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Breast-feeding can often come across as the most beautiful thing in the world with images all over the internet of earth models feeding their babies in a sunny field.
In reality, breastfeeding often occurs on the sofa, in an uncomfortable position which can can leave a mum with a sore back, pins and needles in the legs and utterly bored.
In this article we offer some tips on comfortable ways to breastfeed, wherever you are.
Good for: Quick feeds, subtle public feeding, naps, feeding and moving, watching TV while feeding
Cradle is the most common positions to breastfeed with and can be quite comfortable. However, this can take one arm away from you which limits what you can as you feed.
The babies head can be made that it is inline with the nipple for a good latch and stop the mum from having to bend her back to accommodate. With this in mind, a comfortable feeding chair and a bed are the best places for this position and be comfortable.
The cradle position can be made more comfortable with the use of a partial donut shaped cushion which wraps around your front, the pillow would replace your arm letting you have both arms available to eat a snack, control the remote, read a book etc. We have reviewed a range of breastfeeding pillows which help with this.
What to do before feeding with the cradle position
Once you start feeding, and especially when they may look like going to sleep, it can be tricky to want to move. From experience of feeding in this position we recommend doing the following to make it as comfortable as possible
- Have a wee before you start
- Have a pillow to support your back
- Use a feeding pillow to release your arm and make them comfortable
- Have your phone/TV remote/book/tablet at arm’s length
- Have a drink and a snack nearby
- Dim the lights, put the dog in the other room and put your phone on silent if this is their nap feed
Lying on your side
Good for: Feeding them to sleep in a bed, when you need a rest yourself, to be able to pull away and let them sleep alone
Lying on your side to sleep so that both you and your baby are resting on a soft surface such as a big sofa or bed is great for when YOU need a rest and they need a feed. Lying on your side to sleep is comfortable as your weight is being held by the surface and you have both hands free. Getting the milk out is easy and if they do fall asleep it’s easy to roll away and leave them to sleep.
To make lying on your side and even more comfortable way to breastfeed, here are some tips
- Have a wee and some food before you start
- Have some pillows to support your head
- Lie down on a firm but flat mattress
- Dim the lights if this could be a nap feed
- If it is on a mattress, ensure there are bed bumpers on each side to prevent them falling out
- Clear the mattress of toys, duvets and blankets
Lying on your back
Good for: Feeding a newborn, establishing breastfeeding, for when you need a rest
Lying on your back while nursing is often called ‘Biological nursing‘ due to it being the most natural way to do it immediately from birth, which makes sense since you’d be too knackered to do any other position. Much easier to do with a newborn than 12 month baby or a toddler but it is certainly one of the most comfortable ways to breastfeed.
Here’s some tips to make lying on your side as comfortable as possible
- Lean back rather than lie perfectly flat
- Don’t try this if you feel tired as it is not a safe sleeping position
- Have pillows to support your neck
- Have both of your hands holding the baby to help them latch on
- Engage in eye contact if they are newborn
- Position their tummy on your tummy
- Keep them warm with a thin breathable blanket
Good for: Feeding twins, tandem feeding, swapping breasts
The rugby hold is a variation of the cradle, but the baby’s legs go behind rather than across. It’s a good position to feed twins or when you are tandem feeding and older child. Ideal for casual feeding or when you are swapping from one breast to another, during a ‘full feed’ (when they drain both breasts).
The use of a breastfeeding pillow is recommend to support their heads and give your arms free.
Here’s some tips to make the Rugby hold a comfortable feeding position
- Sit on a comfortable chair or sofa with plenty of back support
- Ensure there’s enough space for their legs to stretch and not get squashed
- Without a pillow, use your hand to support their heads to keep the nipple at eye/nose level
- Have some food or snacks nearby before you start in case it becomes a long feed
- Keep eye contact as it is a good bonding opportunity