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Common Breastfeeding Positions

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mother breastfeeding her baby


The most important thing to consider when you breastfeed is comfort - yours and the baby's.

Trying different positions, and changing when you need to, can help make the whole process easier and more successful.

Get ready for breastfeeding by sitting in a comfortable chair with armrests. Use as many pillows as you need to support your arms and back. Support your feet on a footstool (or anything that raises your feet and is comfortable), especially in the early weeks.

Watch a video on common breastfeeding positions.A pillow on your lap can help bring your baby up to breast height so you don't have to hunch.

You may also want a glass of water, juice or milk on a table beside you. Some moms include this with their breastfeeding routine as a reminder to drink enough fluids.

Here's a brief description of some common positions for breastfeeding.

Modified Cradle Position
modified cradle position

The cross cradle hold, or modified cradle hold, is where you hold your baby in the crook of the arm opposite the breast you’re feeding from (left arm for right breast and right arm for left breast).

Your hand supports the base of your baby's head, neck and shoulders. Use the other hand to support your breast with the fingers underneith and thumb on top, well back from the areola. Your baby is facing you - tummy to tummy.

A pillow can help keep your baby's body close to your breast. This position is useful when you and your baby are learning to breastfeed.


Football Hold
football hold

The underarm (or football) position is where your baby is facing you with his legs tucked under your arm. You support his head with your thumb and index finger behind his ears and his body with your arm. Your breast is supported with your other hand.

This positon may be helpful if you had a caesarean birth or are breastfeeding twins. Using a pillow helps to bring the baby up to the height of your breast.


Cradle Position
cradle position

In the cradle position your baby lies across your lap facing you - baby's tummy to your tummy.

Your baby's head will be resting on your forearm and his back along your arm. Use pillows to lift your baby up to the level of your nipple. This positon is often most useful for an older baby who is breastfeeding well.



The side-lying position can take more time to master, but allows you to rest while your baby is breastfeeding. You and your baby lie on your sides facing each other. Your baby can be cradled with your arm along his back.

Keep trying different positions

There's no single "right" position for breastfeeding. Experiment to find out what works best for you and your baby. Try different positions and change things up if you encounter any issues.

Click here to find translated versions of this article in Chinese and Punjabi

Resources & Links:
Breast-Feeding Positions

VIDEO: Admission to Postpartum - Keeping Your Baby Skin-to-Skin
VIDEO: Baby's Feeding Cues and Behaviours
VIDEO: Breastfeeding Positions
VIDEO: Cup Feeding and Other Feeding Methods
VIDEO: Hand Expressing Milk
VIDEO: Latching Your Baby

Last Updated: August 11, 2013