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Top 5 Breastfeeding Positions

Which of These Breastfeeding Positions Are Your Favorite?

Breastfeeding is a time to relax, enjoy and get to know your baby. The right position will help your baby latch easily and correctly for nursing, reduce any nipple pain and help you produce more milk.

Sounds easy, right? It all begins with finding the right and best position for you and baby in each circumstance. These mom-tested, baby-approved positions are our top 5.

A few additional tips will find you bonding and breastfeeding like champs:

• Support your back and arms with pillows and other soft props so that you’re comfortable, relaxed
• Support your breasts with your hands, as possible, both above and below the nipple
• Support baby’s body fully; her arms and legs should be flexed, relaxed
• Align baby with your body: Baby’s head, shoulders, body and hips are all in a line facing your body
• Keep baby’s higher than his or her body (think on a slope)
• You can always see baby’s nose and face while nursing
• Nurse skin-to-skin with your bodies touching as close as possible
• If you’re sleeping after nursing and can’t hold baby upright while he snoozes, always place him on his back in a safe, firm crib or bassinet—never on a soft surface like pillows or a sofa or chair

Cradle Hold (aka Madonna)

Cradle Hold PositionWhy we love it: It’s one of the most recognizable positions and is best used when baby’s at least a few weeks old, with better head control and more experience latching on to the breast.

How to do it
• Sit upright, with good back/arm support
• A footstool will help baby’s body face you and reduce muscle strain
• Lay baby across your lap, cradling his head in the crook of your arm, with your forearm underneath baby for support
• Baby’s head, body and hips face you
• Add a pillow under baby to position him right at your breast
• Guide baby to latch with your other arm

Cross-Cradle Hold (Crossover)

Cross Cradle Hold Position
Why we love it: Try this position early on when baby is fresh born and while you can still use both hands to hold baby’s head and support your breast.

How to do it
• Begin similarly to the Cradle Hold, only use your arm opposite your breast to hold baby—so you left arm supports baby at your right breast, and vice versa
• If baby is nursing at your left breast, your right arm holds and supports baby against your body while also guiding his head to your nipple

Football Hold (Clutch)

Football Hold Position

Why we love it: Moms with cesarean incisions like this position because there’s no strain on your abdomen as you tuck your baby under your arm, on your nursing side, like a football or your favorite purse (remember those!). You also gain both hands to hold and adjust baby’s head while supporting your breast and guiding baby’s latch.

How to do it
• Sit upright, with good back/arm support
• Place your baby under your arm, face up and toward your side, as if you were carrying a football
• Use your arm on the side from which baby is nursing to support his back and your hand to support his neck.
• Use your other arm to support your breast and help baby latch
• Use pillows or blankets to support baby’s body at the right height for comfortably breastfeeding

Side-Lying Position

Side-Lying Breastfeeding

Why we love it: This is your go-to position when you’re exhausted, medicated or uncomfortable, such as after cesarean or an episiotomy. Ask your nurse or partner to help you position baby so that you can always see his face and nose while nursing. If you start to feel sleepy, make sure baby returns to an alert adult or to his crib or bassinet, on his back, before you drift off to sleep.

How to do it
• Lay on your side in bed, placing baby on the bed next to you, facing you, with his mouth opposite your breast
• Prop your own head, neck and shoulder comfortably so that you’re supported during the feeding
• Use your lower arm to snuggle baby close to you, pressing from his back
• Use your upper arm to support your breast and help baby latch

Laid-Back Breastfeeding

Laid-Back Breastfeeding

Why we love it: This is a newly researched position that is gaining popularity. It uses your own body to support baby naturally into a comfortable position for both mom and baby, which is why some experts call this biological nursing.
How to do it
• Semi-recline on a sofa or bed, with pillows propped around your body for comfort and support
• Lay baby on your body so that his mouth is at your breast
• Baby should lay so that the natural curves of your body support his weight and position
• You should always be able to see baby’s face and nose while he’s feeding
• Your arms are free to cuddle and relax baby as he is naturally positioned at your breast


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