The best infant feeding positions for your baby

So, were doing pretty well on these series I must say. Now onto number 3 – infant feeding positions and what the recommended positions are for your baby.

If you haven’t caught up with my previous posts linked to this topic, you can check them out below.

Infant feeding schedules – The ideal schedules you can follow to feed your baby

Infant feeding amounts – find out what the right amount of milk is for your baby

A baby’s feeding position can determine how they digest their milk.

A wrong feeding position can cause issues such as backache, unhappy baby, wind, reflux and colic in babies. You can avoid all these by just ensuring your baby’s feeding position is right.

infant feeding positions

Breastfed Babies – infant feeding positions

There are a few breastfeeding positions many mamas use commonly, the below are 3 of the most popular:

Cradle hold – infant feeding positions

In this position your baby lies across your tummy. It’s what the name says, “like cradling a baby” This is one of the most popular breastfeeding positions.

For the cradle hold, you can sit in a comfy chair with arm rests, or a bed with cushions or pillows around you. Cradle your baby in your arm and allow baby to suck. You can hold baby’s hand to avoid it getting in the way. At the same time this provides comfort to your baby when their hand is held.

infant feeding positions

Source: NHS.CO.UK

TOP TIP: You can rest your feet on a small stool which will allow you to rest back and stop you from leaning forward reducing the chances of backache.

Lie on your side – infant feeding positions

This is usually a good position if you’ve gone through a Caesarean as it prevents baby from resting on your scar. Many mums prefer this method at night when they are also lying in bed. It’s easy to just roll on one side and allow your baby to have their feed instead of getting up and cradling them

infant feeding positions

Clutch hold  – infant feeding positions

This is one of the first methods nurses will most likely teach you once you’ve had your baby in hospital.

The Clutch hold method, (a.k.a Rugby hold) gives mums full control of baby and avoids baby’s head from wondering off.

As the name suggests, you hold your baby’s neck to support their feed. This is a good position for mums who have a Caesarean section or mums with twins as you can feed them both at the same time.

With this method there is no pressure on the tummy or the scar area if you’ve had a C-section.

Related: 5 Tips to sleep train your baby successfully

 Bottle-fed babies – infant feeding positions

There are many positions you can use to feed you bottle fed baby.  Each position may not suit every child, which is why you would have to alter to see which position your baby prefers the best.

My babies never liked to be held when drinking from their bottle. They always preferred to lay down on the sofa or in bed with a cushion. The only chance I got to cradle feed my baby’s was when they were under 3 months of age.

Knowing how to bottle-feed a baby properly is key.

The most popular position we see (mostly on telly) is laying baby across your lap on their back. Ideally, it’s NOT the best position and should be avoided.

Not only can a back position lead to reflux, but it can also cause ear infections in some.

You can try these bottle-feeding positions instead and find the one that suits your baby most.

Infant feeding positions:

• Cradle arm position –  This is the classic position mamas use to give their baby a bottle. In this bottle-feeding position, your baby’s head will rest on your arm. Their head and chest will be at a slight incline which is a great position for your baby to easily drink.

• Hold baby upright. Instead of lying down straight, lay your baby almost in a seated position, with baby’s head on your chest or in the crook of your arm.

Top Tip: Completely fill the nipple with milk by tilting the bottle so it fills it. Avoid a halfway filled nipple with milk and half with air as that may lead to gas or a bad refulx in your baby.

• Use a pillow – Also known as a boopy. This can be helpful in keeping baby’s chest and head propped up at the right angle, making it easier for baby to drink milk efficiently.

Top Tips to Bottle Feed your baby – infant feeding positions

Paced Feeding 

This is a technique that mimics breastfeeding. It allows you to bottle feed your baby using a breastfed baby’s technique.

This is a good technique to use if you both breastfeed and bottle feed your baby.

Paced feeding encourages your baby to take control of the feeding process and recognize when they are feeling full.

Why is paced feeding a recommended technique?

It allows your baby to drink more slowly and work harder for the milk – just like they would in breastfeeding.

How it works:

– Baby sits in a an upright position. Not exactly 90 degrees, with a little tilt ofcourse.

– You then tickle the baby’s lips with the bottle.

– Once baby makes rooting cues, you then place the nipple in baby’s mouth and hold the bottle horizontally.

– You allow baby to suck and drink milk for half a minute to a minute.

– Then, every 30 or 60 seconds, you tip the nipple towards the top of baby’s mouth to stop milk flow.

– Just like breastfeeding, you also switch sides when using the paced feeding technique.

Benefits to Paced Feeding – infant feeding positions

  • Baby being over-or-under fed is reduced
  • Feeding in this position becomes easier for baby to take control of their intake.
  • Makes going from breast to bottle and back again easier.

Recap on bottle feeding tips: infant feeding positions

Bottle feeding is a chance to feel close to your baby, just like breastfeeding.

–  Make sure you’re sitting comfortably. This is your chance to communicate with your baby 1-2-1 whilst you feed them.

– Hold your baby slightly upright and not flat for bottle feeds.

Support baby’s head so they can breathe and swallow comfortably. 

Brush the teat against your baby’s lips allowing them to root and open their mouth.

Don’t rush your baby’s feed

Keep the teat full of milk, otherwise your baby will take in air from the gaps.

Gently poke the teat to give it some air if it goes flat or sucks in whilst feeding.

Always sterile teats to maintain them and prevent them from blocking up.

–  Give your baby short breaks in between feeding allowing them to burp.

– After feeds, gently rub or pat baby’s back to bring up any wind.

Throw away any unused formula milk after you have finished feeding your baby.

All babies are different. So just follow your baby’s cues.

Never leave your baby unattended with a propped bottle as they may choke on the milk.

Whilst breastfeeding is slightly different to bottle feeding, both have their preferred positions. Find what’s best for you and baby and that will ensure your baby gets a proper feed each time.

Related: An infant feeding schedule for breastfed and bottle-fed babies.

Social media marketing blogger and Parenting blogger

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