By now, you’ve likely realized there is no one perfect position for breastfeeding for every mama. I loved side-lying, but there were other positions that I would use depending on where I was.
For example, I certainly wasn’t going to try breastfeeding my babies in a side-lying position on a bench at the park.
Today, I’d like to talk about the koala hold.
What is the koala hold for breastfeeding?
This is an upright position. Your baby sits on you somewhat, straddling one of your thighs. Alternatively, you can have them straddle a hip.
Your baby’s spine and head should be upright as they feed.
Yes, you can do this hold with a newborn, but it requires you to give them the proper support. If you can’t comfortably do that, it is best to wait on the koala hold for breastfeeding until your baby can hold herself upright.
As for older babies, this one is a gem when you’re out and about.
And it’s great for babies that get ear infections often or have reflux because it keeps them upright and mitigates many of those troubles. Tongue-tied babies and those with low muscle tone may also find this a position of comfort.
How to use the koala hold breastfeeding position
Again, you can try this with a newborn, but it is ideal for a baby with good head and trunk control.
- Have your baby straddle your hip or thigh while you have them upright.
- Position them on the breast.
- Get them latched.
Even with an older baby that can hold her own head, you may find that your nursing pillow helps them reach your breast better. If you can’t get a newborn the right support, file this position away in your mind for when your baby is a bit bigger.
Why try the koala hold?
If your baby has reflux, or you have a fast letdown or engorged breasts, you may find this position of great relief. Babies with reflux will have less trouble when positioned more upright during breastfeeding.
Latching may pose a problem initially. To ensure you’re getting that perfect latch, ensure your baby’s head comes in slightly below your breast. They should tilt their head back as they latch on.
It may take a few tries to get it right. One of my biggest tips for this position (and any other breastfeeding position, for that matter!) is to try it in the comfort of your home first.
Everything always sounds good in theory, right? If you don’t practice before leaving the house, you may not relax enough and have trouble getting your milk to let down. So the koala position is excellent, but if you’ve never done it and you’re on a park bench with a crying baby, thinking everyone is staring at you, it will not help.
Take it easy and take your time, and everything will fall into place!
Leslie Berry lives with her husband and two young daughters in Los Altos, California, where she loves helping other moms get comfortable with motherhood and embracing the insanity with facts peppered with laughs.
She loves eating too much sushi, exercising, and jamming out on her Fender. Read more about Leslie here.