Are you left or right handed? You may want to use different holding positions depending on which arm you use to support your baby. Holding with one arm may get tiring, so have a favorite and second position in mind to easily switch, if needed.
Try to comfortably seat yourself or lay down before getting your baby in position. This will allow your little one to start feeding right away without any awkward repositioning. Position your baby for feeding when you see the first signs of hunger. If they’re ready to feed, your baby will be alert and calm as they begin smacking their lips.
Tip: For best positioning, have your newborn baby’s body in a midline position. This is when the baby’s ear lines up to her shoulder and hip. Shoulder and hip should be supported to face the same direction while your baby is latching on.
Try to sit upright and place your little one on their side across your lap facing you. Use pillows or a rolled blanket if you need to support your arm during the feeding, and a footstool if your feet are not able to be flat on the ground. You want to be comfortable while feeding and you do not want to be leaning over your baby. Use your forearm to support the trunk of their body while your hand of the same arm supports your baby’s bottom. Your baby’s head will rest just at or near the bend of your arm. Bring your baby in close to offer your breast.
This position allows for increased support of your newborn’s head while feeding. Your baby is in the exact same position as the cradle hold, but now you are holding your baby with the opposite arm with her bottom supported by the bend of your arm, and her head is supported by your hand. Your hand supports your baby’s head and neck, and their bottom is tucked in close with support from the bend of your arm. Your forearm is still the basic support for your baby’s body.
This position is most helpful if you’ve had a C-section delivery, have large breasts, or if you’re breastfeeding twins at the same time. Try to tuck your baby on your side, under your arm with them facing your breast. (Picture the way a football player tucks a ball under his arm.) Support their head and neck in your hand. Let their feet extend toward your back with their bottom (not their feet) against what you’re leaning on. This will help prevent your baby from pushing away with their legs. Use a pillow to support your arm, and use your free hand to offer and support your breast.
Many moms enjoy this position as an alternative to sitting up for feedings. Try to lie on your side with your baby on their side, facing you. Position their nose at or just below your nipple. Once your little one latches on, you can use your lower arm to support your head.
If you have questions about positioning, consider getting in touch with our lactation consultant by texting Dotti, or talk to a local one near you.