Top breastfeeding positions: What they are and when to try them

When you start breastfeeding, there are so many things to take into consideration—and positions to breastfeed in are huge.


Nursing will need to happen in lots of different places and occasions, and you may not be in your comfortable nursing chair each time you breastfeed. That's why it's a great idea to learn several different positions to help you along the way.

These are by no means the only ways to breastfeed, but may help you establish a few different methods of nursing for when the occasion strikes:

The cross-cradle

Katie Booker

This is the standard, go-to nursing position that most Lactation Consultants will start you on.

Holding your baby on their side, bring their body in close to yours with the opposite arm to the breast you are feeding on (i.e. left arm to right breast). Your right arm then comes underneath the body of your baby, and the other hand can stay to keep the head in place. You can also use a support pillow if you need to.

Good for:

  • First-time nursers
  • In bed
  • On a chair
  • Public places
  • All ages from newborn

The cradle

Katie Booker

The same as the cross-cradle but this time, the baby's head can be supported by the crook of the arm that is holding the baby's body. You now have a free hand that is able to reposition your breast, turn a magazine page or drink your water.

Good for:

  • Established feeders
  • Quick and long feeds

The football clutch:

Katie Booker

Similar to the cradle as you are only using one arm. The baby's body is not lying in front of yours but is more to the side and under your arm. Your right arm comes to your right breast. This can be used for when your baby is on their back or their side.

FEATURED VIDEO

Good for:

  • When you are not in a chair or bed, or short on space
  • Discretion when you are feeding from under your top, rather than a drop-down shirt
  • Twin-feeding
  • If your baby is a kicker
  • If the weather is hot (less body contact)
  • If the weather is cold (you can stay more covered up)

Side lying

Katie Booker

Lie on your side and bring your baby in close to you. Baby is also on their side or on their back. You can prop your head up on a pillow or on your arm. To stop your baby from rolling onto their back or front, you can use a pillow or your arm to keep them there.

You can start by using the breast closest to the mattress and then either swap sides or maneuver your body and breast to enable to feed from the other side. Alternatively, you could bring your baby closer to your top breast by raising them on a pillow.

(Psst: Check out the AAP guidelines for safe sleep, since a lot of moms find they fall asleep in this position.)

Good for:

  • Nighttime feeds
  • If your arms are fatigued

Downward

Katie Booker

Your baby is on their back, and you are bringing your breast to them by allowing it to drop into their mouth. You can be more comfortable if you prop yourself up on one arm, use a pillow or lie on your side.

Good for:

  • If you don't want to move your baby
  • If you have large breasts
  • If your breasts are sore
  • Higher milk flow

Reclined

Katie Booker

Your baby is inline with your body. You can hold them under their arms or, depending on how big they are, prop them on your knee. You can be in bed or on a chair. Your hands can be free if desired (depending on if your baby is able to stay supported and balanced). The angle of the recline can be from sitting to lying on your back, depending on your preference.

Good for:

  • Babies that have difficulties burping
  • Distracted babies
  • Babies that have FOMO (fear of missing out)
  • Quick feeds
  • When you need to use both your hands

Sitting

Katie Booker

Your baby is vertically upright, and you are too. Your baby is inline with your body. You can be sitting upright or even standing. Your baby can be sitting on your knee if they are big enough or you can support them under their bottoms and behind their head.

Good for:

  • Babies with reflux
  • When the baby is in a child carrier
  • When you need to use both your hands

There are so many different ways of feeding your baby, and I'm sure if you have a look on social media, you will be sure to see some inventive ones. Hopefully, these few standard ones will be able to help you with your breastfeeding journey and try out some new ones for variety.


You might also like:


In This Article