Common Breastfeeding Positions

Find the position that is best for your baby; there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to breastfeeding comfortably.

Before you begin breastfeeding in any position, make sure you are comfortable and have adequate back support. It’s also a good idea to have a drink of water and some snacks on hand, especially in the early days of breastfeeding where you might be there for a while.

CRADLE HOLD

This tends to be the most common position for breastfeeding mums. Your baby is lying on their side, tummy-to-tummy with you, and held across your lap. It can be helpful to place pillows underneath your baby to bring them up to nipple height and support your elbows. Their head will rest on your forearm, and your inner arm and palm will be along their back. Make sure your baby’s head and bottom are level.

CROSS-CRADLE HOLD

The positioning of your baby is similar to the cradle hold but the difference here is that you place your hand behind your baby’s head, with their neck resting between your thumb and index finger. With the other free hand, you can support the breast i.e. the left hand supports the left breast and the right hand is placed on the baby. When feeding on the right side, you do the opposite.

RUGBY BALL HOLD

A māmā who has had a C-section or has a forceful let-down may find this position helpful. Your baby is at your side, with their legs and feet tucked under your arm. Your baby’s head is held in your hand closest to them and your other hand can be used to support your breast. Your pēpi should be facing you, with their mouth at nipple height. You may like to rest your arm and their body on a pillow for support.

LAID-BACK HOLD

Sit back, recline a little, and relax. This position can be beneficial for those with a baby who has reflux or colic. Lay your baby on you, tummy-to-tummy, with their whole front touching you. Position your baby’s cheek near your breast and let them use their natural feeding reflexes to find the nipple and self-latch.

SIDE-LYING

A lovely option when you’re needing a rest or for those who have had a C-section. Lie down on your side and face your baby. Position them tummy-to-tummy with you and have their mouth line up with your nipple. You can cradle your baby’s head in the crook of your arm. Use pillows behind your back, under your neck and between your knees if you need additional support.

TANDEM

When you’ve got two to feed – such as twins or a newborn and a toddler – this double rugby ball hold allows you to breastfeed both at once.