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4 Different Positions for Breastfeeding Moms Should Try Out

4 Different Positions for Breastfeeding Moms Should Try Out

Through the months or years of breastfeeding, you and your baby may develop a routine that works for the both of you. But it’s not uncommon to feel discomfort due to the position you both are in. This is just one of the many instances why you should learn more about the different positions for breastfeeding. Other times, changing your breastfeeding position can solve latching problems, or you may just want a more relaxed position during different times of the day.

4 Different Ways and Positions for Breastfeeding

There’s more than one way to breastfeed your baby. And, depending on the situation, one breastfeeding position may be better than another. This handy guide can help you practice different positions for breastfeeding.

The Cradle Hold

Many moms know the cradle hold very well as most of them started their breastfeeding journey with this position.

You may try this hold by following these steps:

  • Sit in an upright position. Use any support, like pillows and chairs, if necessary.
  • Lay your baby across your body with the support you need. Have their knees, tummy, and chest area face you.
  • Wrap the baby’s arms tightly around your breast.
  • Check if the baby’s eyes are fixed on your face or on your shoulder.
  • When you start with the right breast, use your left hand to shape your breast and the areola into a sandwich with a “U” hold.
  • Your right forearm should be supporting the baby’s head, with your hand supporting the bottom part. You will guide your baby onto your breast with your forearm. Keep in mind that placing the baby’s head in the crook of your arm will place the baby’s mouth far to the side. This may result in the wrong angle to latch onto your breast.
  • To nurse the left breast, reverse your hands.

The cradle hold can be useful if you notice your baby having trouble latching on to your breast. This hold can assist in guiding your baby’s mouth to your breast.

positions for breastfeeding

The Cross-Cradle Hold

Similar to the cradle hold, the cross-cradle hold provides you with control over your baby’s movement while also offering head support for the child. It is essentially the same as the cradle hold, except this time you will be using your opposite arm to hold your baby.

Here is how to do the cross-cradle hold:

  • Again, like the cradle hold, sit in an upright position. Use any support, like pillows and chairs, if necessary.
  • Hold your baby across your body with pillows for support.
  • Make sure that the baby’s knees, tummy, and chest are all facing you.
  • Wrap the baby’s arms tightly around your breast.
  • Check if the baby’s eyes are fixed on your face or on your shoulder.
  • When nursing with the right breast, use your right hand to shape your breast and the areola into a sandwich with a “U” hold.
  • Your left hand should be around the baby’s neck, supporting the base of his/her head. At the same time, your right arm gives additional support to the baby’s back, keeping the baby’s body close to you.
  • To nurse the left breast, reverse your hands.

Other people refer to the cross-cradle hold as the transitional hold, which can be beneficial for preterm babies who are in need of more support and guidance.

These first two positions for breastfeeding are normally done in the early stages of lactation.

The Clutch or Football Hold

The football or clutch hold is another option from the list of positions for breastfeeding. If you are recovering from a cesarean section or have large breasts, this position might be a good fit for you.

  • Position your dominant hand behind the baby’s head, your thumb on one of the baby’s ears, your index finger on the other,
    and hold baby to the same side of your body, like holding a football. Then, with the other hand, lift your breast which is on the same side as the dominant hand/arm to have your nipple leveled with your baby’s nose.
  • Rub your nipple on the child’s lip. As soon as the baby opens their mouth, bring them towards you. Make sure that they latch onto the areola.
  • A pillow can be useful for extra support while in this position.

This breastfeeding position is also helpful for mothers with a strong milk ejection reflex (let down). This is because the baby can handle the flow better.

The Traditional Side-Lying Hold

Because the baby is not pressing on the mother’s abdomen, this position is ideal for mothers who have had a C-section.

  • Begin by lying on your side with your baby facing you on his or her side. Your baby’s nose should be positioned so that it is opposite your nipple.
  • Use your lower arm to hold your baby’s back, or tuck a rolled-up blanket behind your baby to help snuggle your little one close to you.
  • Your other hand can function as a support to your breast.

Key Takeaways


Regardless of whatever position you choose from this list, remember, your baby should always be facing your body.
Different positions for breastfeeding allow a variety of ways to make you and your child comfortable. They can also help with latching problems.
Finally, changing your breastfeeding positions from time to time can help prevent plugging or poor drainage. Keep these breastfeeding positions in mind to help you in your breastfeeding journey.

Learn more about Breastfeeding here.

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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Breast-feeding positions, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/multimedia/breast-feeding/sls-20076017?s=3, Accessed December 17, 2021

Latching Issues? Try These 5 Breastfeeding Positions, https://healthblog.uofmhealth.org/lifestyle/latching-issues-try-these-5-breastfeeding-positions, Accessed December 17, 2021

5 Breastfeeding Holds to Try, https://wicbreastfeeding.fns.usda.gov/5-breastfeeding-holds-try, Accessed December 17, 2021

Breastfeeding Positions, https://www.mainlinehealth.org/specialties/lactation-and-breastfeeding/positions, Accessed December 17, 2021

Nursing Positions, https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/nursing-positions.html, Accessed December 17, 2021

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Written by Fiel Tugade Updated 2 weeks ago
Medically reviewed by Regina Victoria Boyles, MD