If you're breastfeeding, even if you've already found a position and rhythm that work for you and your baby, it never hurts to switch it up a little, or to learn what works for others. And who knows? You may wind up wanting to give some of these a shot.
This is the most basic of breastfeeding positions, but it can also be one of the most difficult. To achieve the cradle, sit with your baby across your abdomen with your elbow supporting her head and your hand supporting her bottom — essentially fitting her into the crook of your arm. For more flexibility for the mother, your other hand supports your breast. Make sure to use lots of pillows, and keep your feet up to avoid leaning into your little one. This position is best for older babies who can easily latch on, because it is harder to control a baby’s head while nursing in this position.
This maneuver is best for babies who have difficulty latching on, because it allows the mother full control over her baby’s head movement. In this position, allow the opposite arm of the breast you are using to feed to support your baby’s body — if you are feeding on your left breast, use your right arm for support and the right hand to support her head. The cross-cradle is ideal for early breastfeeding and smaller babies.
To perform this expert hold and rival even the best of NFL quarterbacks, hold your baby at your side and use your right arm for support to gently guide his or her head to your breast. Then, tuck your baby underneath your arm, facing up, and rest your arm on a pillow. The football hold is ideal for beginners, larger babies, twins, and women who have had a C-section. Just make sure to lay off the touchdown dances when you’re done.
Ideal for tired moms or women who just want to be comfortable, this position involves the least amount of work for both you and your baby. Lie on either side with your back supported, face your baby towards you, and use one arm to support her tiny body. You can essentially make a nest of pillows behind you in order to ensure that your back and hips are in a straight line. Make sure not to strain either your or your baby’s neck. This is also a perfect position for nighttime feeds.
This breastfeeding party trick also doubles as a yoga position and handy way to lose that baby weight. You can’t really keep this one up for long, because your arms might get tired, but if you place your baby on a pillow and slowly lower your breast into his or her mouth, gravity helps drain your milk ducts completely.
It may be worth giving any number of these a try until you find the one that works best for you. If your baby has reflux, however, it's best to feed in an upright position.