7 Breastfeeding Positions & How to Try Them

7 Breastfeeding Positions & How to Try Them

Before we dive into our 7 top breastfeeding positions, we want to say there’s no right or wrong here.

Only what’s right for you and your baby. 🤱

Breastfeeding is something that you and your newborn will be learning together.

You’re not expected to automatically know what to do, so use these different breastfeeding positions to experiment until you find something that works for you both.

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.

As long as you and your baby are comfortable, and your baby is latching on with ease, you’re winning.

In this article: 📝

  • Why are breastfeeding positioning and attachment important?
  • 7 different breastfeeding positions to try
  • Is there a wrong position to breastfeed?
  • What position is best for breastfeeding?

Why are breastfeeding positioning and attachment 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. You want to reduce the amount of air they’re gulping down as they suckle and swallow in a way that’s manageable. After all, for a newborn, each breastfeeding session could last up to 45 minutes, so you want to be comfortable with your breastfeeding position of choice.

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Basically, proper nursing positions are essential for good attachment and a successful feed.

But holding baby also

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 sit back (or lie down) and give these 7 different breastfeeding positions a go:

Laid-back breastfeeding position

1. Laid-back breastfeeding position

Also called the “reclined position” or “biological nursing”, the laid-back breastfeeding position is one of the better newborn breastfeeding positions for new mamas:

  • Recline comfortably, propping yourself up with pillows while your baby lies on their front across your chest or tummy
  • From this breastfeeding position, skin-to-skin contact encourages your baby to use their instincts to find your breast and latch on, with you gently assisting as needed

This instinctive little move is called the ‘breast crawl’, and it applies to babies of any age (not just newborns).

The laid-back breastfeeding position is also a good choice if your baby struggles to latch.

It’s great for breastfeeding in bed, but the key is not to breastfeed while lying flat on your back, as your baby may not be in a decent position for support and latching.

Cradle hold breastfeeding position

2. Cradle hold breastfeeding position

This is one of the best-known breastfeeding holds.

  • 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, place their head into the crook of your arm while your hand supports their bottom
  • You can then bring their mouth to your breast and encourage them to latch

You can also use a breastfeeding pillow for extra support, provided it doesn’t lift baby too high.

Cross-cradle hold breastfeeding position

3. Cross-cradle hold breastfeeding position

The cross-cradle hold is a variation of the classic cradle hold breastfeeding position, which may provide even more support for your baby as they feed.

  • Again, sit upright and hold baby on their side facing you
  • This time, use the arm on the opposite side to the breast that they’ll be nursing from to support their body
  • As your hand supports your baby’s head as they lie, you can use your other hand to support your breast

Another great nursing position for babies who struggle to latch.

4. Football hold breastfeeding position

Also known as the underarm or clutch hold, this is the best breastfeeding position for preemies, after a c-section, or if you have large breasts.

Sit up with your baby lying along your forearm and tucked down by your side supported by a cushion.

This is a great nursing position for supporting your baby and helping them feel safe and comfortable.

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. 🦸‍♀️

Side-lying breastfeeding position

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. 🛏

It’s also a great choice if you’re still recovering from a c-section or have bigger breasts:

  • 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.

Upright breastfeeding positions

6. Upright breastfeeding positions

When your baby is a little older and they can hold their head up on their own, you can start 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. 🐨

It is possible to nurse a newborn in this position provided you give them plenty of support but works best for babies who regularly experience reflux or ear infections.

7. Breastfeeding sling

You might be looking for types of breastfeeding positions that will help you stay active, particularly if you have other children to run after. 🏃🏾‍♀️

If that’s you, 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.

Wrong breastfeeding positions for newborns are any that require them to hold their head up or rely on their own strength to hold themselves in the right position—which is just not possible at such an early age.

You should also try to avoid:

  • Leaning forward to put your breast in baby’s mouth: You want to encourage them to decide when they eat and this can lead to poor attachment
  • Breastfeeding in a position that causes you pain: Whether it’s back pain, arm pain, cramps, or nipple pain. To get the most out of nursing, your comfort is crucial

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:

1. 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.

2. 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 on 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.

3. Easy breastfeeding positions for large breasts

Mamas with larger breasts can 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 moms with larger breasts.

Another hot tip? Use a nursing pillow underneath your breast to lift it up.

You can find plenty more tips and position modifications in our guide to breastfeeding with large breasts

4. 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!

5. What position is ideal for feeding twins 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!

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.

We all know that breastfeeding isn’t as straightforward as it looks.

If you’re struggling—or your mind is full of unanswered questions—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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