Breastfeeding Positions
To make Breastfeeding Enjoyable

Breastfeeding Positions are extremely important because if the baby isn’t positioned well to the breast, mother will have sore, cracked nipples, baby will not get full and easy flow of breast milk and breastfeeding overall won’t be as enjoyable.

In this article:

Important Tips

for comfortable breastfeeding

  1. Make sure you are comfortable first. Put some nursing pillows around you for your back support, some stool for your feet support and something for your head against the wall. Keep glass of water, a book or a remote near you.
  2. Always keep your baby close to you. His mouth should be as high as your nipple.
  3. His whole body should be facing the same direction.
  4. Support your breasts during latching and nursing.
  5. Never pull his head to the breast, instead pull his whole body towards you.
  6. Stay patient while trying out different breastfeeding positions. You will find one for sure to enjoy it.

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  The easiest breastfeeding positions

There are 5 main breastfeeding positions. Try them out little by little as your baby grows and changes his eating patterns. Feel free to experiment and find your own unique breastfeeding position that fits only your baby and you. 

1.  Laid-back breastfeeding (or Biological Nurturing) Position


Laid-back breastfeeding is when women gets comfortable with her baby.

It’s mother’s search for the  best natural breastfeeding position that fits her and her baby by instinct.

What to do

  • Lie down on the bed with some upper support, so when the baby lies on your chest he will be ‘glued’ by gravity and will not roll off.
  • Make sure your baby’s body is touching
  • Have your head and shoulders well supported. Let your baby’s whole front touch your whole front.
  • Since you’re leaning back, you don’t have a lap, so your baby can rest on you in any position you like. Just make sure her whole front is against you.
  • Let your baby’s cheek rest somewhere near your bare breast.
  • Help her as much as you like; help her do what she’s trying to do. You’re a team.
  • Hold your breast or not, as you like.
  • Relax and enjoy each other.

Video tutorial

2. Cradle Position


This position is the most common one. It is good for all ages and stages.

Make sure your baby’s head is positioned on the side towards your body, instead of turned off to the side.

How to do it

  • Lay your baby on your arm (the same side as the breast you planning to nurse from).  
  • Make sure baby’s head is on the crook of your arm.
  • Hold his back with your arm, and support his bottom with your hand.
  • Position baby’s lower arm around your body.
  • Baby should be laying down on his side so his tummy is facing yours as well as knees and the face are against your body.
  • his mouth should be in the same height level with your nipple.
  • Make sure to support your breast: thumb on top, other fingers underneath the breast. (do not touch the aureola).
  • Get your baby’s mouth closer the the nipple, let him open his mouth ( you can tickle his lip) to latch on.

Video Tutorial

3.  The Cross-Cradle Hold Position

About Position

How to do it

This position gives mother more control. It is usually used for newborns while they learn how to latch correctly.

It is good for small babies, babies who haven’t learned how to latch well yet, mothers with bigger breasts.

  • Put a nursing pillow on your lap
  • Position baby on the pillow, so he is lying down on the side facing you.  His mouth should be at the same level as your nipple.
  • Hold baby’s head in your hand.
  • Baby’s tummy should be touching your tummy.
  • Use your free hand to position your breast: thumb on top, other fingers underneath the breast. (do not touch the aureola).
  • Get your baby’s mouth closer the the nipple, let him open his mouth ( you can tickle his lip) to latch on.

Video Tutorial

4.  Football Hold Breastfeeding Position (or under arm hold position)

About Position

How to do it

This is position is very helpful for mothers who:

  • had C-section,
  • mother with larger breasts,
  • mothers with let down reflexes,
  • for premature newborns,
  • mothers with twins

Use this position until your baby learns how to latch well.

  • Put a nursing pillow on your lap.
  • Put the baby on the nursing pillow so he is at the same height as your nipple.
  • Position baby under your arm.
  • Position your arm up the length of baby’s back.
  • Support baby’s head with your thumb and forefinger behind baby’s ears.
  • Using your free hand position your breast so your fingers are away from the aureola.
  • Latch the baby.

Video Tutorial

5.  The side-lying position

About Position

How to do it

This position is the easiest for mothers who practice co-sleeping.

It is also very good for mothers after c-section.

Perfect position to catch a small nap during the day, or rest your whole body on the bed while nursing.

  • Lie down on the bed on your side.
  • Support your back and head with pillows.
  • Position baby so your tummies are against each other.
  • Most likely baby will be nursing from the breast that is closer to the bed.
  • Pull out your lower arm.
  • Use your free arm to position and hold your breast while nursing.
  • Latch the baby.

Video Tutorial

Which breastfeeding position should I use to get most rest?

According to this research, mothers who nurse using side-lying breastfeeding position experience significantly less fatigue then nursing while sitting down.

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What not to do
when breastfeeding

  • Do not push or stuff your breast into baby’s mouth. Instead, bring baby to the breast.
  • Do not position your baby’s head and body at different directions. 
  • Do not keep your breast too far away from baby’s mouth. Otherwise he will not latch well and it will cause pulling your nipple. (I know better now).

How to support your breasts
while breastfeeding

It is not enough to just pull out your breast and stuff it into your baby’s mouth. After all bottle-fed infants don’t hold their bottles either.

You need to support your breast so it will remove the weight of the breast from the baby’s face, which will allow him to latch and nurse easier.

There are few ways how to hold your breast while feeding a baby. The way you will hold your breasts while nursing will depend on your cup size of your breast.

  • For mothers with larger breasts obviously will need more support during nursing sessions. 
  • Mothers with smaller breasts most of the time will need to hold breast only during latching.

                                        "C" hold

Hold breast with your thumb on top, while other fingers underneath the breast. Make sure ti keep fingers from baby’s mouth and aureola.

                                                   "U" hold

Put your fingers under your breast with your index finger in the crease under your breast. Keep your thumb on the outer area of your breast and your fingers will be on the inner area.

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Nursing Positions 
under special circumstances

Nursing After Having a Cesarean Section

  • The lying-down position is the most comfortable one for mother who had c-section.
  • When nurse while sitting, make sure to put a pillow on your lap to cover and protect the incision.
  • The football hold position keeps the baby from pushing against your incision.

Breastfeeding multiple children

  • Nursing pillows are very helpful when breastfeeding twins. Pillows support babies and free up your hands. 
  • Cradle and cross-cradle positions are common when breastfeeding twins.
  • Mix up positions.
  • Let one child nurse in a football position while other one - in cradle position.
  • If possible feed babies separately sometimes.

Nursing Premature Infants

  • The football and cross-cradle positions are the best when nursing premature infants. 
  • Make sure to always give extra support for baby’s head and neck when using nursing. 
  • If a premature baby has weak breastfeeding reflux, you can squeeze your breast with your fingers to increase milk flow just until baby starts sucking himself.

Nursing Positions in Public

  • Using carrier, sling or wrap is the best way to nurse a child in public.
  • If not using a carrier, cradle hold is pretty common position.

Read here more about Breastfeeding in public.

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Breastfeeding positions
for toddlers and older children

I call it acrobatic breastfeeding.

When nursing your toddler you may forget all the breastfeeding positions you did with a baby.

In real life, toddlers will never nurse in any breastfeeding positions that you have in mind.

They will create their own. You will be amazed how flexible and creative your child can be.

Have fun with it and enjoy acrobatic show for free.

Sometimes toddler breastfeeding might turn into just climbing up mommy’s tummy and nipple pulling games.

In order to have calmer and pain free nursing times follow this tips when nursing a toddler.

Breastfeeding positions of my toddlers

  • upside down with the feet up in the air
  • standing on one foot
  • on his knees
  • his bottom up
  • standing on your tummy
  • turning around, kinda like dancing
  • laying down flat on his back
  1. Give your child some time to explore and enjoy the acrobatic nursing. After he tries all different positions he might calm down a bit and go back to more regular nursing positions.
  2. Occupy your child with something else, like a nursing necklace or a small toy. Read a book, sing a song or play finger play while nursing a toddler. It is a great way to calm him down and keep him in one nursing position most of the time. 
  3. Use firm voice to say: “Be still”, “Be gentle”.
  4. You can stop breastfeeding, if your child is moving around too much while nursing. You can tell him that it is very hard to feed him like that, and you will offer him breast after he plays and can sit still while nursing. 
  5. Nursing an acrobat toddler in public can be a real challenge.
  • Always feed him before leaving home
  • Explain him that while it’s ok to climb up mommy’s tummy when nursing at home, it is not OK to do it outside the home. 
  • Offer other snacks and drinks instead of breast milk
  • Nursing in a sling or carrier -  is the best way to nurse a toddler in public for me.

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Babywearing and Breastfeeding positions

Babywearing has many benefits to a child and a mother:

  • It helps bonding between mother and a child
  • It is convenient
  • Mother can do extra work or watch older sibling while having a baby in a carrier or a sling.
  • It lowers crying and colic.
  • It helps baby learn things faster since he lives and sees the world in the eyes his parent does. 
  • Some babies tend to eat more and breastfeed better in a sling or carrier.

First time mothers can see carriers and slings pretty confusing. Not to mention feeding a baby in there. But with some practice at home at first and confidence you will not want to nurse your baby or toddler anywhere else but in a sling or carrier, especially in public.

The breastfeeding position you will use to nurse while babywearing it depends which carrier, sling or wrap you are using.

breastfeeding positions

Personally I prefer baby ergo carrier which is perfect for breastfeeding as well. Its soft structure allows the baby to be positioned comfortably while mother's back and shoulders are supported well enough no to hurt and have pressure on. Honestly,  I think it's one of the most important baby gears I have ever bought and really used it.

Take a look at these ergo baby carrier reviews by parents who are using this carrier.

Some important tips when babywearing and breastfeeding:

1.   Wearing right clothing can save you a lot of frustration and make babywearing and breastfeeding more enjoyable.

  • wear 2 layers of clothing: nursing tank top on the bottom and a regular (preferably loose) shirt on top. Lift the top shirt, pull down the tank top down and voila! 
  • OR you can just wear open v-neck, scoop-necks where you can just pull the shirt down and nurse.

2.   Support your breast. Lift it to the baby’s mouth and hold it there.

3.   When nursing an infant always support baby’s head and whole body.

4.   It’s easier to nurse while standing up when you wear your baby.

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How Can I Tell if My Baby
Is Getting Enough to Eat?

The common worry of almost all of the breastfeeding mothers is: “Is my baby getting enough milk.”
The best way to determine if baby is getting enough of your milk is the wet diaper situation.

  • Keep in mind that the first milk (colostrum) is concentrated so you will only see 1-2 wet diapers for the first 3-4 days (until the real milk comes in).
  • Later you should expect around 6 wet diapers per day
  • Clear, pale urine, 2 and more yellow, seedy bowel movements or expect poopy diapers after every feeding.
  • After 1 month, there will be less bowel movements. 

Also, ask yourself these questions:

Is the baby generally happy and looks alert?

Is he gaining weight?

Is he feeding 8-12 times a day?

Make sure baby is latching on properly every time so he can get the most out of every feeding. Try different breastfeeding positions to find what’s best for you and the baby.

If you have more concerns about your baby getting enough milk, contact your pediatrician for further consultation.

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Enjoying Breastfeeding

Most of the time breastfeeding positions will come naturally when you start experimenting new holds. Always watch for your baby's cues to see if he is latching proper, if he is comfortable in certain positions.

It is important that mother feels comfortable as well as the baby. Believe me, your child will not be a happy camper if you have an achy back, a neck that's hard to turn and an arm which you don't feel after uncomfortable sitting and holding a baby while he nursed.

Breastfeeding is one of the most wonderful parts of mothering with a lot of challenges and  rewards. Finding right breastfeeding position is one of those challenges to overcome.

Take this road because you will not regret it!

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