Mothers of newborns have a lot on their plates, and, for nursing mothers, the strain of constant
feeding and breast pumping may seem like one extra thing to deal with. Breastfeeding or
pumping in an improper position can also lead to back and shoulder strain, which may later lead
to poor posture in the upper body.
And, while this posture can be fixed down the road, it’s much easier to take care of the issue
that caused it, which is how the breastfeeding or pumping is done. If you find feeding and
pumping positions that work for you, you’ll find it much more comfortable to feed or pump every day.
Ideal Pumping Positions
1. Straight and Tall
While pumping breastmilk, it is vital that you set up your pump correctly and do not place your
milk collectors or bottles above your heart level. If you place the collectors too high during
pumping, you can cause the pump to malfunction and you will not be able to pump your milk
That being said, the best position for pumping is sitting with the back straight and the shoulders
open, much like how you might sit at a desk. Slouching may cause irritation in the back, and it
could cause your pump to work less efficiently the longer you use it. If sitting up straight and tall
is difficult for you, try placing a cushion under your bottom, as this can encourage your back to
naturally straighten. You can also sit in a comfortable chair with a cushion behind your back for
added support as needed.
2. Partly Reclined
While sitting up straight and tall is the best position for pumping, not all new mothers can do so
comfortably. Especially for women who are recovering from a C-section, sitting in a slightly
reclined position can help make pumping less straining on the lower abdomen.
When you pump in a reclined position, it is important to remember that you still should not
slouch. Instead, try to keep your back straight and support it with a couple of pillows or
cushions. You also should not recline too much or else you can cause your milk supply to flow
back into the pump.
Ideal Positions for Feeding
1. In the Traditional Cradle
The traditional cradle is probably the first breastfeeding and pumping position that comes to mind for many; it
involves holding your baby’s head in the nook of one elbow while you feed. However, some
mothers find this position to be uncomfortable when held for a long time.
To ease the weight of your baby while you feed in the traditional cradle position, be sure to bring
your baby’s head to you, not you toward your baby. You can also use a nursing pillow under
your arms, and, above all, remember to never slouch, as this will only cause strain on your
2. In the Side Comfort Position
Perhaps the most comfortable way to breastfeed is laying down, and you can certainly
accomplish this by laying side by side with your baby. As you lay, position your baby’s head in
line with your breast, and use a pillow as needed to support your head.
It’s also important that you keep your back straight in this position even though you are laying
down so that your baby can feed without strain.
3. Tummy to Tummy
Another position for pumping that can be accomplished laying down, the tummy-to-tummy feeding position is
exactly what it sounds like. In this position, you should recline yourself by at least 45 degrees,
and then you should place your baby on your stomach. From there, you can line up your baby’s
head with your breast, ensuring that your baby does not roll off of you while feeding.
This position may not be comfortable for mothers recovering from a C-section, but it can be
performed as long as your baby feels light enough to lay on your stomach.
Nursing and breast pumping are just two of the many things new mothers have to learn, among
issues like struggling to latch, like Hannah in Season 6 of HBO Max’s Girls series.
However, once you find breastfeeding and positions for pumping that are comfortable for you, you
can expect to feed and pump with ease and avoid future postural issues. If you need general pumping help, schedule with me.