The experience of breastfeeding is joyful and special for more reasons than one. It is truly a matchless moment of joyful bonding with your precious baby. Breastfeeding is extremely important for both you and your new born. The health benefit of breastfeeding is vast, saves cost, and protects your baby.

However, it is common to see that many mothers have many questions and concerns regarding breastfeeding. How often should I breastfeed my baby? How do I know if my baby is getting enough breast milk? How to store breast milk? In addition, the list of questions goes on and on.

Another important question most mothers seem to ask is, ‘what are the best breastfeeding techniques?’ So, here are some helpful tips and techniques you could use.

Why is positioning the baby properly during breastfeeding so important?

This experience is new to you. Proper latching is important to a positive breastfeeding experience for both you and your baby. So always, ensure that your baby is properly latched.

Latching means, you make sure that your baby is able to hold onto the nipple and areola properly so that milk is transferred to baby. The baby’s chin should touch the breast and the baby’s mouth should be open wide covering the areola and not only onto the nipple.

If the baby has not latched on properly it tends to cause pain to the mother and babies on the other hand do not get milk properly.

So babies need to get a little help from the mother to get in to the right position.  Proper positioning will ensure that breast milk is adequately transferred to the baby. Proper positioning will also keep both mother and baby comfortable.

In some ways breastfeeding is a unique skill that can be improved only with time and patience by both mother and baby.

What are the most common breastfeeding holding positions?

Finding the right way to hold your baby while breastfeeding, will make both of you feel comfortable.  It is important to use the right breastfeeding holding position because both of you will be spending hours and hours of breastfeeding in the days to come. So, here are some commonly used breastfeeding positions.

  • Cradle-hold Position (tummy-to-tummy)
  • Cross cradle hold (tummy-to-tummy)
  • Football hold
  • Side-lying position

How to nurse a baby in the Cradle-hold position?

cradle_holdThis is a very natural and comfortable position and is ideal for older babies.

First, sit comfortably in a chair ideally with supportive armrests. Try to rest your feet on a stool, as this will avoid you from leaning down toward your baby.

Gently but carefully hold the baby in your lap so that the baby lies comfortably on the side with face, knees and stomach directly facing you.

Tuck the baby’s lower arm under your arm.

Make sure to extend your forearm and hand down your baby’s back to support the spine, bottom, and neck. Remember the baby should not lie horizontally.

What is the Cross cradle hold position?

This position is different from the cradle hold, as you do not support your baby’s head with the crook of your arm.

In the cross cradle holding position, your arms will switch roles. If you are nursing from your right breast, use your left hand to hold your baby and if you are nursing from your left breast use your right arm to hold your baby.

Hold the baby in a way that the baby’s chest and stomach are directly facing you. With your fingers and thumb behind your baby’s head, gently direct the baby’s mouth to your breast.

This holding position is ideal for infants who have trouble latching on.

What is the Football hold?

football (2)In this position, you have to tuck your baby under your arm like a football and it is done on the same side that you are nursing from.

First, place your baby under your arm facing your nipple. Your baby’s feet should be pointing toward your back.

Place a pillow on your side and rest your arm. Make sure that you always support your baby’s neck, head, and shoulders with your hand.

This breastfeeding holding position is best for moms who have had a Caesarean section as this would avoid having your new-born rest and add weight directly on your stomach. It is also good for infants who have a problem with latching on. It also works well for mothers of twins.

Is it all right to breastfeed while lying down?

sidelyingBreastfeeding while lying down on your side is called the ‘Side-lying position’.

Many first time breastfeeding moms think this is unsafe and that the baby will find it difficult to swallow in while being in this position. It is not so.

In fact, it is much better than sitting in a chair and falling asleep while the baby is in your hands.

Use a few pillows to support your back, head, and shoulders and both you and your baby will feel more comfortable nursing this way. However, it will take some time and practice before you can really feel comfortable with this position. With time, even during night your baby will get used to latching on his own this way.

In case you need your baby to be closer and higher to your breast, keep a small and soft pillow underneath the baby’s head.

How do you breastfeed in public?

Most mothers today would prefer to breastfeed their new-born in a way that their breasts are not overly exposed while being at a public place.

Remember it is very easy to cover up while nursing. The best way is to drape a shawl or a blanket over your shoulder to hide the breast as well as the baby’s head.

Does your new-born fall asleep when breastfeeding?

This may happen if your baby is not latched on properly and within a few minutes the baby may lose interest and fall asleep.

So first, make sure that your baby is latched on correctly.

There are ways you can alert and stop the baby from falling asleep. You can stroke the baby’s legs, tickle the baby’s feet or jiggle your legs so that the baby stays awake and will not stop sucking.