What are the Best Positions for Breastfeeding

The baby’s job is to suck hard, drink and even swallow the milk. So, it is not easy for him unless the hold is suitable. So, try to understand the various positions and figure out what will suit your baby.

Verified by:
iMumz Expert Panel
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Updated on:
September 30, 2022

Experts recommend two nursing positions during the first few weeks: the crossover hold and the football (or clutch) hold. Once you’re more comfortable with breastfeeding, you can add the cradle hold and the side-lying position. So get into your starting (basic) position, and try these: 

Crossover hold

  • Hold your baby’s head with the hand opposite to the breast you’ll be nursing from (if you’re nursing on the right breast, hold your baby’s head with your left hand). Your wrist should rest between your baby’s shoulder blades, your thumb behind one ear, your other fingers behind the other ear. 
  • Using your right hand, cup your right breast, placing your thumb above your nipple and areola at the spot where your baby’s nose will touch your breast. 
  • Your index finger should be at the spot where your baby’s chin will touch the breast. Lightly compress your breast. 
  • This will give your breast a shape that more closely matches the shape of your baby’s mouth. 
  • You are now ready to have a baby latch on.

Football or clutch hold

  • This position is especially useful if you’ve had a caesarean delivery (and you want to avoid putting baby’s weight on your incision site), if your breasts are large, if your baby is small or premature, or if you’re nursing twins. 
  • Just tuck your baby under your arm like you would a football: 
  • Position your baby at your side in a semi sitting position facing you, with the baby's legs under your arm (your right arm if you are feeding on the right breast). 
  • Use pillows to bring the baby up to the level of your nipple. 
  • Support your baby’s head with your right hand and cup your breast with your left hand as you would for the crossover hold. 

Cradle hold

  • Hold the baby with its stomach against your body.
  • Support the baby with the arm that is on the same side as the breast from which the baby is nursing.
  • Keep the baby’s head in line with the rest of their body to avoid straining their neck.
  • Try using a nursing pillow or an armrest to support your elbow to make this hold more comfortable.

Side-lying position

  • When you are tired, mum or feeding in the middle of the night, use this one! 
  • Lie on your side with a pillow supporting your head. 
  • Position your baby on his or her side facing you, tummy to tummy. 
  • Make sure his or her mouth is in line with your nipple. 
  • Support your breast with your hand as in the other nursing positions. 
  • You may want to put a small pillow behind your baby’s back to hold him or her close. Whichever position you choose, be sure you bring the baby to the breast— not breast to the baby. 
  • Many latching on problems occur because mom is hunched over the baby, trying to shove her breast in her little one’s mouth. 
  • Instead, keep your back straight and bring your baby to the breast.