Breastfeeding Positions

February 9th, 2024 | 10:00 am


The first few months of motherhood come with their own set of challenges and pleasant surprises. From witnessing your baby’s first steps to hearing their first words, moments of pure joy often accompany sleepless nights spent soothing your baby to sleep or grappling with breastfeeding challenges. These occurrences are common especially in the initial weeks after birth. Mothers, particularly those who have given birth for the first time, can have trouble breastfeeding their newborns. But breastfeeding properly is essential for the baby to latch the right way as well as prevent nipple soreness and other problems with breastfeeding.

There are a few breastfeeding positions that can work for both the mother and the child, but it is important to remember that it may not always be the same for every mother and their baby. Here are the top breastfeeding positions that you can try with some tips to take care of while breastfeeding your baby, and some additional information on what to avoid.

How To Hold The Baby

The first step towards breastfeeding is learning how to hold the baby in a way that is neither uncomfortable for you nor the baby and ensures they’re positioned right. Start by placing the baby on one side and make sure the whole body is on that side. The head, shoulder, and legs should all be tilted on one side in a straight line. Breastfeeding can be done by placing the baby on a pillow, bringing them to a height that aligns with the breasts.

Breastfeeding Positions

Once both you and your baby are all set, here are five breastfeeding positions that you can try: 

  1. Cradle Hold

The cradle hold is perhaps the most common position that provides an easy way to breastfeed while also providing the opportunity to bond with your baby. 

  • You can sit on the bed or a chair, and use a pillow to support the arm holding the baby.
  • Position the baby with their head lying on the crook of your arm and bring them on your lap or pillow.
  • Now cup your breast with the other hand and place the nipple at the place where the baby’s nose will touch the breast. Lightly compress the areola, pushing the nipple forward towards the baby’s nose. Your baby can latch onto the breast now.
  1. Cross-cradle hold

This position is good for small babies and quite useful for mothers learning to breastfeed. Imagine it as the opposite of cradle hold, and hold the baby in the palm of your hand with their legs in the crook of the arm. Place a pillow underneath for extra support and position the nipple with the other hand just as you did during cradle hold.

  1. Football hold

The football position can be more comfortable than other positions for those who have nipple soreness. This position can ensure that the baby empties the bottom ducts of the breast while preventing blocking or plugging of the other ducts. Hold the baby’s head in the palm of your hand with their legs near the crook, and place the other hand underneath for extra support to the head. Ensure that the baby’s body is tilted towards your breast. The football breastfeeding position can be beneficial for mothers who have undergone a cesarean section and cannot put pressure on the belly even for supporting the baby while nursing. 

  1. Side lying position 

This position can work most of the time when you wish to get some rest and breastfeed. It can be a great way to breastfeed if your baby is more comfortable to be breastfed while lying down. 

  • In this position, keep the baby lying on their back comfortably and you can lay on their side facing the baby with its head near your breast.
  • Support your arm and back with a pillow, ensure that the baby’s nose is not obstructed, and position the nipple near the baby’s mouth. 
  1. Laid-back position 

This position can be beneficial for mothers with smaller breasts, and for babies who have a sensitive tummy or excess gas. 

  • Find a comfortable place like the couch or a chair with a comfortable headrest, or on the bed where you can lean against the wall. Put some pillows to support your back and simply recline against the support. 
  • Position the baby leaning on your body and ensure that the baby can reach your breast but doesn’t obstruct their nose. 
  • In this position, your baby can latch onto your breast naturally, or you can gently pucker the nipple near the baby’s mouth.

When your baby has latched onto your breast, you can simply lay back and relax.

How To Latch Properly

Latching the baby onto the nipple can be a bit tricky to master, especially for first time moms. Improper latching can lead to breast discomfort along with sore nipples. Here are some tips to help your baby latch onto the nipple.

  • Gently tickle your baby’s lips to let them open the mouth wide so that you can position the nipple without tucking the lower lip
  • Bring the baby towards the breast and not the other way round; it may take a few attempts before the baby can latch properly and willingly
  • Ensure that the baby’s mouth can cover the nipple along with a part of the areola 
  • Make sure the breast doesn’t press against the baby’s nose; lightly cradle the baby’s head or elevate them slightly to provide some breathing space

These tips may help your babies to latch onto the breast successfully and ensure that they are getting the nutrients that they need to grow up. 

Breastfeeding Positions To Avoid

Ensuring both you and your baby are comfortable is crucial, as discomfort can lead to reduced lactation, sore nipples, and improper latching. This can prevent the baby from getting enough breast milk which can cause more problems later on. Here are some breastfeeding positions to avoid to ensure that your baby can latch properly and get ample breast milk.

  • Hunching over the baby: This can lead to pressing the breast onto the mouth of the baby and prevent proper latching. Instead position yourself and the baby in a comfortable position with your back straight or lying back with the baby on top of you.
  • Baby’s head and body in different directions: Ensure that the baby’s entire body is aligned on one side, as having the head and body in different directions can cause stress for the baby and hinder proper swallowing.
  • Positioned farther from the body: It is important to make sure that the baby is placed at a position near the breast, otherwise the baby may tug at the nipple while feeding which can be uncomfortable for both you and your baby.


The journey of milk from the breast to the child’s belly can take quite a lot of effort and patience before one can get it right. There is no one position that can be useful for every mother. With some trial and error, and some patience, you can find the breastfeeding position that works best for you and your baby. 

If you still have trouble breastfeeding or require an answer for your concerns, contact the best doctors at Giggle Hospital for the right guidance so you can ensure only the best for your baby.