The key to successful breastfeeding is positioning. Breastfeeding a baby is seen as a natural process after birth but for many mothers it does not come naturally and may require lots of patience and learning. If a baby is positioned well at the breast they will have the best chance of achieving an optimal latch resulting in good milk transfer and a healthy milk supply.
Different positions and holds include laid-back, the cradle hold, the underarm (football) hold and lying down.
There is no single right way to position your baby at the breast, the key is:
a) for it to feel comfortable for mother and baby and
b) there to be evidence of efficient colostrum/milk transfer.
Below are some examples of different positions you can try.
1. The Cradle Position
2. The Cross Cradle Position
3. The Side-Lying Position
4. Laid-back Position
If you are having difficulty getting your baby to latch at the breast, the laid-back position may be perfect for you. This position allows the baby to use its natural instincts to seek and attach to the breast without feeling pressure or force. It’s also effective for slowing down the milk flow at the start of a feed if the letdowns are too fast.
Some gentle support may be required initially to assist with correct attachment but it won’t take long for the baby to work out how to latch and suck properly, and as breastfeeding gets easier you may find the other positions work just as well for you and your baby.