One of the best things a mother could do for her newborn child is to try breastfeeding. With this journey comes figuring out the best positions for breastfeeding newborns, adjusting to feeding schedules, and trying to maintain nursing through the most important news.
Luckily, there are many different positions to discover and try with your baby.
Benefits of Breastfeeding Your Newborn
While there are many controversies surrounding this topic, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that “infants be exclusively breastfed for about the first 6 months with continued breastfeeding while introducing appropriate complementary foods for 1 year or longer.”
The WHO also suggests the same thing with “appropriate complementary foods up to 2 years of age or older.”
Perfect Proportions & Easy Digestion
Although the amount of nutrients given to newborns through the mother’s milk is beneficial from a vitamin perspective, there are many other perks.
For starters, the breastmilk will always give the baby perfect proportions. Your baby will always get exactly what they need, even as they continue growing and developing.
Because of the compound makeup of breastmilk, your baby will also be able to easily digest it.
Within the first few days after having your baby, you’ll notice a thick, yellowish fluid called colostrum, which is packed with protein, sugar, and other beneficial nutrients.
These are often hard to duplicate in baby formula, making it even more important for your baby to get from you.
Not to mention, colostrum also helps your baby’s digestive tract prepare for the actual milk that starts to produce just days later.
Reduce the Risk of Disease
Breastfeeding has also shown the ability to help reduce the risk of diseases.
Thanks to the important antibodies, especially immunoglobulin A, your baby may have a less chance of getting illnesses such as:
- Middle ear infections
- Intestinal tissue damage
- Allergic diseases
- And more!
Adding to the list of perks is the fact that your baby can maintain a healthy weight and prevent childhood obesity.
This has to do with self-regulation and the baby’s way of naturally eating until they are full.
Babies who are breastfed also have a higher amount of gut bacteria which is known to affect fat storage. And since we’re talking about breastfeeding benefits, there are also some for you!
Breastfeeding Benefits for Mom
Moms who breastfeed typically experience quicker weight loss as it causes your body to burn more calories.
It helps to contract your uterus, have a lower risk of depression, may prevent menstruation, and save you money.
Now that we’ve mapped out the benefits, let’s talk about several key positions you can try to help your breastfeeding journey a success.
Positions for Breastfeeding Newborns
Making milk comes naturally; however, helping your newborn latch and feed properly doesn’t always come that way.
Yes, there are moments of bad latches and sore nipples, but finding your sweet spot will come sooner than later. Try the positions below until you find the ones that work for you and your baby.
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Being one of the most popular holds, this position requires your baby’s head to be rested in the bend of your elbow on the side you’re choosing to breastfeed on.
The hand on that same side will be used to support the rest of your baby’s body.
Help your baby latch by placing your nipple between your thumb and first finger (just above the areola) and pointing it slightly toward your baby’s nose.
He/She is now ready to latch on.
Once properly latched, use your other arm and hand for cradled support.
Coming in as one of the second most used holds, the football hold resembles exactly what its title suggests.
In this position, your baby will be placed at the side you plan to nurse on with their body facing you and legs tucked under your arm.
Use the hand from that same side to support your baby’s head while using the other hand to help your baby latch (like the cradle hold).
This position is really beneficial if you’ve had a c-section, a small baby, large breasts, or twins.
This position works best with the help of a nursing pillow as you’ll be laying your baby across the front of you, holding your baby’s head opposite to the breast you would like to nurse from.
For example, if you want to nurse from the left breast, hold their head with the right hand. The other hand can then be used to help your baby latch.
The side-lying position is perfect for breastfeeding newborns who will be co-sleeping.
Since you are already laying in bed, no need to get up. Make sure you and your baby are both lying on your sides with your tummies facing one another.
Use your open hand (from the side you’re not laying on) to help your baby latch.
This type of feeding style is widely used to help decrease clogged milk ducts and conditions like mastitis.
For this position you’ll want to lay your baby on their back and you crouch over them on all fours to literally dangle the nipple in their mouth.
Some moms have also said this position comes in handy for times with latching seems to be more difficult.
How to Get the Perfect Latch When Breastfeeding Newborns
Speaking of latching, this is the most important component when nursing your new baby.
Without it, breastfeeding can become difficult and you may experience more discomfort than necessary.
Use the following tips to make sure you have a great latch during your position of choice:
- Bring your baby towards your breast and allow your baby to take initiative.
- Make sure your baby’s mouth covers the nipple and part of the areola (depending on size).
- Help prevent tucking of the lower lip by making sure your baby’s mouth opens wide. Use the brushing-nipple technique in which you gently brush your baby’s top lip with your nipple.
When you want to safely unattach your baby, gently stick a finger into the corner of the baby’s mouth. Pushing your breast toward your baby also works.
As you navigate the variety of positions for breastfeeding newborns, keep in mind that you may have to try the same position multiple times. Your baby is learning what works best right alongside you, so enjoy the process and the great time of bonding!