Here are the best breastfeeding positions for easy, breezy, effortless nursing and comfort. Yes, it can be easy, enjoyable, and an amazing experience for you and Baby!
One thing to remember is that you and Baby will figure out what works best for the both of you. One or more of these breastfeeding positions may work and none of them may work – you could come up with your own way of nursing and it could be something totally different or a combo of what you’ll read about here.
I touch on the most common breastfeeding positions and I also talk about how to position yourself and Baby after a C-section.
You’ll also want to remember to relax, be easy with yourself, and don’t take this too seriously – stressing out can ruin a good thing.
Remember: the best breastfeeding positions are the ones that work for you. You might discover a new position or a combination of these work well – and that’s fine!
Test, try things out, and be confident that you WILL figure this out, mama!
Prepare for Success (And Thirst…And Hunger…And Marathon Feeding…)
No one really tells you the finer points of breastfeeding, which is why I’m here! And I’m telling you that you’ll probably want to prep for your nursing sessions and maybe even establish some rituals.
Early on, you’ll be feeding Baby every 2-3 hours – sometimes for a few minutes, sometimes longer…it depends on Baby’s needs – and once you have the hang of things and Baby is a little older, you’ll be out-and-about.
The best breastfeeding positions are complemented by good preparation.
So smart moms plan ahead and have on hand portable snacks, water, and reading materials. When you get a routine down, you can be a little more flexible and grab what you want right before you nurse.
You’ll also want to consider nursing aids like the nursing pillow on the right or a baby sling if you’ll be out and about with your little one (I plan on picking up this one for me!)
With my first child, I loved my Boppy! It had a light blue velour cover, which was so soft and cozy, and it really helped me support him and prevented me from getting too tired from supporting him all by myself.
Biological Nurturing Laid-Back Breastfeeding Position
If you’ve read my story, you know that my breastfeeding experience with my first little one was a BIG challenge. Everything was hard. So I didn’t nurse as long as I would have liked – I just pooped out!
But if I had known about THIS breastfeeding position, things might have turned out differently.
The Biological Nurturing, laid-back breastfeeding position might actually result in your baby latching and nursing just about all by himself!
To Do Laid-Back Breastfeeding When Baby is Ready to Breastfeed:
- Find a comfortable spot where you can sit and recline back – you’re not lying flat, you’re propped up.
- Lie back with baby’s tummy and chest on your tummy and chest (skin-to-skin is great, especially if you’ve just given birth!)
- As baby squirms and begins to search for your nipple, you can help him out by moving his body (not his head) or your breast so that his mouth is brought to your nipple.
- Watch in wonder as baby latches on perfectly!
You’ll want to let nature and gravity help you here. Watch this video to see the biological nurturing (laid-back breastfeeding) position in action!
Cradle Hold Breastfeeding Position
This is the traditional breastfeeding position. It’s a fairly intuitive position and is probably the most used. A nursing pillow like the one at left is particularly handy to have because it helps you bring Baby to breast-level.
Once Baby is settled, you can use your free hand to snack, drink, or read.
In this position:
- Support – or cradle – Baby on the arm that’s on the same side you’re using to nurse, supporting his back.
- Use your hand to support his bottom or thigh, which may be less of an issue if you’re using a breastfeeding pillow.
- Tuck his lower arm around you or between the two of you to keep it out of the way; the top arm remains free to move about.
- Rotate him inward so that he’s facing you; his head, neck, and body are in alignment and his mouth is level with your nipple.
You can see the cradle hold breastfeeding position in action in this video:
Cross-Cradle Hold Breastfeeding Position
The cross-cradle hold breastfeeding position is simply a variation of the cradle hold.
Baby is positioned somewhat like the traditional cradle hold position, but you cross your opposite hand in front of you, over your other arm, supporting Baby’s neck and back with your hand.
It’s a little easier to show a visual example than to explain it.
You can see the cross-cradle hold breastfeeding position in action in this video:
Football Hold Breastfeeding Position – Clutch Hold
You’re probably imagining the football hold breastfeeding position – or clutch hold – to be exactly like it sounds. In this position, you hold Baby how you’d hold something you wanted to hold under your arm (like a football!)
To position Baby, tuck him in alongside you on the side you’ll be using to nurse. His head will be near your breast and your same-side arm will be supporting his upper back, shoulders, neck, and head. His legs will be aimed backward and, if you’re sitting in a chair, angled upward a bit.
Like in any other position, you do not want to lean over Baby to feed, you want to bring him to you. A pillow under Baby – like this one – can help (and does in other positions, as well) and one behind you can support your back.
The football hold breastfeeding position is a good one if you’ve had a C-Section because Baby is off your tummy. It’s also good if you have large breasts, as you have an easier time of seeing Baby and positioning yourself for comfort.
If you have twins, this is a good position to learn as you can feed your babies simultaneously.
In the video below, you’ll see this hold demonstrated:
Reclining Breastfeeding Position (side-lying nursing from top or bottom breast)
The reclining breastfeeding position – or side-lying nursing – is one the best breastfeeding positions for moms who’ve had a cesarean or moms who are just plain wiped out.
For C-Section moms, this hold keeps Baby off your incision and allows you to get comfortable on your side.
And in the early days, being a mom can be exhausting, so it’s nice to have a breastfeeding hold that allows you to fully recline and rest while feeding your little one.
For moms with a fast milk-flow, this position can slow that flow a little.
To get started, lie on your side with your back supported and a pillow under your head – one between your knees can help with comfort, too.
Keep your back and hips in alignment.
With Baby facing you on his side, bring his mouth to your breast, supporting him with your lower arm or by placing a pillow behind him.
You can nurse from either breast in this position and if you want to nurse from your top breast, you can elevate baby with a nursing pillow.
If you’d rather switch sides, you can bring baby close and rotate or sit up and switch to your other side to feed.
In the video below, you can see why this is one of the best breastfeeding positions; it’s versatile, easy to do when your tired or at night, and is very comfortable mom and Baby:
Upright Breastfeeding Positions
Feeding baby upright is one of the best breastfeeding positions because it can be very convenient for moms on-the-go.
There’s not much more technique to feeding your baby upright. Once you have the hang of the previous positions, you implement what you know when Baby is upright, facing you, tummy-to-tummy, legs straddling your leg (this is also known as the straddle breastfeeding position).
To get started, you want to wait until Baby can support his head enough to keep steady with just a bit of support from you.
Baby is already close to you – it’s a cinch to start nursing when you’re already set up to do so. A quick adjustment or two and you’re ready!
Watch the video below to see this position demonstrated:
Finding the Right Position after a C-Section
The important thing about finding the best breastfeeding position after a C-section is that you simply want to find a way to comfortably feed Baby in a way that keeps him off of your incision.
Most moms like the clutch hold or the side-lying hold for this.
However, you can cover your tummy with pillows to protect yourself and you might find that sitting upright or slightly reclining is quite comfortable.
Find a good position before you get started nursing and be sure to ask for help when you need it.
The Best Breastfeeding Positions are the Ones YOU Like!
With a good latch, good milk flow, no restrictive problems, and a growing baby, the best breastfeeding positions are the ones YOU like.
Remember that there’s no one right way to breastfeed. What counts is that your baby is latching correctly, you’re nursing pain-free, you’re both comfortable, and Baby is getting what he needs, which you can determine by keeping an eye on diaper changes. 😉
Let me know in the comments below what your favorite position is or what you’ve learned getting ready to breastfeed.