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Becoming a new mum is a total mind bend. Your body has undergone a complete and amazing transformation and is probably aching and sore after delivering your baby. But now you have to figure out (and quickly) how to start navigating breastfeeding positions that work not just for you but for your new bundle, too.
Sounds easy enough, right?
That should count as one of the things you never say to a new mum - about anything.
Figuring out how to comfortably hold your baby for the many, many feeding sessions and clusters you'll encounter can be a game of trial and error of positioning and re-positioning- and can frustrate the heck out of new mums. It's a skill that is learnt, not automatically bestowed upon us (a bit like motherhood in general).
We're here to make you feel at home with breastfeeding positions and offer up some little suggestions and tips so that you can feel confident trying different breastfeeding positions until you find "the one", or "ones", as the case may be.
The best breastfeeding position is one that allows your baby to latch on comfortably and effectively to make sure your nipples don't take a beating and also doesn't strain any muscles. If you're uncomfortable, or the latch feels strained, which results in sore nipples or aching muscles, the position is not going to last. You should not be in discomfort physically while trying to hold your babe in place. (Remember that feeds can last for over an hour.)
Lots of things play a factor in which breastfeeding position is right for and your children (and they may be different for subsequent babies), as your breast size and your baby's size can dictate the most comfortable position - as can their particular latch. What works for number one may not work for number two - so don't be alarmed if that's the case.
So, let's take a peek at some of the nursing options you can give a shot.
This hold is not the traditional one you see in all the breastfeeding magazines (that's the cradle position you've been seeing), but it gives you the most control over your baby's head. This hold is also known as the 'clutch hold' to avoid confusion. The easiest way to remember it, though, is with the football imagery. You literally hold your baby like a rugby ball.
This football hold is ideal for mamas of twins who need to multitask and breastfeed two babies at once (our hats are off to you, ladies), and you can use a pillow on either side for a relaxed double-feed position. This latch is great as it provides a deeper latch for many women and their babies and is a great way to help you recover from a c-section without putting pressure on the healing wound.
Easily one of the best breastfeeding positions for newborns, this hold is similar to the traditional cradle hold but allows for an easier latch for tiny bubbas learning to breastfeed.
This breastfeeding position is very similar to the traditional cradle hold but is a little trickier to perfect and takes a bit of practice. Babies who struggle with their latch will benefit from the cross-cradle hold option, as your hand is directly guiding and supporting their heads.
Similar to the Cross Cradle Hold, the traditional Cradle Hold is the same as above, except that you support the baby with the arm that is on the same side as the breast you are feeding from. (Left breast, left supporting arm doing the cradling.)
Your opposite arm then supports the baby's back, bottom and legs - the old traditional way that is still super comfy for most mums and is a natural position you'll probably want to adopt at some point or another. Note: as your baby grows, the cradle position may become too strenuous for you to hold them up, and you may need to switch to an easier hold.
This one is a bit dreamy and allows you a break from being vertical when you're undoubtedly tired. The side-lying position is so comfy, laid back and lets you settle down with the baby for a rest yourself. Newborns may struggle with this position at first, but for mamas recovering from a c section, this one is definitely worth trying out in those early days.
The one thing to be wary of in this ridiculously comfortable position is falling asleep before you've returned your baby to their own bed. Having another awake adult around is helpful in a side-lying situation who is aware that you are lying down and feeding your little one.
These are just some of the most popular breasting positions, but there are many out there that cover a whole heap of positions that can accommodate a larger baby or toddler as they progress in their breastfeeding journey. The best breastfeeding positions are truly unique to you and your babe, so don't feel like one or another position "should" work for you - if it doesn't, it doesn't, and that's fine! You will know what works best after a bit of practice.
Bonus tip for comfortable breastfeeding:
Check your baby's physical position from time to time while you’re feeding. The bottom part of your areola (underneath your nipple) should be in the baby’s mouth, and their cheeks in symmetry on either side of your nipple, their little nose, can be slightly touching your breast.
If you want more tips, tricks and a community of women offering support and suggestions for the best breastfeeding positions out there - join our exclusiveMilkbar Mum Chat on Facebook ortune in to our podcast for up to date information to help you along your journey.
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For many mothers, breastfeeding in public can be a daunting task. It’s understandable that you might be feeling uncomfortable when it comes to public breastfeeding. This is why we’ve put together this guide to help answer your questions and provide helpful tips on how to feel more confident while breastfeeding in public.