Positions for Breastfeeding Your Baby

The Cradle Hold

Mom breastfeeding in cradle hold
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The cradle hold is one of the most frequently seen breastfeeding positions for babies. It is great because it allows mom to hold the baby closely and support their little bodies, particularly when they are newborns and not quite able to hold themselves up in any way.

The Cross Cradle Hold

Cross Cradle Breastfeeding Hold
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I really like the cross cradle hold. I found it easier to hold the baby and manage my breast as I was learning to nurse. The baby is in the same position as the cradle hold, but here you can use your hands more effectively to help steer the baby's head, while the other hand maneuvers the breast. The forearm is used to support the baby's body.

So, if you're feeding from the right breast, your right hand manages the breast while the left hand holds the back of the baby's head and the left arm supports the baby.

The Football Hold

Football Hold for Breastfeeding
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The football hold is a great position if you really need to see the breast. It works well for large breasted mothers as well as mothers who need to avoid the baby being on their abdomen, such as after a c-section.

Be sure to use pillows with this position so that you can be sure that the baby is well supported. If the baby is longer than the space you have between you and where you are sitting, bend the legs upward, so that their bottom is against the back of the chair or bed. This prevents you from leaning out.

With this position you can also use the other hand to help better position the baby's mouth or your breast. It gives you a great look at the breast while nursing, so works well if you're having latch issues.

Side Lying Position

Mom and baby doing side-lying breastfeeding
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The side lying position is great for sleeping or resting with baby or after a cesarean section. Many moms really like this relaxing position for nursing. It can take a bit to figure out and may work better once your baby has the hang of breastfeeding.

Saddle Hold

The Saddle Hold is a fun way to easily nurse babies who are sitting up. It also works well if your baby has a runny nose or a sore ear.

Twin Cradle Hold

Nursing twins can be done, this position was one of my favorite positions early on because of the ease of watching them both nurse. This is simply a doubled variation on the tradition cradle hold. Using a nursing pillow can be very helpful when nursing twins, particularly when they are small.

Twin Cross Cradle Hold

Nursing Six Month Old Twins in the Football Hold
Photo © D Vargas

Cross cradle can also be done with twins, but it takes a bit more dexterity. This is something you can try by adding one baby at a time. This makes getting into the position easier, particularly if you have help.

Twin Football Hold

Breastfeeding Twins
Photo © Bryan Mullennix

This works well for tiny twins, or if you're recovering from abdominal surgery. Having a hard surface behind you is best for this position, like the back of the bed or headboard. This gives you the support you need to make this position work. It can also be done on a couch or chair, assuming the seat portion is long enough. Many moms like this because they can see each baby's latch.

Twin Saddle Hold

Mom breastfeeding twins in a saddle hold
Photo © Moment Open/Getty Images

This is great for bigger twins who are sitting up. This can also be good if one or both of your babies has an ear ache or congestion. Also feel free to do one in football hold and one in the cradle, or however you feel the most comfortable.

Laid Back Breastfeeding

Mom and baby doing side-lying breastfeeding
Photo © Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

This position is one that many moms might not think of because it's not one you see in public often. Basically, you lean back a bit, resting on your bed, or pillows. and have the baby nurse facing you, legs down towards your legs. This allows for good visualization of the baby, but also it is very relaxing.

Any of these positions can be used with nursing covers, but first it's important to get the hang of breastfeeding.

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