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Breastfeeding: How to Position Yourself

One of the first and most important things you'll learn about breastfeeding is how to hold your baby. But what about how to position yourself? After all, you'll be spending many hours nursing, especially during the first few weeks, so it's important that you don't feel any strain or tension. If you follow these simple steps, you should have a comfortable breastfeeding experience.

Since most moms breastfeed using either the cross-cradle or the football position during the early stages of nursing, our advice is geared toward those two positions. While the standard cradle and side-lying positions are comfortable too, they're best used once you've gotten into the rhythm of breastfeeding.

Set yourself up for comfort

  • To start, make sure you're sitting upright in a comfortable seat, with your feet flat on the ground. If your feet aren't flat, place a phone book or nursing stool beneath them to provide stability.
  • Your back should be as straight as possible. If you're sitting in a glider or a slightly reclined chair, you can place a small pillow or a bed pillow behind your back in order to move your body into a more upright position.
  • Next, you'll want your baby to be at your breast height, so use a nursing pillow or a bed pillow on your lap to raise him up. The pillow should be pulled in as close to your body as possible. Raising your baby to breast height helps attach him more easily, which means you don't have to support his entire body weight throughout the feeding, leading to tense and sore arms.

Tips for success

  • Sit upright.
  • Put your feet flat on floor.
  • Place a pillow on your lap to raise your baby to breast height.

Source: Heather Kelly is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC)