Beautiful breastfeeding.

Upright Breastfeeding Positions - Reduce Gas & Reflux

Breastfeeding Positions Jan 5, 2021

The Upright Hold

Breastfeeding is one of the world's most common and natural acts – but it takes practice!

For something intrinsically ours as women, it sure does take a lot of trial and error for most of us! Finding a breastfeeding position that works for you and your baby is well worth the effort because even though your mind is consumed with thoughts of love and affection for your baby – all THEY are thinking is – when is my next meal coming?

Australian breastfeeding hold, upright breastfeeding hold
Australian breastfeeding hold 

So let me introduce you to the upright feeding position. It is also called the Koala,  Saddle position, or the Australian feeding position.

Firstly, let me reassure you that there is no right or wrong way to breastfeed. If you have found a comfortable position for you and your baby, hang on to it! The main thing is that your little one is latching well and getting the nutrition they need.

If you’ve already had your baby, you would have soon realized that your little bundle of joy comes with likes and dislikes. They can be extraordinarily feisty and demanding, especially if you are a few seconds late in whipping off your shirt and presenting them with your bosom. Some babies prefer to feed upright, and some won’t latch in this position.

The upright hold works very well for the slightly older baby, who can already hold their head up. If you have a particularly active baby who loves to look around, this location gives them a better view of their surroundings.

breastfed baby, straddle hold
Close-up of baby's face while breastfeeding.

This Upright Position Is Quite Helpful for the Following:

  • Painful nipples! This position helps reduce nipple pain and blocked ducts, and some babies latch very easily. Some babies seem to inflict injury to just one part of the nipple, so changing their current position to the upright position may reduce the damage to that area.
  • Forceful let-down reflex. It is helpful to moms with a strong let-down reflex as they can lean back and slow down the flow a little. It helps prevent the baby from choking and spluttering from fast-flowing milk.
  • Excess wind or colic. In this position, gravity helps keep the milk in the baby’s tummy after swallowing rather than coming back up. This also allows them to burp a little easier.
  • If your baby is getting too heavy to hold in a cradle position, then the upright position may take a bit of strain off your body.
  • Mastitis and blocked ducts. This position drains the milk from the lower part of the breast, which could help moms struggling with blocked ducts or mastitis in this area.
  • Babies with runny noses or blocked ears. If your little one suffers from any mouth deformities or difficulties (cleft pallet, breathing, or swallowing issues) or you have a reflux baby, this breastfeeding position may be beneficial.
  • If your baby is particularly fond of being in the sling or pouch, this feeding method fits perfectly, and the mom can nurse while standing or walking.

To Use the Upright Breastfeeding Position:

  • One of the most important things is to make sure that your baby’s head and neck are supported and in alignment.
  • Sit comfortably in a chair. If it is easier for you, recline a little.
  • With you in this upright position, have your baby straddle your leg, with their head facing your breast.
  • You would want his body to be gently pressed against yours. So this would be like a tummy-to-tummy cuddle position.
  • The baby sits straight up and feeds on the breast on the same side he is facing.
  • Support baby’s head with the arm on the same side that baby is feeding. Even though the head is supported, ensure they can tilt their head back to feed.
  • Let your little one lean forward towards your breast, allowing them to find the nipple.
  • You may need to move your breast a little to get them latching well.
  • If your baby is not long enough to reach the breast, you can fold a towel or place a pillow under them to raise them higher, so they reach the nipple comfortably.
  • Your baby’s nose should be in line with the nipple. You could brush their nose with the nipple to encourage them to open their mouth widely and latch on.
  • If it doesn’t feel comfortable, put your clean finger into your baby’s mouth to release the latch and try again.

When all is said and done, as long as you are comfortable, your baby is latching well, and nursing is a happy time (more or less), then whichever breastfeeding position you use is ultimately right.

References and Extra Resources

1. Gray, Krista. Nursing Nurture. Nursing positions.


Tracy Behr

Mom of two, breastfeeding helper, qualified nutritionist and lover of all things natural! Studying a breastfeeding counselor course via Childbirth int.

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