Start your breastfeeding off right with helpful information from non-profit Best for Babes.

Best Positions For Nursing

iStockphoto/Goldmund Lukic

Sometimes things come easily.  Sometimes they don’t.  And breastfeeding can just be one of those trial and error situations.  You have to figure out what position works best for you and your baby.  Luckily, you’ve got several options!

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Cradle Hold (shown above)
This is the most popular hold. Put your baby against your stomach, so that you’re belly-to-belly. His head rests in the crook of your elbow. Have his ear, shoulder and hip in a straight line. This works well once breastfeeding is well-established.

Cross-Cradle Hold
This is similar to the cradle hold, except that you hold the baby with the opposite arm.  For example, if the baby is feeding on the right breast, you put the baby’s bottom near your left elbow and hold the baby’s head with your left hand.  Your right hand can help him latch on properly.  This is good for newborns.

iStockphoto/Maxim Tupikov

Side-Lying Hold (pictured left)
This is great if you’re really tired as you can do it in bed. You and baby lie on your sides, facing one another. You support the baby either in the crook of your bottom arm or let him rest on the bed.

Football Hold
This one is a little more advanced. You hold your baby at your side, under your arm (instead of across your body). Hold the base of his head in your hand and put your fingers behind his ears.  His legs wrap around your side, and point behind you.

No matter what position you use, it’s critical that the baby latches on properly. Encourage the baby to open his mouth wide and aim your nipple slightly towards the roof of his mouth. His lips should be flanged, or sort of folded back, around your areola. The latch should not hurt, and if it does, get some guidance from a lactation consultant.

What else can help make breastfeeding a little more comfortable? You might consider buying a glider, or rocking chair. The back and forth motion can soothe your baby… and even you, for that matter. When you’re in a chair, it’s also good to prop your feet up on an ottoman or foot stool, for better posture. Also for your posture, a nursing pillow can help you keep your baby close to your breast, so you aren’t hunched over. It also takes a little bit of the weight off your hands… just remember, you still have to hold onto the baby.

As your baby gets bigger, you’ll find certain positions are more comfortable. Soon enough, you’ll be a pro. Remember, practice makes perfect.

(Click here for illustrations.)

About Andi

Andi Silverman is the author of "Mama Knows Breast: A Beginner's Guide to Breastfeeding." She is also a digital marketing consultant for Nosy Crow, a children's book and app publisher. Andi blogs at and can be found on Twitter @AndiSilverman.

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