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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,

lactationlink008

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.

Can I breastfeed after breast surgery? via lactationlink.com

Can I breastfeed after breast surgery?

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips, Can I breastfeed if?

Hi mamas, I’m Stephanie Weight Hadfield, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and mom of 4. I’m here today to talk about breastfeeding after breast surgery. Enjoy!

This has been such a common question recently on our mother’s support forum on instagram.  Most people automatically assume that it isn’t possible to breastfeed after having had breast surgery, but many mothers who have had breast surgery are able to go on and have an enjoyable and fulfilling breastfeeding relationship with their babies. Diana West IBCLC, author of Defining Your Own Success: Breastfeeding After Breast Reduction Surgery, believes that breastfeeding is possible if three factors are present:

  1. At least one breast and one nipple
  2. Information 
  3. Support

The question here isn’t if you’ll be able to make milk, but how much you’ll be able to make. Most women who have had breast surgery are able to make at least some milk for their babies, if not a full supply. Let’s first discuss factors that may affect milk production. Then we’ll cover some practical things you can do to give yourself the best start possible, as well as how you can have a breastfeeding relationship with your baby even if you’re not able to make all the milk your baby needs.

surgery

 

In this post, I will be discussing the factors that influence breastfeeding after breast surgery and how to prepare to breastfeed.

  • Contributing factors
    • Where your scars are
    • When your surgery took place
  • How to prepare to breastfeed after breast surgery
    • Prenatal education
    • Consider one-on-one support with an IBCLC
    • Tips on choosing a supportive healthcare provider
    • Learn about at-the-breast supplementation

Can I breastfeed after breast surgery? via lactationlink.com

Contributing factors to breastfeeding success after breast surgery

First, consider where your scars are. Incisions around the areola (that darker skin around your nipple)  are more likely to interfere with milk ducts and nerves critical to lactation than incisions in the fold under the breast, in the armpit, or the navel. If a portion of milk-making glands are removed, your potential milk volume will probably be affected. Because of this, breast reduction is more likely to cause supply problems than breast augmentation. By the same token, if only one breast was affected by surgery, usually a breast biopsy or lumpectomy, full milk production is more likely.

Next, consider how long ago your surgery took place. Nerves can regenerate slowly over time. So, the more years that have passed since the surgery, the better chances you have for necessary nerve response, even if important nerves were severed. If you can feel both touch and temperature on your areola and nipple you are more likely to have the intact nerve pathways necessary for a normal milk ejection reflex.

Milk ducts, the supply lines of the breast, can regenerate too, and they do it fastest in response to pregnancy and breastfeeding. Many moms who had partial supplies with their first babies may find that they get progressively more milk with each subsequent baby, sometimes even a full supply.

There’s really no way to know exactly how breast surgery has affected your milk-making capacity until baby is born and your breasts get a chance to start doing their job. It’s important to remember that there is great value in any amount of milk you are able to provide for your baby. Babies can receive some immune protection and nutritional benefit from even small amounts of their mother’s’ milk. The benefits of the milk itself aside, breastfeeding is much more than just another way to get food into a baby. It’s also about a physical and emotional connection between mother and child. It is definitely worth working for, and any mother who chooses to should be supported in her goal.

Can I breastfeed after breast surgery? via lactationlink.com

So, what can you do to prepare yourself for breastfeeding after breast surgery? Here’s my advice:

  1. Learn as much as you can about normal breastfeeding, especially how to position your baby effectively to get a deep, comfortable latch, and the signs of good milk intake. Lactation Link’s Breastfeeding Basics course is a fantastic option for moms anywhere in the world. It’s more comprehensive and easy to understand than your typical local hospital breastfeeding course, and you can re-watch it as many times as you need.
  2. Consider scheduling a prenatal e-consult with one of Lactation Link’s International Board Certified Lactation Consultants to go over your health and surgery history and work together to create a plan to monitor and protect baby’s growth and maximize your milk supply. Learn more here.
  3. Choose healthcare providers for both yourself and your baby who are knowledgeable about breastfeeding, not just tolerant of it. Ask around for referrals and interview a few to find providers that will be a good fit for your family. This post, How to Choose a Healthcare Provider for Your Baby, is a great place to get some tips on this as well.
  4. Learn about at-breast supplementation. There are special supplementing devices that consist of bottles with long thin tubes that baby can latch onto along with your nipple so that he or she can be supplemented while breastfeeding if more milk is needed than you are able to produce. Think of it as an external, bonus milk duct system. These devices can be a fantastic way to preserve the benefits of the breastfeeding relationship while ensuring that your baby is receiving the nutrition he or she needs to grow well. Some mothers really love them, and others…not so much. There definitely seems to be a learning curve for using at-breast supplementers. While they can be helpful, they aren’t the only option for supplementation. Lactation Link IBCLCs can help you find the best solution for supplementation through an in-person consultation or online eConsult

Can I breastfeed after breast surgery? via lactationlink.com

Breastfeeding after breast surgery sometimes requires an adjustment of expectations. There will be many options for working through the challenges the come your way, and YOU are the one who gets to decide what works for your family. Give yourself space to celebrate your commitment to giving your baby the best start possible in life and all the work you put into that goal. And remember, your love for your baby can’t be measured in ounces or milliliters. It’s way too big for that.

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,

Get in-person or online help with breastfeeding.

Stephanie Weight Hadfield, BS, IBCLC

Sources:

West, D. & Marasco, L. (2009). The breastfeeding mother’s guide to making more milk. New York: McGraw Hill.

West, D. (2001). Defining your own success: Breastfeeding after breast reduction surgery.  Schaumburg, IL: La Leche League International, 2001

 

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,

headshots-lactation-link-2-1

Kristin Gourley, BS, 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 holding newborn baby

Caffeine + Breastfeeding

By | Breastfeeding, Classes

Is it safe to consume caffeine while breastfeeding? I posted a Fact or Fiction about this topic Friday on instagram and many of you had a lot to say!  The Fact or Fiction statement was, “Caffeine should be avoided while breastfeeding.” Here’s a few comments from you guys.

Elizabeth Kallen said, “If I can’t have caffeine after being up all night nursing, then no one is going to get fed, dressed, or loved!”

Bethany Nixon said, “I have heard up to 5 cups regular coffee a day is okay…am I doing that? NO! But if I need a second cup in the afternoon to get over the afternoon slump I will!”

Addison Fagner said, “I don’t know the answer but I do know every time I drink soda, that same night is sooooo hard on my little one! I’ve stopped all caffeine now. Not worth it!”

Here’s my answer to the statement: Fiction.

Based on research studies, very little caffeine actually passes into mother’s milk (1).  Many experts agree that it takes more than 5 cups of caffeinated coffee daily to see effects in the breastfed baby (2).  That is the equivalent of about 300 mg.  Something to keep in mind is that you are aware of each source of caffeine you are consuming.  Examples of caffeine sources include coffee, iced and hot teas, energy drinks, caffeinated soft drinks, and some over-the-counter medications.  Chocolate contains a substance that mimics caffeine and can produce a similar effect in large quantities.

Newborn baby

While these are general guidelines, we know that every baby is different!  It may take a smaller amount to affect some infants.  Here are some symptoms to watch for indicating your infant is overstimulated due to your caffeine intake.

  • Wide-eyed
  • Alert
  • Difficulty staying asleep
  • Unusually fussy

If you are noticing these symptoms, try avoiding caffeine and substituting caffeine-free beverages.  Observe your infant and watch for an improvement.  If the symptoms were due to too much caffeine, your infant should improve within a few days to a week.

I hope this is helpful!  My passion is educating you on all your feeding options so you can reach your goals, whatever they may be!  My video classes are available to click and watch at your convenience.  You can learn in the comfort of you home in your jammies!  Also my classes NEVER EXPIRE! You can watch them over and over.  They also come with a notes outline.  A great promo going out to my newsletter subscribers in the morning.  Sign up to see how to get a free full-size nipple cream from Boob and Baby. The photography in this post is by Lizzy Jean Photography.

Thanks for coming by,

Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC

Lindsey Shipley - Lactation Consultant

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Berlin, C. et al. (1984). Disposition of dietary caffeine in milk saliva and plasma of lactating women. Pediatrics(73), 59-63.
  2. Nehlig, A. and Debry, G. (1994). Consequences on the newborn of chronic maternal consumption of coffee during gestation and lactation: a review. J Am Coll Nutr(13), 1, 6-21.
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

What to do when baby won’t latch

By | Breastfeeding, Classes, Home/Hospital Visits, Recommended Products

Getting baby latched

There is so much emphasis placed on getting a good latch when breastfeeding.  A good latch will help avoid nipple pain and breakdown, lead to more efficient milk removal and an overall good milk supply.  It is important!  But what happens when, despite great technique and positioning, baby won’t latch?  There are more obvious reasons why certain babies may take a little longer to get the hang of it.  For example: prematurity, a difficult delivery, or an oral abnormality to name a few.  Other times, it can take a full-term healthy baby a little longer to catch on for seemingly no reason at all!  I make sure to teach Moms in my classes what to do when baby won’t latch.  This way, if it ends up happening, they are calm and prepared instead of panicked!

Plan B

If baby won’t latch, it is still important to get them needed calories.  After several hours without a good feed, nursing staff will check blood glucose levels.  If those levels drop low enough, it may even mean admittance to the special care nursery or NICU.  Many times when blood sugar is low the first suggestion is formula supplementation with a bottle.  We know from research that early formula supplementation puts you at a higher risk for early weaning.  From my experience, I’ve found that introducing a bottle early on amidst latching problems only makes things worse.  Here’s an alternative that is low-tech, requires little equipment, and works very well to deliver needed calories without the use of a bottle.

breast hand expression in a hospital

Using hand expression to collect colostrum in a spoon

mom feeding baby with a spoon

Delivering expressed colostrum via a spoon

mom and baby eating

Sometimes, offering a few drops of colostrum on a spoon is enough to coat babies tongue, and stimulate them to latch on.  Other times it may take several feeds of delivering the colostrum this way, coupled with frequent attempts at the bare breast to get a good latch.

mom getting help to breastfeed her child

Latching baby to breast

mom swaddling her baby

baby swaddled in a blanketI hope this helps!  One Mom told me, “I’m so glad I took your class!  It took several days for my baby to latch on properly.  The whole time I was relaxed and prepared because I knew how to feed my baby in the meantime while keeping my goal of exclusive breastfeeding in mind.” ~ Maddie

I’m here to help you reach your goals, whatever they may be!  I’m here to provide all the research and options, but I’m a firm believer that “Mama Knows Best”.  I love when Moms tell me that my classes helped them have a good breastfeeding experience.  Breastfeeding Basics is available in-person in Highland, UT (upcoming dates 11/14 and 12/10) and all 3 of my video courses are available to view individually or in a bundle.  The video courses come with an outline for note-taking.  They also never expire and can be watched over and over!  Come say hi on instagram today! The nursing pillow I use in my consultations is from Ergobaby and the photography in this post is by Lizzy Jean Photography.

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,

Lindsey head shot

~ Lindsey, RN, IBCLC

lindsey@lactationlink.com