Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Breast-Feeding Positions
Breast-feeding in the proper position will help your baby latch on
and breast-feed correctly and make your experience more enjoyable. Also, when
you are in a comfortable and relaxed position,
let-down occurs more easily.
You are more likely to drain all areas of your breast by changing
breast-feeding positions frequently. This helps to prevent blocked milk ducts.
Women who have had a
cesarean delivery may find that they are more
comfortable in a different position than those who delivered vaginally.
In any position:
There are several breast-feeding positions.
cradle (traditional) hold, you sit up with your back supported. One arm
supports your baby, with his or her head in the bend of your elbow and your
open hand supporting the baby's bottom. Your baby's abdomen lies against yours.
Your other hand can support the breast and guide it into your baby's
You may wish to put a pillow in your lap on which to rest your arm
at a comfortable level or use a stool to raise your feet.
The cradle hold is often considered the most common hold, but it does not
offer as much control as other holds. The cradle hold position usually
does work well after breast-feeding is well established.
cross-cradle hold is similar to the cradle hold, but
the hand positions are different. This position may give you more control in
moving the baby. Your baby's abdomen lies against yours. One hand is low on the
baby's head, behind the shoulders with fingers up and supporting the head. The
other hand (on the same side as the breast being used) supports the breast and
narrows it to help the baby form a good, deep latch on the areola. This type of
hold helps you guide your baby to the breast for a proper latch.
football hold, you sit on a bed or sofa. Your baby is tucked under your arm and lying along the side you
will be feeding on, with his or her chest facing your chest. The baby's head is
in your hand (on the same side as the breast being used), and the upper body is
supported by your arm or a pillow. With that
hand you can control the baby's head to bring the baby's mouth in quickly for a
deep latch. Your other hand reaches across to support and narrow your breast.
Use pillows to help support the baby.
The football hold is similar to the cross-cradle hold. But because
the baby is not resting on the abdomen, the football position is useful for
women who delivered by
cesarean delivery. It also works well for
breast-feeding twins or for babies who have trouble taking enough of the areola
(the dark circle around the nipple) into their mouths. Large-breasted women
also often find this a comfortable breast-feeding position.
side-lying position, you and your baby lie on your sides with your chests facing
each other. Place pillows behind the baby for support. Your baby's mouth should
be close to your nipple. The hand on your top side supports your lower breast
and guides it into your infant's mouth as you roll toward your rooting baby.
After the baby has latched on, use this arm to cuddle and bring your baby
closer to you.
You can also place your baby on a firm pillow by your side. Offer
the upper breast for feeding. Having the baby on the pillow can help some very
large- or small-breasted women see their baby more easily.
The side-lying position is a good option when you have delivered by
cesarean delivery or when you are tired.
Australian hold, your baby is held vertically and straddles your thigh, facing you.
Your knee supports your baby on his or her bottom, while one hand is low on the
baby's head to give control as you bring your baby to the breast to latch. It
may work best to have your baby sitting slightly "side-saddle." The other hand
(on the same side as the breast being used) supports the breast to help the
baby form a good, deep latch on the areola.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerMary Robbins, RNC, IBCLC - Lactation Consultant
Current as ofJune 4, 2014
Current as of:
June 4, 2014
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Mary Robbins, RNC, IBCLC - Lactation Consultant
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.