Breastfeeding can be tricky to get the hang of.
One thing that can help is to find a few comfortable breastfeeding positions.
If you are comfortable while breastfeeding (with good positioning and attachment) you are one step closer to having breastfeeding go well for you and your baby.
If you’ve recently had a c-section or are having one soon, you might have questions about which breastfeeding positions are most comfortable after a c-section.
Generally, breastfeeding positions that avoid the c-section wound are usually the most comfortable. The good news is, there are quite a few to choose from.
4 Breastfeeding Positions After A C-Section
Here are 4 different positions you might like to try:
Breastfeeding Position #1: Lying Down
For this position, lie down on your side with a pillow under your head. You can also place a pillow between your knees for support. Place your baby on her side too, and bring her close to you. Position your baby so that her nose is level with your nipple.
When she tips her head back, if she’s in close enough, she will press her chin into your breast (and your nipple will be pointing towards the roof of her mouth). This will help her achieve a deep attachment and help prevent nipple pain and damage.
If you want to feed your baby from your other breast, just change sides. Some mothers find, especially when they are not so sore, they can lie on the same side and offer the upper breast by rolling over more, towards their babies.
Breastfeeding Position #2: Semi-Reclined (Laid-Back) Position
For this position, lie back in a semi-reclined position with pillows behind you for support. Place (or have someone place) your baby on your chest, facing you, with her nose at the level of your nipple and her feet away from your c-section abdominal wound.
As your baby tips her head back, her chin will press into your breast, her instinctive feeding reflexes will be stimulated, and she will attach well. This position is particularly helpful if your baby is having trouble attaching.
Breastfeeding Position #3: Cradle Hold
For this position, sit comfortably on a chair or on a bed, with your back well supported with pillows and your feet supported on a footstool, the floor, or pillows on the bed. You can place a pillow over your c-section wound – this shouldn’t prevent you from holding your baby in your arms.
Hold your baby in close, along your forearm, cradling her head in the crook of your arm. Bring her nose directly opposite your nipple. As she tips her head back, her top lip brushes over your nipple which encourages her to open her mouth wide. When her mouth is wide open, hug her swiftly to your breast, aiming for your nipple to be pointing towards the roof of her mouth.
Breastfeeding Position #4: Underarm (Football) Hold
For this position, sit on a bed, couch or chair. Place your baby on a pillow at your side, hold her under your arm with her feet towards the back of the bed or chair. You can place your hand behind your baby’s neck and shoulders to help bring her to your breast. This position minimises any pressure on the c-section wound, as your baby does not lie across your tummy.
Here's a video demonstrating how to do the football hold.
For more information about breastfeeding positions after a c-section, contact the Australian Breastfeeding Association or La Leche League, or see a lactation consultant. You might also find the following BellyBelly articles helpful: