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Breastfeeding positions - getting comfortable

Whether you are breast or bottle feeding, forget about housework and just concentrate on you and your baby. Make sure you're comfortable because if your baby's really hungry you could be in the same position for quite a while! You might find that your baby is hungry day and night - and while that will be tiring for you, it’s actually great news for your baby as they’re clearly enjoying their milk! With that in mind it’s always worth trying a few different positions so you can get easily comfortable at night as well. 

Watch our videos on partner support while you breastfeed and whether your baby is getting enough breast milk to find out more. 

Laid back positioning (or biological nursing)

You may find this ‘laid back’ position useful in the early days, or if you and your baby have difficulty attaching.

It’s important to find a position where your breast hangs naturally

When your baby comes off the breast naturally, offer them your other breast. They may not always take it, but whether they do or not, always start the next feed with your second breast. Some mums like to put a hairband on their wrist to remind them which breast to start feeding from on the next feed. You could also tie something to your bra strap to remind you what side to start with next. You’ll find a way that works best for you. 

Image of mother breastfeeding

Image of mother breastfeeding

Remember to tuck your baby in close

There is no 'normal' length of time for feeding. Let your baby finish feeding on one side and always offer the other breast. Wait for signs that your baby has finished. Most babies will move from having deep sucks and swallows to having little "flutter sucks", then detach themselves from the breast or just stop swallowing. Sometimes you can think that your baby will never want to stop feeding, so just get comfy and make sure you have a glass of water to hand!

Remember to tuck your baby in close

Remember to tuck your baby in close

Start again or change position if you feel pain

When your baby is in a good position they can attach correctly at the breast and feed effectively. If you carry on with a poor position you may end up with sore nipples and your baby may not be getting enough milk. You can break the suction safely by putting your finger in the side of the baby's mouth between the gums. Make sure to speak to your health visitor, other mums, or call the National Breastfeeding Helpline on 0300 100 0212 if you're struggling to find a position that works for you both.

Don't worry if you don't immediately find a breastfeeding position which works for you and your baby - most mums need a wee bit of time. In the video below, a mum tells her story about getting the hang of good positioning and attachment.

Start again or change position if you feel pain

Start again or change position if you feel pain

What the parents say

Top tips for feeding at home

Tip #1: Get comfy

Choose somewhere you feel calm and comfortable - maybe you have a favourite chair or sofa. If the bed is your favourite place then go ahead and feed there!

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Tip #2: Try different positions

Lie back and let your body rather than your hands support your baby, that way you can use your hands to read a book, scroll through more articles on your mobile, or cuddle another child. However, it's important not to fall asleep with your baby on a sofa or in bed.

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Tip #3: Have what you need to hand

Make sure you have the remote control or a magazine beside you. Remember if you have visitors around they are there to help you get what you need. Do a chore, get a cuddle!

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Tip #4: Keep drinking water

Treat yourself to a snack to keep your energy up and always have a glass of water within easy reach. Breastfeeding is thirsty stuff!

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Tip #5: Use cushions to support you when feeding

Use cushions to support your back and relieve tension from your shoulders. You might find it comfortable to use a pillow under your arm to give you some support when you are holding your baby. Your midwife can show you where to put the pillows when they come to visit.

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This article was created as part of 

Last updated: 16 Jul, 2019