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World Breastfeeding Week 2020: 6 Different Breastfeeding Positions For Mothers

Every year, World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated from 1 to 7 August to increase awareness on the importance of breastfeeding and improve the health of babies worldwide. The theme of World Breastfeeding Week 2020 is "Support breastfeeding for a healthier planet".

Breastfeeding, also called nursing, is the natural process of feeding babies with breast milk directly from a mother's breast. It is important and necessary to breastfeed your baby after birth because it provides health, nutritional and emotional benefits to both the infant and mother [1]. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends breastfeeding within one hour after a baby is born to at least six months of age. While continuing breastfeeding, nutritious foods should also be added for up to two years or beyond.

Although breastfeeding is a natural process, it's not always easy when it comes to breastfeeding your baby in a proper position, especially for new mothers. A mother may need additional assistance for learning how to position herself while breastfeeding so that her baby is able to latch on comfortably and get sufficient breast milk [2].

When you have your first baby and breastfeeding is new to you, you may want to try some of the common breastfeeding positions that will work best for you and your baby.
Read on to know the common breastfeeding positions.


1. Cradle hold position

The cradle hold is one of the common breastfeeding positions. [3]

  • In this position, you should sit down comfortably.
  • Hold your baby with both your arms and support your baby at the breast.
  • The baby's head is cradled near your elbow and your arm supports the baby's back and neck.

2. Cross-cradle hold position

The cross-cradle hold position is ideal for newborns and babies who have trouble getting latched on.

  • In this position, you should sit straight comfortably on a chair with armrests.
  • Bring your baby across in front of your body. Hold your baby in the crook of the arm opposite the breast you are feeding from - right arm for left breast and left arm for right breast.
  • Support the back of the baby's neck and head with your hand and with the other hand support your breast from underneath and hold it in a U-shape.
  • In this position, the mother can guide the baby's mouth easily to her breast. Do not lean forward while you are in this position.

3. Side-lying hold position

The side-lying position can be a good choice for mothers who are tired and want to breastfeed while lying down [4].


4. Football hold position

The football hold position, also called the clutch hold position is a perfect choice for nursing twins and also if you are recovering from a caesarean delivery since your baby doesn't lay across your abdomen. Also, this position is a good choice for mothers with large breasts and if your nipples are flat[5].

  • In this position, you hold your baby beside you with your elbow bent.
  • Support your baby's head with your open hand while resting your baby's back on your forearm. Your baby's face should be towards your breast.
  • If you have twins, you may choose this football-hold position to breastfeed your babies.
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5. Laid-back position

The laid-back breastfeeding position, also known as biological nurturing is often used by mothers who start their first breastfeeding. It is a great choice if you have twins or your baby has difficulty latching on.

  • In this position, you lie back comfortably on a bed or sofa, just be in a semi-reclining position.
  • Support your back, neck and shoulders with a pillow. Place your baby in front of your body so that the face is near your breast and feet and thighs are touching you.
  • Your baby may wriggle and move upwards towards your breast and try to latch on to your breast.
  • If you had a caesarean section, you could place your baby across our shoulder, so that his or her feet is not near your abdomen.
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6. Upright hold position

The upright breastfeeding position, also known as the koala hold, is a comfortable and effective breastfeeding position for babies with ear infections. A study has shown that the upright breastfeeding position can reduce ear infections and respiratory tract infections [6].

• Sit down in a comfortable position and make your baby sit upright, facing you and straddling across your knee.
• Support your baby's head and back with one arm and support your breast with the opposite hand so that your baby is able to latch on to your breast.



Helpful Tips To Follow While Breastfeeding

  • Before you start breastfeeding, take everything that you need such as pillows because you may not be able to get up again for sometime while you are breastfeeding.
  • Ensure that you and your baby is comfortable in whatever position you are in. Your baby's back and neck should be supported with your arms.
  • Check your baby is latching on properly to your breasts.
  • If your baby struggles to latch on to your breast or if breastfeeding makes you sore, seek your doctor's help.

  • To Conclude...

    Whether you choose one of these breastfeeding positions, it's always a better idea to alternate the positions you use. Also, make sure that you are comfortable in the position and your baby is able to latch on to your breast properly.

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