Making the decision to breastfeed your baby is a big one. You’ll be spending a lot of time feeding, pumping, and making sure your baby is getting enough milk. So whether you’re a first-time momma researching about breastfeeding, or a veteran momma who’s looking for a little help to make it a bit easier, then you’ve come to the right place. Today, we’re dishing out ten (yes, ten!) different breastfeeding positions you can try out to see which one works best for you and your baby.
P.S. – Remember, there is no one right way of feeding. Whatever makes you and baby most comfortable is usually what does the trick. Happy feeding!
Also known as the biological nurturing position, this position is usually one of the first positions you’ll try as a breastfeeding mom. You’ll probably first try it in the hospital, when the nurse or doctor puts your baby on your chest or stomach area to breastfeed. Your baby will naturally seek your breasts and try to latch. A tip to make this position more comfortable is to recline only slightly, using pillows behind your back for support. Doing a heavy recline will put more strain on your muscles.
If you’ve had a C-section operation, then laid-back will probably be a position you won’t be trying anytime soon (because you can’t put your baby on your stomach area because of your wound). But don’t worry, there’s a breastfeeding position just for you! Instead of placing your baby on your stomach, you can lay him or her horizontally across your shoulders and/or chest. If that doesn’t work for you, you can also try out the side-lying position too (see below).
This position is probably the most well-known one, and is usually what we picture when we think of breastfeeding. This position involves you sitting upright, holding your baby to your stomach (take note that baby is usually on his/her side), and supporting your baby’s head and neck with your arm. You can also do this with a pillow or cushion at your back, and a breastfeeding pillow on your lap for full support.
This one is very similar to the cradle position, but uses the opposite arm to support baby’s head and neck. This position is great for newborns or those babies who have a hard time latching, as it gives you more flexibility in terms of positioning, allows tilting before the actual latch, and you can even have the freedom to move your hand to squeeze or shape your breast while feeding.
The clutch hold is also known by many other names: football, rugby, and underarm–but they all generally have the same position. You, sitting upright, with your baby tucked by your side, along your arm (just like a football!), with his or her feet facing the direction of your chair or back support. You can use a breastfeeding pillow or even a soft cushion to support your baby too. This position is great because it gives you an unobstructed view of baby’s face. And if you’ve had a C-section, stays clear of your stomach wound.
The double clutch also goes by double football or double rugby, is one of the easiest positions for breastfeeding twins. Basically the clutch position, but instead of happening on one side, it’s happening on both sides. You’ll probably need a breastfeeding pillow or cushion to support the weight of both babies, but this is one of the simpler positions for twins as it allows more flexibility for your hands. So if you’re looking at tandem feeding, this one just might work for you!
This position is ideal for nighttime feeding, if you want to relax or rest, or also if you’ve had a C-section. Both you and baby are lying on your sides, stomach to stomach, or chest to chest, while your baby latches on to your breast. Ideally, you want to do this on your bed or a comfy couch or sofa, but anywhere you can lie down too is fine.
The upright position, also called the koala hold, has your baby sitting upright, straddling your lap or leg (thigh), facing and feeding from your breast. Baby’s spine is straight, head is upright, and the position kind of looks like a baby koala bear hugging his mom (probably where the other name comes from!). This position is usually used with older babies who can hold themselves upright, but can also be used with newborns, as long as they’re given full support.
This position puts baby on his or her back, with you crouching on all fours, and dangling your breast in front of baby. Now we’ll be the first to admit that this isn’t the most comfortable of positions, but some moms claim that it helps when they have mastitis and don’t want their breasts to be touched or squashed, or even when they have blocked milk ducts, saying that the position and gravity helps (although there hasn’t been enough research to prove this yet). So if you’re up for this position, why not try it? Just make sure to have enough cushions or pillows for support.
This position can be used for babies who have trouble latching. Cup the underside of your breast–your hand should be making a U-shape, with your thumb on one side of your breast, and the rest of your fingers on the other side. Once you’ve made the U-shape, remove your thumb and index finger (while still keeping the remaining three fingers on your breast). Your baby’s jaw should be resting on your thumb and index finger while he or she feeds. Essentially, you’re guiding your baby, and helping him or her latch, giving support to your breast and your child.
At the end of the day, there may be a lot breastfeeding positions, and none that work for you. Perhaps you’ve found or invented your own position even. What really matters most is that the two of you are comfortable, and that of course, your baby is getting fed. Which positions from this list have you tried? Are there other positions that you’ve used that aren’t on this list? Let us know in the comments below!
- Baby Center Staff. “Positions and Tips for Making Breastfeeding Work.” Baby Center. Date accessed January 17, 2019.
- Baby Centre Staff. “Good Positions for Breastfeeding.” Baby Centre. Last updated September 2018.
- Howland, Genevieve. “Breastfeeding Positions: Have You Tried Them All?” Mama Natural. Last updated January 3, 2019.
- Medela Staff. “11 Breastfeeding Positions.” Your Breastfeeding Journey. Date accessed January 17, 2019.