When you're breastfeeding, there seems to be an endless list of potential road blocks that could keep you from reaching your goals. From milk production to a baby's tongue tie to the amount of support you receive in the hospital and at home, there are a ton of variables that impact your breastfeeding relationship with your baby. So if your bust is a little on the small side, and you're worried your size will impact nursing, here are some of the best breastfeeding positions for small breasts that truly aren't all that difficult to master. With a little practice you'll have them all down in no time, and your worries can slip away as quickly as your baby slips into their milk comas.
According to BabyCenter, the size of your breasts doesn't determine how well you'll breastfeed. The fatty tissue that makes up a breast has nothing to do with milk supply, so your cup size is irrelevant when it comes to how much breast milk you produce. Instead, the most important part of any breastfeeding position is the latch. If the baby's latched properly, it won't matter too much what position they're in when it comes to the amount of milk they're receiving. What does matter, however, is how comfortable you are while you're breastfeeding. The American Pregnancy Association (APA) says that improper latching could make breastfeeding painful and ineffective for the both of you.
If you aren't sure if your baby is latched properly, the website KellyMom.com offers a checklist to ensure you're on the right track. For example, you should make sure your clothing is out of the way, baby is interested in feeding, and he or she is fully supported. Once the latch is established, you can move on to positions, though it might take a little trial and error before you find what works for you. Here are some of the recommended breastfeeding positions for small breasts, according to experts:
The Laid Back Position
Donna Murray, RN, BSN, tells the website VeryWell.com the biological, natural, laid-back positioning is "easy to learn, easy to remember, and comfortable." Again, it all starts with a good latch, but this position may help with sore nipples. There are actually lactation consultants that specialize in teaching this method, such as Dr. Suzanne Colson, who shows nursing moms how to utilize this position on her website.
The C-Hold is used to hold the breast at the beginning of a breastfeeding session. VeryWell.com says to achieve this position, you "place your breast in the palm of your hand with your thumb on the top of your breast and your fingers around the bottom of your breast. Your hand will look like it is in the shape of the letter C. This hold gives you the ability to control the movement of your breast and direct your nipple toward your baby's mouth."
According to VeryWell.com, this position can flatten the areola, so "keep your thumb and fingers behind your areola so that they do not get in the way of your baby's mouth."
If the C-Hold proves too challenging, the V-Hold may be your jam. It's similar to the C-Hold, but instead of forming a "C," with your fingers, try a "V" using your index and middle finger. For smaller breasts, this version may work better and require less effort.
The Lying Down Position
While particularly great for moms who've had C-sections, the lying position can be done in a variety of ways. And if you've had a C-section, just make sure your baby isn't resting on your healing incision (which may happen if you lie back). With the lying back position, you'll lie flat on your back with knees bent. According to MotherandBaby.co.uk, you then "lay your baby face down on top of you, his nose at the same level as your nipple." The key is to make sure baby can move his or her own head to move freely.
If you choose to lie on your side, be sure baby's neck is supported, as well as your own neck and back. Your stomachs should touch, and you can carefully switch sides when you've emptied one breast.
The Cross-Cradle Position
In addition to helping moms with small breasts, this position helps guide baby's head for a deeper latch and is good practice for the more advanced cradle hold (if you decide you want to try that). Parents suggests laying baby on their side (supported, of course), skin-to-skin. You want to use your opposite arm to support baby's body. For instance, to feed on the right breast, support baby's head with your left arm. Your fingers do all the breast support. If you're still not feeling confident (it's a tricky one) Ameda offers a step-by-step guide for nailing this position.
Modified-Elevated Football Hold
The classic clutch/football hold is a go-to move for new moms, those recovering from a C-section, women with large breasts, twins, and a fast milk extraction. Breastfeedo.com says for the classic version, lay your baby on their side, facing you, with your back straight. You need to support your baby's latch by the hand of the same side "with baby's head and neck on the same straight line." To support your back, use a pillow, and another under baby to help them reach the proper height.
To make this small breast friendly, simply adjust the pillow by placing it beneath the baby's pillow, and not the baby's head.
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