I’ve talked at great length about breastfeeding positions, particularly the most common ones. There’s the laid-back position, side-lying (which was my personal favorite after my c-sections, cradle hold, football, and cross-over.
But more recently, I’ve learned of a few more that could benefit some struggling mamas out there, so I wanted to share them with you.
Before I do, though, I want to remind you of a few things:
- Breastfeeding should NEVER hurt. If it does, there’s a problem with your latch.
- You should get into a comfortable position for both you and your baby. Anything that isn’t comfortable will make it harder for your milk to flow freely.
- Proper support for your baby is important. If you can’t do it in a position you’re trying out, try something else.
- Meet your needs first before any breastfeeding session. Newborns can nurse for 30 to 45 minutes in one feeding, so if you feel like you need to pee, do it first. Grab some water and a snack to keep nearby to simply relax while breastfeeding.
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Weird Positions for Breastfeeding That Work
If you want to learn more about the traditional types of breastfeeding positions, you can check out my other posts. I will cover a few that I’ve more recently learned about for this post.
Are your ducts blocked? My friend Janessa complained about it recently, but then her lactation consultant helped her by introducing her to dangle feeding. This position consists of your baby lying on her back. Meanwhile, you crouch over her on all fours and dangle your nipple into the mouth.
It is believed that the position uses gravity to help unclog those milk ducts, though I can’t find any official proof of this. Though Janessa swears this worked for her, so it is worth trying.
And if you feel weird on all fours (I know I would), you can dangle feed from a seated position by kneeling over your baby on a bed or sofa or while propped up on your arms while almost lying down.
It sounds a bit uncomfortable to me, but I think it’s worth a shot if you’ve got blocked ducts. I’d consider adding some cushions to support yourself would be a good idea, so you don’t feel a strain on your shoulders or back.
Double Rugby Ball
I think the double rugby ball is also called the double-clutch. But you can call it what you like, for if you have twins that you want to breastfeed, this weird position may be just the thing to feed them simultaneously.
My friend Karliss was doing this on a video chat recently when I called to see how it was going with her sweet little twins. She used a twin breastfeeding pillow to help her out, a brilliant move since it seemed to really help her keep them in position and keep them from irritating her incision (she had a c-section).
I had to remark on it when I saw her, and she dubbed it “the hands-free way to feed twins,” which I thought was hilarious. Twins can be notoriously tricky, so I’d like to add that finding something that works to feed them is a blessing. If you need something else to position with, you can also do a double laid-back position, double upright, or put one in a rugby hold and one in a cradle hold.
I’ve written about the dancer hand hold before so that you can read that more in-depth. It is the most unusual position and is best for babies having difficulty latching on. Babies born prematurely or with certain conditions that affect muscle tone will also benefit from this breastfeeding position.
You’ll want to cup your breast with your hand underneath it, so your fingers are on one side while your thumb is on the other. Then you’ll move your hand forward, so you make a “U” with your thumb and index finger. The other 3 fingers should be supporting your breast on the underside.
Now, you’ll let the baby’s jaw rest on your thumb and index finger while she’s eating, her chin at the bottom of that “U.” This allows you to help support your baby and get a clear view of the latch.
Babies who are good with holding their heads up and controlling their trunks can do the koala. You simply sit the baby on your hip or thigh upright and bring them to your breast.
As you may have already guessed, this one is ideal for older babies. But newborns can do it too if you can support their head and body while they sit. In fact, you may find a baby carrier that can help you with this. And you’ll love it if you have a baby with reflux or a really wild overactive letdown. Just beware that latching may be difficult in this way at first.
The Best Breastfeeding Positions for Your Breastfeeding Woes
Are you struggling to nurse with certain challenges? This little guide here will help you find a position that may or may not be weird per se but can help you solve your little glitch in the breastfeeding matrix.
- Colicky Baby
Sometimes, changing your position can help your colicky baby. Anything that encourages skin to skin will have that soothing addition for your baby. You can use a sling or carrier in a cradle position or a koala to help you breastfeed a baby with colic.
- Most C-Section-Friendly
Many mamas love the football hold after a c-section. When I was on the go with either of my babies, this is what I used. But at home, side-lying was my favorite because I could get completely comfortable.
- Gassy Baby
You can use the koala hold or laid-back breastfeeding for babies with gas troubles. You must make sure your latch is strong, making the milk go down more smoothly and reducing gas woes.
- Reflux Renegade
Babies that spit up a lot tend to have reflux, so upright positions will help. Koala and laid-back are great, though cross-cradle can be even more effective because you can shape and support your boobs to get a better latch.
Ultimately with a newborn, your goal should be getting that perfect latch. Anything that helps you support their head and back properly while keeping you comfortable and them latched on is the perfect fit. Laid-back and cross-cradle work great for newborns. But again, I loved side-lying after my c-section and got a wonderful latch that way, so try it!
- Correcting Shallow Latch
If you’ve been working hard on correcting a shallow latch, you may find the football hold and cross-cradle hold let you have a better view. You’ll also be able to shape and support your breasts while supporting your baby, which can help fix this problem.
Things to Avoid with Breastfeeding
As you can see, there are many ways to feed your baby via your breasts. Some are traditional while others are a bit strange. But as long as the baby is getting that milk and growing (and you are not in pain!), you are doing something right.
How do you know if you’re doing something wrong, though? Excellent question!
- Never hunch
Latching problems generally begin when mamas hunch over the baby and shove the breast into the mouth. Your back should be straight, and you should bring the baby to your breast. If your back hurts, try side-lying and take that out of the equation.
- Baby’s head and body should face the same way
Can you swallow well with your head turned to the side? No? Then don’t expect your baby to do that. Their head and body should be facing the same way.
- Keep baby close
Your baby should be right up close to you to nurse. If she’s too far away, she’ll pull on your nipple while breastfeeding, which I can tell you hurts like heck. Plus, babies naturally gravitate towards the breast when you are close. It’s in their instinct!
Now that you know more of the unusual things to try for positions with breastfeeding, how to address specific concerns with positions, and what to avoid, you’re bound to see more success with breastfeeding!
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, exercise, and jamming out on her Fender.