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Breastfeeding Positions: Pros and Cons via lactationlink.com

Pros & Cons for Each Breastfeeding Position

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips

Hi mamas! I’m Kristin Gourley, IBCLC. I’m a mom to 5 and lactation consultant with Lactation Link. I’m here today to talk about the pros and cons for various breastfeeding positions. Enjoy!

In general, any position is just fine as long as mom is comfortable and baby is able to get....

In many breastfeeding pictures you come across on social media or in other places, you may notice that lots of moms feed in a cradle or cross-cradle position.  In fact, many hospital nurses are only familiar with cradle positions!  Our in-person and video classes, however, go over many different breastfeeding positions commonly used for breastfeeding.  It can be great to have all these different tools in your toolbox for when baby is tired, distracted, you need to rest, your nipples are sore, or baby is having trouble latching.

What are the positions?

Check out our classes for detailed information and video how-to’s, but some great breastfeeding positions are:

  • Cradle & cross cradle
  • Football
  • Laid back / Biological Nurturing
  • Side lying

As baby gets older and more acrobatic in his nursing, you may notice that you experience some very creative and non-traditional breastfeeding positions!  In general, any position is just fine as long as mom is comfortable and baby is able to get all the milk he needs.

Breastfeeding Positions: Pros and Cons via lactationlink.com

Which breastfeeding positions should I use?

The answer to what position you should use is just like the answer to so many breastfeeding questions- it depends!  Baby’s age and size, your breast size and shape, the type of birth you had and how you’re recovering, and many other things can influence what position you’ll find most comfortable for you and your baby.  

I’m going to go over the most common breastfeeding positions and give some pros and cons to them to help you decide what might be best for you.  Remember that sometimes you don’t know if you’ll like it until you try!

Pros & Cons to Breastfeeding Positions

Cradle & cross cradle

  • The most common positions and your nurse at the hospital is probably familiar with them and can help you adjust some
  • When latching baby with the cross-cradle, you can help steady his head and bring him gently and quickly to your breast when he opens wide.  Sometimes moms can be nervous and this position can help them feel more in control!
  • Many moms find cradling baby’s head in their forearm/elbow to feel comfortable and natural, and leaves their other arm to do something else (hold a remote or reach for that snack!)
  • Many nursing pillows are designed for the cradle positions and can help raise baby higher without too much strain from mom, and can help position baby tummy-to-tummy with mom.
  • When nursing in public, this position covers your postpartum tummy with baby’s body!
  • Many moms use this position successfully from baby’s birth day until weaning day, no matter how old baby is when that happens!
Breastfeeding Positions: Pros and Cons via lactationlink.com

Cross Cradle hold

Breastfeeding Positions: Pros and Cons via lactationlink.com

Cross Cradle hold

Breastfeeding Positions: Pros and Cons via lactationlink.com

Cradle hold

Football

  • Many moms who had a cesarean birth find this position most comfortable since it doesn’t press baby’s body onto your abdomen.
  • It is usually able to be used with nursing pillows, especially if you rotate the pillow to your side.
  • You can steady baby’s head with your hand as you bring him gently and quickly to your breast when he opens wide.  
  • Some moms find baby latches better and seems more cozy in this position since they are so tight against mom and their legs don’t hang at all.  If baby is sleepy, though, it might make baby fall right to sleep due to the coziness.
  • Depending on baby’s size and mom’s breast size, football position can be tricky in public.  It’s generally easier to achieve a good latch when you have pillows behind you, which isn’t always possible at a restaurant or the mall!
  • Usually most compatible with smaller and younger babies.
Breastfeeding Positions: Pros and Cons via lactationlink.com

{Football hold} + {Plum Pretty Sugar Robe}

Laid back / Biological Nurturing

  • This is a great position for mom to relax or even catch a little nap with her feet up!
  • Some babies are more comfortable on their tummies, and this position allows baby to be on his tummy.
  • This is a great position to try when skin to skin.
  • Baby takes the lead with this position, which can feel strange for mom at first.  
  • It can feel very tricky at first, but remember that practice makes perfect!  Some moms find that having an IBCLC help them with this position for the first time to be helpful.  Many moms I see have their husbands help them the first few times with this one as they learn how to position baby and their breasts.  Other times Mom can sit back and watch baby latch unassisted. 
  • Being laid back can be great for mamas with oversupply or a forceful letdown because gravity helps to slow down the milk flow for baby.  Babies who get frustrated by choking on the milk in other positions often like this one.
  • Can be used with any age or size of baby.
  • Even if you are primarily using another position, reclining some can make any position more comfortable and prevent painful hunching over baby.
Breastfeeding Positions: Pros and Cons via lactationlink.com

Laid back nursing + {Undercover Mama dress: use code LLINK for 20% off}

Breastfeeding Positions: Pros and Cons via lactationlink.com

Laid back nursing

Side lying

  • This can be a good position if you’ve had a difficult birth and it’s uncomfortable for you to sit for long periods.
  • Some moms find this position comes naturally, but some moms need a little help figuring out where to put their arms, breasts, and baby.  Having another person help position baby at first can be helpful, too.
  • This is not the best position for nursing in public since we don’t often have access to a bed or comfy spot to lay down and nurse when not at home.
  • Of course, this is one of the best positions for mom to take a nap while feeding! Just grab a nursing nightgown and a pillow for your head!
  • Many moms use this position over the whole course of breastfeeding, no matter baby’s age!  
Breastfeeding Positions: Pros and Cons via lactationlink.com

Side lying + {Undercover Mama nursing dress: use code LLINK for 20% off}

Breastfeeding Positions: Pros and Cons via lactationlink.com

Feel free to come back and go over these pros and cons when baby enters a new stage and you need to try something new– babies always keep us on our toes!  For more information about how to achieve these positions, check out our Breastfeeding Basics class.  If you’re trying a position and it’s just not working, don’t hesitate to try another one and contact us for a consult to give you some personalized support.  Remember that the only rule when it comes to breastfeeding positions is that both mom and baby are comfortable and baby is getting what she needs!  

Have you signed up for our free email breastfeeding course?

I think you’ll find it really helpful. Click the image below for more info.

Join our free confident breastfeeding course

Thanks for stopping by,

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Kristin Gourley, BS, IBCLC

References

Wilson-Clay, B. & Hoover, K. (2017). Positioning and latch in The Breastfeeding Atlas, 6th ed. Manchaca, Texas: LactNews Press.

Lauwers, J. & Swisher, A. (2011). Getting breastfeeding started in Counseling the nursing mother:  A lactation consultant’s guide, 5th ed. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

3 amazing breastfeeding benefits for moms via lactationlink.com

3 amazing breastfeeding benefits for moms

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support

We see so much in the news, on blogs, and on social media about the benefits of breastfeeding for baby– for good reason, breastfeeding is GREAT for babies!  But did you know that research shows that breastfeeding also provides long-term health benefits for moms too?  Here are my three top reasons that breastfeeding benefits mom’s health:

3 amazing breastfeeding benefits for moms via lactationlink.com

3 Amazing Breastfeeding Benefits for Moms

  1. Breastfeeding improves the overall health of women.  When a mother breastfeeds, she is reducing her risk of reproductive cancers as well as other common health problems. A great way to decrease your lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is to breastfeed (1). Breastfeeding also reduces your risk of ovarian cancer.  The longer you breastfeed, in fact, the greater reduction in your risk.  Other health issue risks reduced by breastfeeding are hypertension and heart attack. (2)
  2. Breastfeeding moms get more sleep. It may seem counterintuitive if you’re a tired mama waking often to nurse your little one back to sleep, but it’s true!  Multiple studies have found that exclusive breastfeeding moms sleep more hours, are healthier physically, and have more energy than formula feeding mothers. What an amazing breastfeeding benefit that we all need! (3, 3a)
  3. Longer duration before fertility returns, but more thorough return to pre-pregnant state: Did you know that a mom’s uterus returns to its pre-pregnant size much faster if the mom is breastfeeding?  Weight loss can vary among breastfeeding moms, but mom’s uterus size going back to normal is definitely influenced by breastfeeding (4). Also, breastfeeding is much more likely to keep your period away after birth.  Exclusive breastfeeding–following baby’s lead day and night–can prevent your menstrual cycle from returning for a time and even be used as a reliable form of birth control for up to six months as long as you don’t have any vaginal bleeding in that time period (5).  If this sounds like an option for you, you can discuss natural family planning methods with your healthcare provider.  

3 amazing breastfeeding benefits for moms via lactationlink.com

Breastfeeding can seem overwhelming sometimes and it’s hard as a mama to be on-call 24/7 for your little one, but reviewing the benefits for not just baby but also for you can be a great motivator when the going gets tough.  What breastfeeding benefit has been most impactful for you as a mom?  I’d love to hear in the comments.

 For more info on breastfeeding benefits for both mom and baby, check out our Confident Breastfeeding Course!

6-day

Thanks for stopping by,

Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

(1) Newcomb, P.A., Storer, B.E., Longnecker, M.P., et al. (1994). Lactation and a reduced risk of premenopausal breast cancer. New England Journal of Medicine. 330:81-87.

(2) Schwarz, E. B., Ray, R. M., Stuebe, A. M., Allison, M. A., Ness, R. B., Freiberg, M. S., & Cauley, J. A. (2009). Duration of Lactation and Risk Factors for Maternal Cardiovascular Disease. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 113(5), 974–982. http://doi.org/10.1097/01.AOG.0000346884.67796.ca

(3) Kendall-Tackett, K., Cong, Z., Hale, T.W. (2011). The effect of feeding method on sleep duration, maternal well-being, and postpartum depression. Clinical Lactation 2(2): 22-26.

(3a) Doan, T., Gardiner, A., Gay, C.L., Lee, K.A. (2007). Breastfeeding increases sleep duration of new parents. Journal of perinatal and neonatal nursing 21(3), 200-206.

(4) Negishi, H., Kishida, T., Yamada, H., Hirayama, E., Mikuni, M., Fujimoto, S. (1999). Changes in uterine size after vaginal delivery and cesarean section determined by vaginal sonography in the puerperium. Archives of gynecology and obstetrics 263(1-2), pp. 13-16.

(5) Riordan, J. & Wambach, K. (2010). Fertility, sexuality, and contraception during lactation. In Breastfeeding and human lactation (4th ed., p. 705-736). Boston, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Bartick, M.C., Schwarz, E.B., Green, B.D., Jegier, B.J., Reinhold, A.G., Colaizy, T.T., Bogen, D.L., Schaefer, A.J., and Steube, A.M. (2016). Suboptimal Breastfeeding in the United States: Maternal and Pediatric Health Outcomes and Costs. Maternal and Child Nutrition, doi: 10.1111/mcn.12366. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/mcn.12366/full.

 

 

mom magazine cover

Tuesday Tools with Pregnancy + Newborn Magazine

By | Breastfeeding, Classes, Media

I’m excited to be featured in Pregnancy & Newborn Magazine’s January issue!  I’m debunking a few breastfeeding myths in the article.  Here is a preview of the questions I’m answering:

“Breastfeeding hurts. You’ll just have to get through it.”

“You’ll figure it out as you go.  There’s no need for a prenatal breastfeeding class.”

“Just ask a nurse or lactation specialist at the hospital.”

“At least you tried — just give the baby a bottle.”

“Your mom and sister didn’t produce enough milk, so you probably won’t either.”

Catch my answers and the full article here!  Also, my video breastfeeding classes answer all of these topics in detail!  Available to click and learn and they never expire.  Come say hi on instagram today and make sure you have my ‘Top Ten Tips for Breastfeeding Success’ to start with.

Thanks for coming by,

Lindsey Headshot white with grey

Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC

mom learning how to breastfeed correctly

Tuesday Tools – Both Hands Make a “C”

By | Breastfeeding, Classes, Features, Recommended Products

In my Breastfeeding Basics class (offered in-person and online) I spend about ten minutes going over latch.  I focus so much teaching here because I find that the majority of my personal consultations are spent improving or correcting a poor latch.  Difficulty with latch is also one of the top 3 reasons mothers wean their infants.

Today for my Tuesday Tools I’m sharing “Both Hands Make a C” when learning the cross-cradle breastfeeding position (one of my favorites to teach).

women in a class

Here I am in a recent Breastfeeding Basics class teaching the attendees about making a C with their hands when latching their infants.  (Nursing Pillow is from Ergobaby).

baby being breastfed

Here you can see one hand is ‘making a C’ supporting the breast.  Keep in mind not to get too close to the nipple or areola.  You don’t want to get in baby’s way!  You can see the other hand is ‘making a C’ by supporting baby’s neck and her fingers are placed loosely below the infant’s ears.  The palm is resting in-between the shoulder blades.

Hope this helps!  More great tips like this in my breastfeeding video classes – Breastfeeding Basics, Intermediate Breastfeeding, and Pumping and Storing Breastmilk.  Once you purchase the classes they can viewed over and over and they never expire!  In-person class dates coming up are 12/10, 1/16, 2/20, 3/12, and 4/9.  If you’d like me to come to your area, I would love to travel for a class size of 5-10. Email me to arrange.

Thanks for coming by,

Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC

Lindsey head shot

mom laying down with her child in bed

How to break latch properly

By | Breastfeeding, Classes

Whether breastfeeding is going great from the beginning or is requiring a little more attention and practice, you’ll want this “tool” in your back pocket!  I talk a lot in my classes about having plenty of “tools” or techniques that you are educated on to be able to use in lots of different common breastfeeding situations.  I also explain the difference between the sensation you’ll feel when baby is latched on properly, or pain that comes from an incorrect or poor latch.

Good Latch

Some of the ways Moms describe the feeling of a good latch is,

“It’s a tugging and pulling sensation”, “I feel some pressure there”,  “I feel something, but it doesn’t hurt”.

baby sucking on her mom's nipple

Bad Latch

Some of the ways Moms describe a bad latch are,

“Ouch!”,  “It’s pinching,” and they describe their pain above 5 on a 0-10 pain scale (10 being the worst).

Don’t ‘Muscle Through’

The key to avoiding skin breakdown and nipple pain is to avoid a bad latch for an extended period of time.  I have had some clients who thought they had to muscle through nipple pain because they got bad advice like, “It’s going to hurt, that’s just part of breastfeeding.”  That’s not true!  A good latch will not hurt!  Let me explain this a little further.  Your nipples will most likely feel tender post-delivery.  That is much different than Ouch! Ouch! 9/10 pinching pain.  Also, if you have had an incorrect latch for several feeds to a few days, there may be some pain with a good latch while healing is occurring.  Many women are able to continue breastfeeding during the healing as long as the problem has been corrected.  Nipple pain and soreness is one of the top 3 reasons mothers wean their babies!  So what do you do when you are having a lot of pain during latch-on?  Read on!

How to break latch properly

When you have a poor latch, it’s important to break the latch properly, and start over with the latch process.  Most of the time this problem can be solved by waiting for the infant to open their mouth wide, and also bringing them onto the breast deeply.  There are two ways to break the latch properly.

Insert your finger into the corner of baby’s mouth – push back in between the gums

 

mom finishing breastfeeding 018-storyboard

Roll the baby’s top lip back toward their nose

019-storyboard breaking a latch

I hope this helps!  More great tips, pictures, and video tutorials in my Breastfeeding video classes, available to view at your convenience.  No need to ‘sign up’, just click and watch.  Also the classes come with a notes outline, can be watched as many times as you like, and never expire!  I’m running a great giveaway today on instagram and be sure to download my free PDF, ‘Top Ten Tips for Breastfeeding Success’.

I’ve created this great e-mail course to help you get breastfeeding started on the right foot! Click the image below for more info.

6-day

Thanks for coming by today!

xo ~ Lindsey, RN, IBCLC

Lindsey head shot