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8 breastfeeding positions to try

At birth or a little before, you made the choice to breastfeed your baby and are now looking for the best breastfeeding position . Spoiler: there isn't one. Everything will depend on your baby, his needs and you . There are breastfeeding positions to limit regurgitation , anticipate cracks or even limit your baby's colic . In this article, we come back together on how to breastfeed, the best breastfeeding positions, those to avoid and we offer you tips for breastfeeding.

How to breastfeed?

Breastfeeding is a natural process of nourishing your newborn through the breast milk generated in your new mother's chest. This involves getting your baby to suckle on your nipple so that he can extract enough milk to satisfy his hunger.

However, natural does not mean innate or simple : some babies and young mothers take several feedings to find the right balance and achieve a good feeding.

Poorly negotiated breastfeeding can be the source of various problems. On the one hand, it can be dangerous for your baby if he does not eat his fill – find our article on foods that promote the production of breast milk. On the other hand, breastfeeding can be unpleasant for you, because of the pain associated with breastfeeding and in particular because of breastfeeding cracks in the nipples.

This is why it may be interesting to benefit from advice and support from a health and breastfeeding professional.

Breastfeeding coaching to reassure yourself

Are you about to give birth or a new mother and are afraid of going wrong when breastfeeding? Have you received advice from your doctor and/or midwife but would like more information? Be sure you're doing it right? Please note that there are breastfeeding coaches who offer breastfeeding support, directly or remotely.

The issue of breastfeeding in public

When and how to breastfeed in public? There are many debates today about whether or not to be modest when breastfeeding in public. Currently in France and since 1994, there are no restrictions on breastfeeding in public places, outdoors or indoors. Labor law only regulates breastfeeding in the workplace, limited to 1 hour per day, divided into two 30-minute feedings during the child's first year. Beyond these two texts, it is therefore up to you to decide whether or not you feel embarrassed about the idea of ​​breastfeeding in public and how to “hide” yourself if you do not wish to do so in public. audience. Some breastfeeding positions are more discreet; we will talk about it again.

The different stages of feeding

Breastfeeding is broken down into different phases. Before discussing the best positions for breastfeeding, let's take the time to discuss them together.

1. Choose the right time: baby’s awakening and signs of hunger

Every feeding begins with a sign from your child: he is hungry. The signs are more or less significant and understandable depending on the age of your baby and your experience. Here are some early hunger signs to help you understand your infant – the more you know your child, the more you will be able to recognize their individual hunger signals:

  • Head movements: Your baby turns his head repeatedly, looking for something to suck. If your baby is close to you, he may also instinctively turn towards your breast;
  • Mouth movements: Your baby's mouth movements can indicate that he is ready to nurse. He can open and close his mouth, or make sucking movements;
  • Sucking on objects: Some babies instinctively suck on their fingers, pacifier, or other objects when they are hungry;
  • Tongue movements: Tongue movements, such as protruding the tongue outward, may indicate preparation for sucking;
  • Hand to mouth: Your baby often puts his hands to his mouth when he is hungry, showing an instinctive sign of seeking food;
  • Scraping, moaning and fussing: The baby may make scraping or moaning sounds, indicating discomfort and desire to eat. Hungry, it may become agitated, moving its arms and legs frantically;
  • Worry and crying: the last sign of hunger is often the appearance of crying. This is a late warning signal that may take time to subside.

2. Get comfortable

The second step of breastfeeding is to position yourself and your baby correctly for maximum comfort and safety.

For your part, the important thing is to sit so that you feel comfortable and benefit from good back support. Pregnancy, childbirth and carrying your child regularly are not kind to your back: it is essential to protect it as much as possible.

As for positioning your baby, you should hold your baby close to you, support his head and align his nose with your nipple. He should be facing the breast, with his mouth wide open.

We will see in the rest of this article the best positions for breastfeeding your child.

3. Put your baby to the breast

Once you and your newborn are well positioned, you can uncover your breast. Nursing clothes allow you to reveal your breast without undressing completely. Next, it's a matter of putting your baby to the breast. Depending on your child's age, you can either bring your breast closer to their mouth by supporting and guiding them with your free hand, or let your child latch on on their own.

How to put your baby to the breast?

While your baby is very small and doesn't yet know how to latch on his own, here are three steps to help him latch on to your breast:

  1. Bring your breast to your child's mouth. When your child's chin touches your breast, gently pass your nipple over his upper lip;
  2. Wait until he opens his mouth very wide as if he wants to yawn;
  3. Quickly bring him closer to your breast by pushing on his shoulder blades with the palm of your hand. To facilitate suction, you must:
    • his head is tilted just a little backwards,
    • her lower lip touches your breast first and the nipple is very close to her upper lip
    • and that your nipple points towards his palate and not towards his tongue.

4. Alternate sucking phases and pause phases

Your baby is now at your breast and breastfeeding.

First of all – and especially during the first feedings when you are still just discovering your child and breastfeeding, check that your child's sucking is effective . Is he actually breastfeeding and drinking enough? When the sucking is effective, you can see the sucking movements in his jaw. At the start of the feeding, they are light and fast. When the milk starts to flow, the movements become slower and deeper. You see and hear your baby swallowing.

Then, everything will depend on your child, his problems and his sucking rhythm . Some children need to alternate sucking phases and pause phases, particularly to avoid regurgitation. In this case, you will have to separate your child from your breast to force him to take breaks: we talk about this in the next point about breaking the suction.

Also think about yourself: a good breastfeed is one that is not painful for you. If you feel pain, you can resume latching or try to improve latch. In some cases, you can gently lower your baby's chin to curl their lower lip once they are at the breast. What if it doesn't work and the pain persists? We can only recommend that you contact someone specialized in breastfeeding for personalized advice.

5. Break the Suction

Whether to encourage your baby to take breaks during his meal (and thus help him digest better in particular) or at the end of his meal, it may be necessary to break the suction. To do this, you should not remove your breast from your baby's mouth while breastfeeding: you risk rushing him and hurting yourself.

To gently break the suction:

  1. Gently insert your finger into the corner of your baby's mouth. Place it between his gums, then in his mouth to stop the sucking;
  2. Once the suction stops, gently release your nipple.

6. Promote belching

Each feeding normally ends with a final burp. Your baby expels the air absorbed during feeding. This action limits regurgitation, breathing difficulties and difficulty digesting, as well as the crying associated with these various discomforts.

Once you have finished feeding, place your baby against you with their head over your shoulder. Gently tap his back to accompany him in his belching. If your baby tends to spit up, you can cover your shoulder with a diaper beforehand to protect yourself.

8 breastfeeding positions

The best breastfeeding position is a position that meets both your needs – comfort, absence of pain, discretion – and those of your baby – comfort, safety. This position can evolve throughout your breastfeeding practice because your challenges and those of your newborn evolve but also because your child grows little by little.

Classical position, cradle position, Madonna position

The classic position, also called the Madonna position or the cradle position, is the breastfeeding position most frequently used by mothers to breastfeed their babies. It is so called because of its resemblance to many artistic depictions of the Virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus.

The Madonna position is practiced seated, potentially with a nursing pillow on your knees to help support your child. If you are breastfeeding with your left breast, use your left arm to support your baby. Place your baby's body on your left forearm with his or her head in the crook of your elbow. With your right hand, give your child your breast then place your right arm around your child's body to provide a little more security.

🎥 Find below how to deploy the Madonna position in six steps with your newborn.

Inverted Madonna position

The Reverse Madonna position is, as the name suggests, an inverted version of the Madonna position. In fact, it involves holding your child against you with the hand opposite the breast on which he is suckling. In other words, if you breastfeed with your left breast, use your right arm to support your baby. With your left hand, start by holding your breast and feeding it to your child, then once they have it, you can place your left arm around your child to give them a cuddle while they nurse.

This position is popular with very young mothers because it allows you to easily visualize the newborn's feeding and thus know if he is taking well or not. It is therefore possible to start with this position to ensure that the baby understands how to breastfeed before moving on to other, more comfortable positions.

🎥 Find below how to deploy the inverted Madonna position in seven steps.

Rugby ball position

The rugby ball position, sometimes also called the football position, is a less common and more original position than the previous positions.

In this position, your baby is next to you rather than facing you. If you breastfeed with your right breast, your baby's body and feet are nestled in the crook of your right arm, while his or her head rests on your right hand. The opposite hand can help you hold your breast. You can of course rest your right arm and your baby on a nursing pillow for your comfort.

This position is interesting for you if you have had a cesarean section because the baby does not rest on the mother's stomach: it thus reduces the weight placed on the chest and abdomen. It may also be of interest to babies with low birth weight or those who have difficulty latching on to the breast. In fact, their head is completely supported, unlike previous breastfeeding positions.

Side lying position

The lying position, or lying on your side, is, as its name suggests, a breastfeeding position that is practiced lying down.

You are lying on your side, facing your baby who is also lying down. Your breast rests on the mattress, at the level of your baby's mouth. You can use a pillow to support your back and neck, or a nursing pillow to elevate your baby.

This position has benefits for you if you have had a cesarean section because your baby's weight is not resting directly on your abdomen. It is also useful during a nap or at night, if you are exhausted and sleepy. Be careful though if you are in danger of falling asleep – ask your partner to make sure you don't fall asleep alongside your child, this can be dangerous for them.

Laid-Back position or lying position

The laid-back position is also a breastfeeding position that is practiced lying down. Only, in this position, your child lies on your stomach.

Make yourself comfortable, on the sofa or in your bed. You can rest your back and neck on one or more pillow(s) to be well supported. Now place your child on top of you, lying flat on your stomach, head level with your breast.

This position does not really allow you to see the amount of milk your child is taking. It therefore becomes interesting when you know that your baby knows how to breastfeed. It allows a real hug and strong contact between you and your baby.

koala position

The koala position is a seated breastfeeding position in which the child faces you. It is suitable for children of a certain age who can already hold their head up and stay in a seated position.

You are seated, leaning back in a chair or on a sofa, with both thighs pressed together. Your child is facing you, against you, sitting astride your tightened legs. He suckles the breast he wants.

This position is more comfortable once your child is older and can no longer fit easily in your arms, as during his first months.

Rider or sidesaddle position

The rider position is a seated breastfeeding position in which the child sits astride one of your thighs. It is suitable for children old enough to hold their head and maintain a sitting position.

You are seated with your legs spread or cross-legged, tucked into the back of a sofa. Your child sits astride one of your two thighs, facing you, and suckles the breast on the side where he is seated.

This position is comfortable if you like to sit cross-legged and once your child has grown up and is no longer held in your arms.

Position of the she-wolf

The wolf position is a breastfeeding position whose name refers to the way wolves feed their young. It contains whatever the age of your child.

Your child is lying on his back. You position yourself on all fours above him, one of your breasts free. Place your nipple at the height of your baby's mouth and let him suckle like that.

The wolf position is perhaps not a position that you will adopt on a daily basis to breastfeed your child, but it is interesting occasionally. To relieve your back, relieve pain related to the drainage of milk in your breasts or to allow your baby to breastfeed differently.

Biological nurturing or instinctive breastfeeding

Biological nurturing (BN in English) or instinctive breastfeeding is, more than a breastfeeding position, a concept of breastfeeding fully integrating the comfort of the mother and the baby. There is no standard position in Biological Nurturing support, just a nice balance between your needs and those of your child. In other words, it is not a question of adopting imposed positions but positions which respect the comfort of your baby and yours.

Some tips for breastfeeding

Depending on your problems and those of your child, there are several little tips to discover. We would like to offer them to you here – it’s up to you to test them and ask your doctor or midwife for advice.

Anti-colic breastfeeding position

Infant colic is most often linked to intestinal spasms. They can be due to different reasons, pathological and physiological: your baby's intestine is still forming, your baby is intolerant or even allergic to lactose, your baby inhales too much air during feeding. Colic in infants is most often benign and stops spontaneously.

To limit infant colic, it is possible to vary breastfeeding positions to see if one of them proves more effective. In general, it is good to place your baby's chin close to your breast, and to align his body with yours. This position allows good positioning of the baby's mouth on the breast and promotes good sucking, thus reducing the occurrence of colic.

Anti-gas

Infant gas is most often linked to the absorption of air during feeding. This is why it is important to burp your baby when he is hungry for his meal.

To limit your baby's gas, it is recommended to vary breastfeeding positions and try those that seem to limit them. Some professionals also recommend forcing breaks during breastfeeding to burp several times–but this will depend on how hungry and eager your baby is.

Anti-regurgitation

Regurgitation corresponds to milk spit out by your baby when burping, after meals. Like gas, it is often linked to the air ingested during a meal. Some babies are particularly prone to regurgitation, particularly because their digestive system is not yet fully formed.

To limit regurgitation, there are many simple tips that can reduce or even prevent reflux:

  • Prefer a breastfeeding position in which your baby is upright or semi-upright, such as koala or rider positions;
  • Slow down your baby's food intake as much as possible (this will strongly depend on your child's voracity and habits);
  • Promote a good latching position to prevent your baby from swallowing too much air.

Anti-crack

Breastfeeding cracks are small cracks that gradually widen around the nipple and on the mother's areola. It is often very unpleasant on a daily basis and during breastfeeding, making the practice complicated and leading some mothers to stop breastfeeding even though they would have liked to continue it.

Breastfeeding cracks can be limited by promoting a suitable breastfeeding position. In fact, your baby's position for breastfeeding is essential to limit the appearance of cracks. The more he pulls on the breast and the more he turns his head to take the breast, the more he pinches and rubs the nipple on the palate bone creating a crevice. Promote a good latch position and alignment with your nipple to avoid pain.

🌈 Do you have breastfeeding cracks? We have selected two products on our e-shop to help you prevent or respond to breastfeeding cracks:

  • An organic care oil from the Talm brand , ok for breastfeeding, which you can apply to your nipples after breastfeeding to soothe the burning sensation that can arise from the crack;
  • Nursing shells from the Hinamoon brand: these shells coat your nipples and protect them from friction with your clothes which contribute to worsening breastfeeding cracks. They thus prevent the formation of cracks and help your nipples to heal;

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Bad breastfeeding positions

There are many breastfeeding positions and no one is better than another. Their goal ? You ensure that you respect the comfort and safety of your baby, as well as your own health, so that you can enjoy this moment. Beyond the positions indicated in this article, it is therefore possible to invent others, respectful of your baby and you. However, it is essential to note that certain behaviors endanger your baby and can affect your comfort (in particular by causing breast engorgement and breastfeeding cracks). Here they are, in bulk:

  • Poor alignment of the baby's mouth: If your baby's mouth is not properly aligned with the nipple, this can lead to poor latch and cause pain in your nipples;
  • Poor baby positioning: If your baby's head is too high or too low in relation to the breast and nipple, this can make breastfeeding uncomfortable and less effective;
  • Poor support of the baby's head: Poor support of your baby's head can lead to poor sucking and an uncomfortable position for him;
  • Bad position of your body: Breastfeeding can last a long time and, at first, take place very regularly. Adopting a breastfeeding position that is uncomfortable for you can lead to lasting back and muscle pain;
  • Baby facing away: If your baby is facing away rather than towards the breast, he or she may have difficulty latching on to the nipple correctly. This may cause poor suction for him and pain for you.

To best support you in this breastfeeding adventure, don't hesitate to shop our essentials:

The Smoon nursing bra for more comfort, the Perifit portable breast pump to make your daily life easier and the New Mama box with 3 essentials combined.

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