Before we start with our 7 top breastfeeding positions and how you can try them out for yourself, we want to say there’s no right or wrong here. Just what’s right for you and your baby. You’ve got this.
Breastfeeding is something that you and your new bundle of joy will be learning together.
You’re not meant to automatically know what to do, so trying different breastfeeding positions is just about experimenting until you find something that works for you both.
So, we polled the mamas of Peanut and gathered 7 of the best tried-and-tested breastfeeding positions that you can try with your little one.
It’s up to you to find a breastfeeding position you’re comfortable with.
As long as you and your baby are comfortable, and your baby is latching on with ease, you’re all good.
In this article: 📝
- Why is breastfeeding positioning important?
- 7 different breastfeeding positions to try
- Is there a wrong position to breastfeed?
- What position is best for breastfeeding?
- More on breastfeeding positions
- Getting help with breastfeeding positions
Why is breastfeeding positioning important?
If you choose to breastfeed, finding the right breastfeeding position that works for you and baby is fundamental.
Whether you have one go-to breastfeeding position or a few nursing positions is totally up to you.
So why is breastfeeding positioning so important?
[Well, it comes down to helping baby latch and stay latched to your nipple, while keeping them supported, and trying to reduce the amount of air they’re gulping down, all without making you feel uncomfortable. After all, for a newborn, each breastfeeding session could last up to 45 minutes, so you want everyone to be comfortable with your breastfeeding position of choice.](https://www.peanut-app.io/experts/breastfeeding)
7 different breastfeeding positions to try
We asked our mamas of Peanut which breastfeeding positions they recommend so you can choose one (or a few) that work for you.
So get comfy and give these 7 different breastfeeding positions a go:
1. Laid-back breastfeeding position
Also called the “reclined position” or “biological nursing”, the laid-back breastfeeding position is one of the best breastfeeding positions for newborns and new mamas.
You recline comfortably, propping yourself up with pillows, while your baby lies on their front on your chest.
From this breastfeeding position, your little one can use their instincts to explore the area, find your breast, and latch on, with you gently assisting as needed.
2. Cradle hold breastfeeding position
This is one of the best-known breastfeeding holds.
You sit upright, ideally with your back supported, and hold your baby on their side, facing toward you, using the arm nearest to the breast that baby will be nursing from.
So their head is in the crook of your arm and your hand supports their bottom.
You can then bring their mouth to your breast and encourage them to latch on.
3. Cross-cradle hold breastfeeding position
The cross-cradle hold is a variation on the classic cradle hold breastfeeding position, which may provide more support for your baby as they feed.
Similarly, you sit upright and hold the baby on their side, but this time you use the arm on the opposite side to the breast that baby will be nursing from.
So, your hand supports your baby’s head as they lie, and you can use your other hand to support your breast.
4. Football hold breastfeeding position
With the football hold nursing position (AKA the “underarm” or “clutch” hold), you are sitting up with your baby lying along your forearm and tucked down by your side, probably supported by a cushion.
The breastfeeding football hold is fantastic for preemies, after a c-section, or if you have large breasts.
And if you’ve been wondering how to breastfeed twins, here’s your answer.
Just tuck one under each arm and you’re good to go, supermama.
5. Side-lying breastfeeding position
Breastfeeding positions lying down are great for night-time feeds, letting you get more rest while your little one suckles.
With the side-lying breastfeeding position, you and your baby both lie on your sides facing each other.
You may want to prop your baby up with a pillow or folded blanket to make sure they’re comfortably in reach of your breast.
If you’re looking to try side-lying breastfeeding a newborn, it can be great if you have lots of milk, to help baby better drink as much as they want to.
Side-lying breastfeeding is safe for newborns, as long as you keep baby fully supported throughout.
6. Upright breastfeeding positions
When your baby is a little older and they can hold their head up on their own, you might want to experiment with upright breastfeeding positions.
Upright breastfeeding, sometimes called the “koala” breastfeeding position (cute!), means you and your baby are both sitting up, with your little one straddling your thigh or held on your hip.
If you want to try upright breastfeeding positions with a newborn, it may be best to wait until they can hold their head up properly.
7. Breastfeeding sling
You might be looking for types of breastfeeding positions that will help you keep active, particularly if you have other children to run after.
If that’s you, why not have a go at breastfeeding in a sling?
This can take a little practice to get right, and generally works better with older babies, but the effort is well worth it if you want to find a nursing position while you’re out and about.
Is there a wrong position to breastfeed?
There aren’t any “wrong” breastfeeding positions as such, more like breastfeeding techniques that may not work well for your baby, or may encourage breastfeeding habits that might make it harder for you and baby.
However, wrong breastfeeding positions for newborns are any that require baby to hold their head up or rely on their own strength to hold themselves in the right position ‒ at such an early age, baby’s not able to do these things.
While you’re trying to find the breastfeeding positions that work for you and baby, try to avoid:
- Leaning forward to put your breast in baby’s mouth ‒ you want to encourage them to decide when they eat.
- Breastfeeding in a position that causes you pain ‒ whether it’s back pain, arm pain, cramps, or nipple pain, you can find a breastfeeding position that works for you.
Apart from that, there are no “wrong” breastfeeding positions. You do you, mama.
What position is best for breastfeeding?
Just as there are no “wrong” breastfeeding positions, there is no single “best” breastfeeding position.
Each mama, each baby, each breast, and each feeding is unique.
However, some breastfeeding positions can be beneficial for specific circumstances.
Breastfeeding positions for reflux
Let’s start with some acid reflux breastfeeding positions to help ease baby’s discomfort.
It’ll be no surprise that upright breastfeeding positions for reflux can help babies who have acid reflux.
So an upright breastfeeding position (or koala breastfeeding hold) is the one to try if you think baby might have reflux.
Breastfeeding positions to reduce gas
If baby’s gulping air while they’re breastfeeding (keen little peanut!), that can lead to extra gas and some discomfort in baby’s tummy.
The best breastfeeding position to reduce gas according to our mamas of Peanut is the laid-back breastfeeding position.
That way, baby won’t have to suck too vigorously to get the milk they need.
Regular burping while breastfeeding can also help.
Is the laid-back breastfeeding position not working for you? Try an upright breastfeeding position instead.
Easy breastfeeding positions for large breasts
Mamas with larger breasts may find breastfeeding difficult ‒ you don’t want to cause any harm to baby and you also don’t want to be uncomfortable yourself.
Our mamas on Peanut recommend the cradle hold and football hold breastfeeding positions for mamas with larger breasts.
Another hot tip? Use pillows underneath your breast to lift it up.
Breastfeeding positions for older babies
Older babies can be more flexible when it comes to breastfeeding positions.
Now that they can hold their head up and control their movements more, they can dictate how they’re held, at least some of the time.
One of the favorite breastfeeding positions for older babies with our mamas on Peanut is using a breastfeeding sling ‒ so you can get other things done!
What position is best for twin babies who breastfeed at the same time?
Twin breastfeeding positions can range from breastfeeding holds for both babies at the same time, or switching nursing positions between babies.
One of the most popular breastfeeding twins positions is the football hold breastfeeding position ‒ all you need to do is tuck each baby under your arm.
As an added bonus, the breastfeeding football hold is also great for newborns, so if you have newborn twins, this might just be the breastfeeding position for you!
More on breastfeeding positions
We get it ‒ breastfeeding is such a vast topic, so it’s only natural for you to have more questions.
We’ve got you, mama.
How many minutes should you breastfeed for?
For newborns, nursing for 10-20 minutes on each breast per feeding is considered the norm, so it could take between 20-40 minutes per session.
As baby gets older and more used to breastfeeding, they’ll get quicker at feeding, so it could take as little as 5 minutes per feed or as much as 20 minutes per feed.
When can I start side-lying breastfeeding?
The side-lying breastfeeding position can be used for newborn babies, even for their very first feed.
Just be sure to keep baby supported, as they can’t lift their head just yet.
Do you burp baby after side-lying breastfeeding?
Yes, you should burp baby after each feed, to avoid any uncomfortable gas building up.
What is sideline feeding?
Sideline feeding is another term for side-lying breastfeeding.
When can I stop holding baby upright after feeding?
It’s good breastfeeding practice to hold baby upright for about 10-30 minutes after feeding, just in case baby spits up.
You can stop holding baby upright after feeding once they start eating solid foods.
But usually, by that time, they’ll be eating less frequently, and they’ll be fully awake for it.
Think about it: if you laid down straight after eating, you might be feeling pretty sick, too.
Is it OK to recline while breastfeeding?
Yes, you can lay back while breastfeeding ‒ in fact, the laid-back breastfeeding position is one of the more popular nursing positions!
Just make sure you and baby are supported throughout.
How can I comfortably breastfeed in bed?
The laid-back breastfeeding position is great for breastfeeding in bed, but the key is not to breastfeed while lying flat on your back, as baby may not be in a decent position for support and latching.
Getting help with breastfeeding positions
We all know that breastfeeding isn’t as straightforward as it looks.
If you’re struggling - or your mind is full of unanswered questions - why not reach out to an experienced mama on Peanut, or join one of our lactation consultant groups?
Many women take some time to find the right breastfeeding positions and get used to this whole breastfeeding thing, but getting the right support can make all the difference.
You’re doing great, mama.
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