While the classic 'cradle hold' breastfeeding position is the most popular and straightforward way to breastfeed your baby, there are instances when this position doesn't work for you or your baby and you need to find other positions that will allow you to continue breastfeeding.
Alternative breastfeeding posititons
The football hold.In this underarm breastfeeding position, your baby's body is supported by a pillow at your side while you cradle her head in the hand closest to the breast you are feeding from. When she is correctly attached, her body is beside your waist with her feet next to your back.
Lying down position.In this breastfeeding position, you and your baby are both lying down facing each other. When your baby is correctly attached, her body should be parallel to yours.
Twin style feeding.This underarm position (which is the football hold x 2!) allows you to feed twins simultaneously.
Sitting hold.In this breastfeeding position you place your baby facing you and straddling one thigh. This position puts your baby's mouth directly facing your breast and her legs on either side of your thigh.
Whichever breastfeeding position you adopt, you will be most successful at establishing breastfeeding when you are in a comfortable position and your baby is correctly attached to the breast.
When to use alternative breastfeeding positions
You may choose to use an alternative breastfeeding position when:
- You have sore or cracked nipples and you need to attach at a slightly different angle
- You are recovering from a caesarean birth and want to keep baby away from your abdomen
- You have a healing episiotomy wound and sitting is uncomfortable
- You have twins and want to feed simultaneously
- Your baby is outgrowing the position you have adopted thus far - new mums who use the football hold initially often find this position no longer comfortable with an older baby
- You have mastitis or a blocked duct as changing breastfeeding positions often allows your baby to get a better attachment which will encourage her to fully drain the breast at each feed.
- Learn how to care for your nipples while breastfeeding
- Discover how to beat mastitis and engorged breasts
- Browse all breastfeeding articles
This article was written by Ella Walsh for Kidspot - New Zealand's leading parenting resource for newborns and baby. Sources include Australian Breastfeeding Association.
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