The many angles to breastfeeding
Four basic positions in which you can breastfeed your baby. Decide which one works best for you and your little one, advises Yolandi Jordaan
Hold your baby by your side, tilted slightly towards you and with her nose at nipple height. Her body is under your arm on the same side where you’re feeding, and her legs are bent up behind your body. You can support your baby with your hand at the base of her neck and shoulders. Your arm forms a C shape. Place a firm cushion under your baby. IDEAL FOR: This position is comfortable for moms who had a caesar, have big breasts or flat or inverted nipples, because you can easily control your baby’s position. This position also works well for small babies or those battling to latch, as you can easily guide your baby to your nipple. Moms with twins also prefer the rugby position, as both can nurse simultaneously, one on each side.
In this position, you and baby lie with your bellies against each other. If you’re on your left side, put baby down on her side facing you, and with her chest against yours. Your right arm supports her body and your right hand supports her head. You can also support her head in the crook of your arm. Place a cushion between your legs or behind your back for comfort and support. IDEAL FOR: This position allows you to rest while you’re feeding, and it’s especially popular for night feeds in bed. It’s also comfortable if you’ve had a caesar or episiotomy, as breastfeeding straight afterwards can be uncomfortable. It’s perhaps wise to ensure your baby is managing to latch properly before trying this position. You can of course also swop left and right.
Hold your baby on your lap with the opposite arm to the breast you’re nursing from. For instance if you’re feeding from your right breast, hold your baby with your left arm. Turn your baby’s body so that her chest and belly are facing you. Support her neck with your fingers and support her shoulder and upper back with the palm of your hand. You can place a cushion on your lap, underneath your baby. IDEAL FOR: This way of nursing is ideal if you and your baby are still learning the breastfeeding dance, because you have a good view of how she’s latching. Preemies or babies who are weak find this position easy, since your hand offers extra support and you can guide your baby to where she should latch. The position also offers loads of skin-to-skin contact.
Sit on the bed with some cushions around you, or on a chair with armrests. Hold your baby on your lap, at the same height as your breasts. Support your baby’s head in the crook of your arm while you hold her close against your body. Her face, belly and knees should face your belly. You can place a cushion under your arm for support. IDEAL FOR: The cradle hold is the most common nursing position and works well for somewhat older babies who have a strong neck and who latch well. If you’ve had a caesar, this position could initially be uncomfortable because there’s pressure on your belly. Some moms also find it difficult to control the head of their newborn. But try it – you might find it comfortable from day one! YB