The Ultimate Guide to Breastfeeding Positions

Being successful at breastfeeding can be as simple as finding the right position.  Certain breastfeeding positions work better for some than for others, depending on the situation and your comfort level.

Here are some tips to ensure that you are utilizing all the positions correctly and getting the most out of your breastfeeding experience.

The following is a guest post from Ahmed Fawzi at www.Breastfeedo.com.  [Images used with permission]

The Ultimate Guide to Breastfeeding Positions

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5 Breastfeeding Positions

1. Cradle and Cross Cradle Nursing Position

Both are the most common nursing position of all time where you carry your baby within your arms to breastfeed him.

Cradle hold

In which your baby is lying on your forearm on his side “the forearm of the same breast you use to breastfeed”

Cross-cradle hold

The same of cradle hold except your baby is on the opposite forearm of the breast you use to breastfeed (i.e. if you breastfeed from the right breast, your baby is held on your left forearm and vice versa)

Important notes

Your baby is on his side where his head and neck are in the same straight line. In other words, if your baby’s neck is tilted down, the swallowing process would be hard which affects the milk extraction negatively and hence your milk supply.

Your breast is at the same level of baby’s head.

Always keep your baby’s head free to move back to enable him to catch your breast deeply and widely.

Stomach to stomach

Baby’s legs are around your waist for more comfort and control.


2. Football Nursing Position

the football-hold-during-breastfeeding
Football Hold Position Tutorial

This position got its name as it looks like when football “rugby” players are carrying the ball under their armpit. Your baby is on his side or his back and his head -the rugby ball- is between your armpit and your used breast.

Baby’s body is wrapped around your side and back “hidden from the side view.” This particular position is preferred in 3 main cases:

If you have twins  – double football hold

After C-section – no load on your abdomen

Large breasts – you have a good/wide-angle view of your baby’s latch

Important notes

As we said before, your baby’s body is wrapped around your truck but keep his legs away from any solid surface such as the back of the chair or sofa.

That is because the natural baby reflex, called stepping reflex (when his legs step on any solid surface he tends to push himself against that surface) makes the latching process hard and unstable.


The most comfortable position while nursing without thinking is…

3. The Laid Back Nursing Position (it is also called The Biological Nurturing).

Simply, you are lying on your back in a semi-reclined position by using two pillows under your head and neck and your baby is positioned along your body.

In that amazing breastfeeding position, you get the use of gravity to fix your baby while latching without the need of pillows or extra effort to support.

laid-back-nursing-position-picture
Laid Back Position Tutorial
The laid-back nursing position is best for :

Tired and lazy moms 🙂

Breastfeeding at bedtime

If you don’t have any breastfeeding pillows or blankets to use

For moms who are suffering from low breast supply.

HOW?  During this nursing position, your baby’s body is in contact with all your body.  This would stimulate the breast milk let down and makes your baby at the optimum feeling of comfort and security.

Important notes

laid-back-breastfeeding-after-c-section-picture
Laid Back Position Tutorial

It is the most recommended position after birth and within 1 hour.

The biological nurturing helps your baby to self-latch by searching for your dark nipple (and he can smell it, too.)

This position is also suitable for moms after c-section with little modification. Just rotate the baby 90° degrees clockwise or counterclockwise to avoid his load on your abdomen.  Also, you can rotate the baby more than 90° degrees to reach your shoulder.


4. The Side-Lying Nursing Position

side-lying-nursing-illustration-front-view
Side Lying Position Tutorial

Nursing while side lying is another in bed breastfeeding position which is suitable at the end of your day. Both of you are satisfied when it comes to breastfeeding at night where:

Your baby wakes up to get his meal

You stay comfortable and you don’t have to change your position   completely

Important notes

It is suitable if you co-sleep with your baby.

Both of you are on their side, facing each other forming V shape.  Your baby’s head is at the level of your breast the same side of lying and his head is free to turn back.

Once he is latched, keep the tummy to tummy contact using your free hand by pushing his body gently into yours.

Your baby’s hands are hugging your breast during this position.


5. Koala hold or Upright/sitting Nursing Position

In this position, your baby is sitting upright in front of you.  Make sure to support his neck and shoulders with your hand on the same side of your used breast. The other hand is to support your breast to help him latch on properly.

Use this position

When your baby is older than 1 year

If you have a fast/strong milk ejection letdown reflex

If your baby has acid reflux (GERD: gastroesophageal reflux disease)

Or if your baby has problems in swallowing


Click to see the list!

10 Vital Notes on Breastfeeding Positions

1. After birth, your baby must be checked from a professional health care provider (pediatrics or lactation consultant) to check if there are any anomalies within his mouth like tongue tie or cleft palate.  In such conditions, you would be guided to implement special precautions in different location positions.

2. Pick the quietest and the most comfortable room in your house before breastfeeding initiation.  Relaxation has a positive effect on the breast milk supply.

3. Apply breast massage before latching to enhance the blood circulation within your mammary glands (breast milk factories).

4. Before each latching and within any nursing position, ensure that your baby is widely opening his mouth before breast insertion. This wide mouth opening looks like he is yawning. Once he does, take the opportunity and insert your nipple deeply into his mouth.

the wide-mouth-opening-while-baby-latching-picture
Tips for correct latch

5. It is highly recommended to shift between different nursing positions until both of you are satisfied.

6. Each situation has its own position as we mentioned earlier, and don’t forget that your baby has its own preferences regarding the nursing positions. Keep watching your baby while breastfeeding to understand his own language.

7. Always support your head, neck, and shoulders using pillows to avoid back pain.  And remember that any type of pain would put you under stress which decreases your milk supply.

signs-of-correct-baby-latch-during-breastfeeding-picture
Tips for correct latch

8. During breastfeeding, make sure your baby’s nose is free and you can pass one finger between his nose and your breast. It is a healthy sign of good latching.

9. Another healthy sign of good breastfeeding position is when your baby’s chin is immersed in your breast.

10. Burping your baby after each feeding would enhance your breast milk supply. By doing that, you move out the entrapped gases and air in your baby’s stomach which means less colic and more breast milk instead.

Signs that you are using a suitable nursing position:

Your baby is gaining weight properly

No sustained breast/nipple pain after each feeding (mild pain is accepted).

No milk leakage during feeding which guarantees tight seal between his mouth and your breast.

You can hear the swallowing sound during latching.

Your nipple after feeding is round with the same dark brown color.


I hope you enjoyed this very informative guest post from www.breastfeedo.com!  Make sure to check out their website for more great infographics and visual tutorials.  And don’t forget to follow Breastfeedo on Pinterest!
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