort. Instead of placing your child across your abdomen, you'll tuck baby under your arm with his head lined up evenly with your breast, his body supported against your side, and his legs and feet dangling under your arm. In this manner, you are holding your baby similar to the way a football player holds a football. Women who have very large breasts often favor this position, also.

Breastfeeding Help

Any of these positions may feel quite awkward at first. Be patient, and use pillows for support. If you are still having problems, contact your local La Leche League. You can also ask your doctor for the number of a local lactation expert. Breastfeeding can be hard to master in the beginning, but if you persevere, eventually you'll discover the best way to nurse your baby, and you and she will both benefit from all that breastfeeding has to offer.

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