BabyFeeding4 Breastfeeding Positions to Try

4 Breastfeeding Positions to Try

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A successful breastfeeding journey requires practice, dedication, and repetition. Both you and your new baby are adjusting to a new and important phase in your relationship. Give these breastfeeding positions a try to see which feels most comfortable.

Cradle Hold

Probably the most popular, the cradle hold is best done in a chair with armrests or on a couch or bed with pillows surrounding you.

First, lay your baby across your lap, facing you. Your baby’s head should be resting on your forearm closest to the nursing breast. Your arm should rest on a nursing pillow or arm rest for maximum comfort. Ensure your baby’s body is aligned and that his or her nose is unobstructed.

If you’ve had a Cesarean Section, this position may be uncomfortable for a while. Try the side-lying or football hold (described below) instead.

Cross-Cradle Hold

This position is similar to the cradle hold, just opposite. It is also best done sitting in a comfortable chair with armrests or on a couch or bed with pillows.

Start by sitting tummy-to-tummy with your baby. Hold them with their head facing your nursing breast and their waist tucked in your forearm on the opposite side. Using your hand on the same side as the nursing breast, you can hold your breast up to your baby’s mouth while also supporting their head with that hand.

Similar to cradle hold, this position may be uncomfortable if your baby was born via Cesarean Section.


The side-lying position is a great option for optimal skin-to-skin contact with your baby and especially if you’ve had a Cesarean Section.

With your head resting on a pillow, lie on your side with one arm extended above your head under the pillow. Place your baby facing you, with their face against the nursing breast, which should be the one closest to the bed. Your other arm can rest on your baby’s body to support it.

It’s important that you stay awake at all times while breastfeeding. Side-lying is comfortable, especially during the night, but avoid falling asleep until you’ve returned your baby safely to their crib

Football Hold

Although challenging to get used to, the football hold can be a life saver if you’re recovering from a Cesarean Section.

Hold your baby next to your body with your elbow bent. Support your baby’s head using your open hand on the same side as the nursing breast. Their body will rest on your forearm and will be tucked under your armpit.

Sometimes called the clutch hold, the football hold can be a great option if you have twins and need to nurse two babies at once.

Tips on Breastfeeding Positions

  • No matter the position, bring your baby to you rather than contorting your body to come to them. This will be more comfortable for the both of you!
  • Always have a drink and/or a snack nearby. Staying nourished and hydrated is key for milk production.
  • Exclusively pumping? Make sure you have the correct flange size, a good pumping bra, and the support you need to have a successful pumping experience.
  • Try to relax! Easier said than done, but getting into a stress-free, relaxed state encourages milk let-down.
  • Ask for help. Your OBGYN, your baby’s pediatrician, a Certified Lactation Consultant, and your family and friends are great resources to lean on when the breastfeeding journey gets tough.

Read our series on breastfeeding

Breastfeeding Basics Guide

Breast Pumping Tips

Four Breastfeeding Positions

Breastfeeding for Working Moms

Breastfeeding Mastitis, Thrush and Common Ailments

Written by

Abigail Purcell, RN
Abigail Purcell, RN
Abigail is one of our expert writers and is a BSN, RN (Registered Nurse) with a wide range of experience. She has worked in Public Health, Medical-Surgical nursing, and, most recently, Paediatrics and Women’s Health. Her true passion is serving mothers and families by helping them navigate their healthcare. As a nurse writer, Abby enjoys being able to empower patients on a larger scale, using evidence-based information that is easy to access and understand.


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