Breastfeeding Koala Hold: Positioning, Supporting & Benefits

| Reviewed By Sarah Schulze, MSN, APRN, CPNP

Breastfeeding is a wonderful chance for you to bond with your baby.

There are a ton of breastfeeding positions that allow you to make sure your baby gets fed while also keeping both of you comfortable during this important time.

What is the koala breastfeeding position? The koala breastfeeding position is when your baby is straddling your thigh or sitting on your hip and facing you to feed. The front of your baby’s body is against your tummy with arms wrapped around you like a hug, much like a baby koala clings to its mother. It works well for babies with reflux.

Know when it’s safe to use this hold and how to pull it off to ensure your breastfeeding journey is as smooth as possible.

Koala Hold Breastfeeding – What To Know

The koala hold for breastfeeding works for many moms, especially when their children are the right age to truly do the hold correctly.

What Is the Koala Hold?

Imagine your baby wrapped around your body like a baby koala while nursing, and you will have a pretty accurate picture of the koala hold.

Your child will sit in your lap facing you. He can straddle your thigh or perch on your hip. Most babies will also wrap their arms around you, and you will need to support your child’s head and body for safety.

In this position, your child can breastfeed while facing you with ease.

Koala Hold Breastfeeding Benefits

While all breastfeeding positions create the opportunity for skin-to-skin contact, the koala hold also feels like you and your child are taking part in a sustained hug.

For babies who get ear infections frequently, this hold is ideal. It keeps your child’s head elevated in a way that should help decrease ear infections.

Koala Hold Breastfeeding Age

The koala hold is easier to use with babies who can at least help hold up their heads.

While you can use the koala hold with a newborn, you have to make sure to give substantial support to the body and head.

It’s also important to make sure your newborn’s face isn’t smashed against your breast too hard since he won’t have the neck control to pull away on his own.

When your child is sitting up on his own, the koala hold becomes a much more logical choice for nursing. This will likely be around the six-month mark, though you can definitely attempt this position before then.

Koala Hold Newborn

If you do attempt a koala hold with a newborn, make sure to fully support your child’s neck and head.

You also have to ensure your child’s body doesn’t fold too much during the feeding process. You can lean back in a chair so your newborn can comfortably lean against you. 

Koala Hold Older Babies

When my toddler son was nursing, he initiated the koala hold on his own.

He would come to sit in my lap and start nursing, and this gave us time to cuddle and connect. It also gave him the freedom to get up and move along when he was finished.

Older babies tend to enjoy this hold because it allows them to look around and get mobile quickly when they are finished eating.

Koala Hold Breastfeeding Reflux

For babies with reflux, the koala hold can help save the day. By letting your little one stay in an upright position while feeding, your child will likely experience less reflux and may not spit up as much.

Babies who are held on their backs to feed can have a harder time taking in the milk without also taking in extra air, but being in a seated, upright position alleviates some of the problem.

How Do You Latch a Koala Hold?

You latch a koala hold much like any other hold. You simply need to use your hand to hold your baby’s head and neck gently and guide him to your breast.

Make sure he latches fully to the entire nipple before nursing.

How Do You Support a Newborn in a Koala Hold?

A koala hold can be tricky with a newborn. It’s best if the mom is sitting with her back supported so her baby can lean on her chest.

The newborn’s head and body will need to be supported, and it’s imperative that the baby’s face is not smashed against the mom’s body so hard that the newborn can’t breathe.

Signs of Good Positioning in Breastfeeding

When your baby is positioned well, he should be able to get enough milk without being overwhelmed. The flow should be comfortable for him so he’s not sucking in too much air or spitting up tons of excess milk.

The latch should be comfortable for you as well. While you will be able to feel your baby breastfeeding, it shouldn’t hurt.

Pain is a sign that the positioning or latch isn’t right. It might also signal that you have an infection. 

Easiest Breastfeeding Position for Newborn

A cross-cradle hold is great for newborns. Mom uses the hand closest to the breast from which the baby is feeding to support her baby’s head and uses her other arm to support her baby’s body.

Many moms use a nursing pillow, such as the ever-popular Boppy, so their arms don’t get tired during the feeding session.

Upright Breastfeeding Positions for Newborns

Upright positions with newborns can be difficult when nursing, but they are possible. You can absolutely attempt a koala hold as long as your baby is fully supported by you. 

Breastfeeding Positions To Reduce Gas

To reduce gas, make sure you choose a breastfeeding position that eliminates your baby gasping and taking in too much air. Look for positions where your baby can handle the flow of milk without choking or struggling. 

The best positions keep your child’s head slightly elevated and ensure a good latch.

Related Questions: 

How Upright Should Baby Be During Feeding?

When breastfeeding or bottle feeding your baby, you need to make sure they are somewhat upright for the best outcome. You don’t ever want to feed your baby when he is flat on his back.

Either have your baby try something like the koala hold or make sure their head is slightly above their body when feeding. This can help with reflux and ensure they get the milk down properly.

What Breastfeeding Position Is Best for Gassy Baby?

For gassy babies, a semi-upright position is best. This keeps too much milk from getting into your child’s mouth at once, and this can reduce the amount of air your child sucks in while trying to drink.

Extra air intake can cause more gas in your child’s tummy, and this leads to discomfort.

Final Thoughts

Finding the right position to use for breastfeeding your baby can make all the difference in the experience for you both. Give the koala hold a try, and experiment with other positions if you find that it’s not for you.