Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Top 10 Nursing Positions / Situations

Welcome to the March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Natural Parenting Top 10 Lists

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared Top 10 lists on a wide variety of aspects of attachment parenting and natural living. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


I do so love my nursing relationships. Tyler nursed until she was 3½ years old. I absolutely followed her lead on weaning. March marks 1½ years for Sasha, so far! Our nursing relationship is still going strong. She nurses several times during the day as well as during the night. (I also nursed my first child 6 months.) With 5½ years of breastfeeding experience, I would like to share with you my Top 10 Nursing Positions / Situations in no particular order.

Newborn Sasha snuggled to breastNewborn Sasha, snuggled up to my breast

  1. The most common position for me is with Sasha on top of the Boppy cushion in my lap. I prefer to sit "tailor style" for support under the Boppy, but am not supposed to because of my knees. I'm doing well enough now (after recovering from surgery) that I do sit this way to nurse more and more often. I also prefer to be belly to belly with Sasha, but she often decides to lay on her back with her head turned toward me. Yes, I've seen it written not to do this, but it works for us.

  2. I love to nurse in a side-lying position! I could not tell you how many times Sasha nurses in the night because I don't wake up into full consciousness. I only wake enough to get us situated. If it weren't for Sasha scooting up in her sleep, she could probably find my breast without either of us waking at all! I always have to move her down. Also, I prefer to nurse from the "top breast." It is just more comfortable for me.

    Nursing in BedSide-Lying Nursing in Bed @ 16 months

  3. I get blocked milk ducts. Nursing with your baby's chin pointing toward the effected duct is the best way I've found to fix the problem! Heat and pressure can also help, so I usually mash on the lump while nursing. My blocked milk ducts usually happen on the top section of my breast (where her chin most rarely points). I lie Sasha on her back on the floor, then lean over and dangle my breast over her, into her mouth. I seem to recall this was slightly easier on the bed with Tyler. I need to try there with Sasha next time.

  4. It makes me giggle when I am on my back and Sasha lays over me to nurse from the breast on the other side. This most often happens during morning play time in bed (so giggling abounds anyway). It is an oddly comfortable position, though I can't imagine doing it for long.

  5. When Tyler was 3 years old, she would walk up to me sitting on the couch and latch on for just a few seconds. It was as though she was just making sure my breasts were still there for her. At that age, sitting on the couch was the perfect height for her to nurse standing up!

  6. We all know that warm baths can be relaxing. When Tyler was a baby, she would almost invariably doze in the tub. Nursing her to sleep in the tub made an easy job of bathing! I would wash one half of her (even her hair), then switch breasts and wash the other half. I even used to trim her fingernails in the tub because she was too wiggly elsewhere.

  7. When my babies were still infants, I liked to occasionally nurse them using the football hold. In case you're not familiar, this is where the baby's butt is against the chair back and you hold them like a football tucked into your arm. This position hasn't been so doable for me nursing toddlers.

  8. For some reason I love it when Sasha is straddled over one leg and cradled in the opposite arm. I think this position makes for less weight I have to support. It is good weight distribution and very comfortable.

    Sasha nursing sitting upNursing Sitting Upright @ 14 months

  9. Sasha's new favorite seems to be nursing in the shower. This can definitely be a tricky place to nurse, but we manage. I sometimes have to rest a foot on a higher ledge of the tub to support her bottom so that I can wash her while she nurses. Nursing is one way to soothe a child (or for them to soothe themselves, if you think about it), so if she gets upset about water in her face or even if she is just sleepy, the breast is available to her - no matter where we are. We've been nursing during our showers a lot lately.

  10. While this list is in no particular order, this last one is my newest and most exciting nursing position with Sasha. While I easily nursed Tyler in a ring sling as an infant (and no one was the wiser), I have had a harder time getting comfortable wearing Sasha. I do like my Mei Tai, but it has taken some practice. Nursing in the Mei Tai has been too much to add to the equation. She just seems too high. The other night, though, I was trying to cook dinner and Sasha insisted I hold her. (Yes, despite warnings, I carefully cook while holding or wearing my daughter. She loves to help me cook!) As I was getting us situated, she asked to nurse. Oh. Um. Well... I tried wearing her down low on one side. I got her low enough that she could reach my breast! It felt a little awkward, but all wearing positions have been awkward at first with Sasha. It really worked for us!

I realize I did not, specifically, mention nursing in public as a favorite location. I don't guess it really is my favorite because at home I just go topless, while in public I have to be a little more conscious of what is showing. I will, however, nurse wherever when the need arises. I just recently nursed Sasha while grocery shopping (slightly outside my husband's comfort zone). I didn't have a blanket or anything. Honestly my belly showed and my breast didn't. She slept through much of the shopping. I found this to be way more exhausting than just carrying her through the store upright!
Sasha Nursing in PublicNursing at a local Recreation Center
@ 1½ months
Back to the subject at hand, these are our most used nursing situations. What is your favorite way to nurse your children?


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Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon March 8 with all the carnival links.)


  1. I wish I had known you 8 years ago, though I guess you didn't have kids back then :)!!

  2. I loved this post! SO sweet. I am currently nursing three kidlets, and I think we use just about every one you mentioned. :)

  3. I loved 8 when DD was about 6 months, now that she's almost 3, it's more like acrobatics

  4. I prefer nursing from my top breast in the side lying position too, but it does hurt my back a little more. And I have to admit to babywearing while cooking occasionally - there was a time when Kieran just *had* to be on my back in the Ergo while I cooked.

  5. I found this so interesting! I tandem fed my twins a lot using the sideways position and also the football holds. I also did on top when I was sleeping. Sometimes I would go to sleep nursing one twin and wake up nursing the other, my husband having switched them. :0

  6. My 5 month old is just starting to do the sitting nursing position. We still cradle and side lie most of the time though :)

  7. All these pictures are adorable, but that first newborn picture is precious! Aww.

    #1. I think as long as the baby is old enough to turn her head fully that it's ok if she's lying on her back. Or that's my own take (and clearly yours, too!). I mean, you know, if you're both comfortable, why not!

    #2. I prefer top breast, too. One way I make the bottom breast more comfortable is have a pillow handy on my other side that I can shove under my back/hip area so that I can lean into it. You might have already tried that, though!

    #4. That makes me laugh, too. I have to say, though, it's great when Mikko has a stuffy nose, because he's more upright and can fall asleep that way. Now, I can't, so I roll him off me after he's out. :)

    #5. Absolutely! :)

    #6. I love that you could wash a sleepy nursing baby in the tub. How awesome!

    #7. Yeah, once they get legs… It was good for awhile, though!

    #10. It took me forever to combine breastfeeding & babywearing, and I had thought it would be so easy. Oh, well! I had the same experience, though, once Mikko was a toddler — realizing that I had to position my carrier (an Ergo in this case) really low down on my hips so he lined up. It felt weird at first, but it worked, and then I knew I could do it whenever we needed to!

    Right now, my favorite position is a very dull cradle hold-like setup. I need to get everything lined up just so and Mikko to be not so wiggly so it won't stress my already pregnancy-tender breasts. But it's ok, because it's a very cuddly position — even with a gangly 3-year-old!

    Ok, I'll stop babbling now. Great post!

  8. Ah, top breast! Gotta try that. I like side-lying (because for some reason I like sleeping), but frequently find myself oddly contorted to keep him latched on. I'll have a go with the top breast idea.

    Also, thanks for #3. I get plugged ducts very frequently and had been told to keep his nose pointed at the duct, which didn't seem to help at all. I'll give this chin thing a try. :-)

  9. @MJ - Oh honey, I had my first child nearly 21 years ago! My kids are 20, 12, and 1½yo! EEEgad, what am I thinking??

    @dulce - first, love the name! Yummy! And THREE kidlets?! WOW! Go Momma!

    @ Dionna & Lauren (re: "top breast") - from what I've read, for some reason I thought I was the weirdo for nursing this way. Hm. I sleep in position for this kind of nursing even when I'm *not* nursing. And I'm small enough that it doesn't bother me to lay on top of a breast. I'm so glad I stopped leaking all the time, too. I can sleep totally topless, even laying on one breast.

  10. @Guavalicious - That is SO awesome!! My brother is in the medical industry and works weird hours. He used to come home from work just as his LO was waking. He'd get her into a fresh diaper and put her into bed with Mommy for milk. He'd doze, then take her off the breast and put her back into her bed. I thought it was the sweetest thing (especially since I have this mischievous older brother image of him!). But then one day he thought he'd slept a bit and pulled the baby off the breast too soon. His wife flipped (baby was still latched)! lol

    @Gretchen - I LOVE this position!

  11. @Lauren - thanks. It is so odd to see that face in the first shot. She looks nothing like that baby now! Who's newborn is that?? Oh yeah! Mine! lol

    I totally take all advice, suggestions, and even medical warnings with a grain of salt. I gotta follow my instincts, period. We also let Sasha sleep on her back, though the doc did approve since he knew we were so watchful.

    #4 I never thought of the breathing benefits! I'll have to try this position when she is sick next time! I usually have to sleep in a reclined position so I can keep HER in a reclined position.

    And you should totally update on the milk / nursing Mikko thing! Has your new milk arrived yet? How are you managing with him nursing? Inquiring (and caring) friends want to know!

    And thank you, stop by and babble ANY time! Goodness knows I babble in your comments all the dang time! I welcome the attention. :)

  12. @CatholicMommy - nose, eh? This almost made me second guess myself, but I know that the chin thing has worked for me. I hope changing direction helps you!

  13. I have definitely used and each and every one of these a time or two :) Lately, sitting upright is the norm when awake, in the Beco while out, and side-lying is always the way to go at night - it has saved me!

    Oh, and babywearing and cooking? I do it, too - don't tell! ;)

  14. Nursing the bath tub is a fan favorite around our house ;)

    You inspired me to get some more shots of my daughter nursing...I don't have any since she was very young.

  15. I can't nurse topless or the non-nursing boob will leak! Good post though. I couldn't tell you how often we nurse overnight either but I am so glad I have that tool to get him back to sleep after those 4am giggles. And nothing cuter than when he gets himself on the boob (he's 5 months) without assistance and before I wake!

  16. @Melissa Joanne - thanks! I understand the dangers, but we just have to be attentive. I'm proud, though, that she is already helping me cook! She loves to add shredded cheese or drop in pasta. :-)

    @Mary Michael - I inspired? Yay! Can't have enough nursing pics, I think. When I was 17yo, I didn't want any pics taken. The one my mom got of me nursing my oldest still bugs me (because I was uncomfortable with it at the time), but I love to get shots of it now. After my middle child weaned I didn't think I'd ever have another babe at the breast. I cherish these times.

  17. @Janine - I used to have to wear nursing pads ALL the time, too. Now I wear a sports bra a lot and sometimes when she nurses I have to stuff a cloth diaper into my bra! lol

    By bedtime, though, I rarely leak. I keep more diapers by the bed, though. It happens on occasion.


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