Skip to content

Health & Baby

Font Size

Breast-Feeding Positions - Topic Overview

Breast-feeding in the proper position will help your baby latch on and breast-feed correctly and make your experience more enjoyable. Also, when you are in a comfortable and relaxed position, let-down occurs more easily.

You are more likely to drain all areas of your breast by changing breast-feeding positions frequently. This helps to prevent blocked milk ducts. Women who have had a cesarean delivery may find that they are more comfortable in a different position than those who delivered vaginally.

In any position:

  • Do not bend over your baby when breast-feeding. Bring the baby to you—not you to the baby. Bending over can lead to back and neck problems.
  • Keep your baby's body and head aligned straight. The baby's head should be straight with the body, not turned to one side or tilted up or down while breast-feeding.
  • Use one or more pillows to support your arms and the baby. This will help you and your baby be more comfortable during feeding.

There are several breast-feeding positions.

Cradle hold

In the cradle (traditional) hold camera.gif, you sit up with your back supported. One arm supports your baby, with his or her head in the bend of your elbow and your open hand supporting the baby's bottom. Your baby's abdomen lies against yours. Your other hand can support the breast and guide it into your baby's mouth.

You may wish to put a pillow in your lap on which to rest your arm at a comfortable level or use a stool to raise your feet.

The cradle hold is often considered the most common hold, but it does not offer as much control as other holds. The cradle hold position usually does work well after breast-feeding is well established.

Cross-cradle hold

The cross-cradle hold camera.gif is similar to the cradle hold, but the hand positions are different. This position may give you more control in moving the baby. Your baby's abdomen lies against yours. One hand is low on the baby's head, behind the shoulders with fingers up and supporting the head. The other hand (on the same side as the breast being used) supports the breast and narrows it to help the baby form a good, deep latch on the areola. This type of hold helps you guide your baby to the breast for a proper latch.

Football hold

In the football hold camera.gif, you sit on a bed or sofa. Your baby is tucked under your arm and lying along the side you will be feeding on, with his or her chest facing your chest. The baby's head is in your hand (on the same side as the breast being used), and the upper body is supported by your arm or a pillow. With that hand you can control the baby's head to bring the baby's mouth in quickly for a deep latch. Your other hand reaches across to support and narrow your breast. Use pillows to help support the baby.

The football hold is similar to the cross-cradle hold. But because the baby is not resting on the abdomen, the football position is useful for women who delivered by cesarean delivery. It also works well for breast-feeding twins or for babies who have trouble taking enough of the areola (the dark circle around the nipple) into their mouths. Large-breasted women also often find this a comfortable breast-feeding position.

1|2

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 03, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Breast-Feeding Positions Topics

Today on WebMD

mother on phone holding baby
When you should call 911.
Mother with baby
Unexpected ways your life will change.
 
baby acne
What’s normal – and what’s not.
baby asleep on moms shoulder
Help your baby get the sleep he needs.
 

mother holding baby at night
ARTICLE
mother with sick child
QUIZ
 
baby with pacifier
VIDEO
Track Your Babys Vaccines
TOOL
 
Baby Napping 10 Dos And Donts
Slideshow
Woman holding feet up to camera
Article
 
Father kissing newborn baby
Article
baby gear slideshow
Slideshow