Breastfeeding Positions

    Experiment with different positions after delivery. Have friends, nurses and lactation consultants show you the various holds; As you try you will find the position that works best for you and your baby. Remember if it hurts the latch should be corrected. Ask for help. Nurses, lactation consultants, La Leche, other breastfeeding moms and our practice are all great places to start if you need help getting a pain free latch. You can also look at our Latching Basics Video for assistance.

  1. Baby-Led / Laid Back Nursing
    In this position we let your baby follow his instincts and take advantage of reflexes like the rooting reflex. By lying back you allow the baby to lay on you with gravity helping you support the baby and enabling you to relax. Start with your baby skin to skin upright between your breasts. When your baby is ready to feed, they will use their reflexes and sense of smell and touch to scoot toward your breast and latch on to feed. Baby’s latching themselves often end up in a diagonal position across their mother’s abdomen.
  2. Cross Cradle Hold
    The hand and arm of the mother opposite (or cross) from the breast the infant feeds on supports the infant while feeding. The mother’s hand will support the infant’s upper back and neck. This allows the infant to tilt their head back and bring their chin forward toward the breast with the mother’s nipple lining up by the infant’s upper lip or nose. As the infant’s chin touches the breast this triggers the rooting reflex so the infant open’s wide. It is important that the infant’s back and buttock are supported by mom’s arm, body or pillows.
  3. Cradle Hold
    This position is often used as the baby gets older. The infant’s head rests in the crook of the mother’s arm and the forearm supports the back. The hand is then free to support the buttocks.
  4. Football Hold
    This hold is particularly useful for women who have had a C-section, and when nursing twins. The standard football or clutch hold places the infant’s body alongside the mother’s with the neck supported in her hand and positioned against the closest breast. Pillows placed vertically behind the mother gives more room for the infant’s legs to comfortably extend back. This hold often allows greater visibility.
  5. Side-Lying Hold
    In this position, the woman and infant lie next to each other. It is helpful to place a pillow under mother’s head, behind her back and between her legs for comfort and support. This is particularly helpful during night feedings and to relieve pressure from the perineum after a delivery.