Breastfeeding positions

When it comes to breastfeeding positions, being comfortable and being able to get your baby to take the breast easily are what really matter.

Finding a position you are happy with will make it easier for you to latch your baby on to your breast. Whatever position you choose, make sure that your baby is able to tip their head back slightly as they feed.

Cradle hold

Sit up in bed or in a comfortable chair that supports your back. Keep your knees slightly higher than your hips and use a footstool if necessary.

  • You can use pillows to support your baby at breast height, lying on their side, with the baby’s head comfortably in the bend of your elbow.
  • Once your baby is positioned correctly, hold your breast with four fingers underneath, thumb resting lightly on top.
  • Tickle your baby’s lips with your nipple, wait for them to open wide (like a yawn) and then bring the baby quickly to your breast.
  • The baby needs to take the nipple and some of the areola into their mouth. (The areola is the darker skin around the nipple).
  • Never attempt latch-on with your baby’s mouth half open.
  • Your baby’s chin should touch the breast.
  • Avoid pushing on the back of your baby’s head. Instead bring their whole body towards you. Don’t lean forwards to the baby.
  • If there are more than a few moments of discomfort, or if suction is concentrated only on the nipple, break the suction gently with your finger, try to re-position and latch-on again.
  • Don’t get discouraged if several attempts are necessary. This is a normal part of the nursing process.

    Under arm/football ball hold

    The under arm hold is a good choice if your breasts are very large, if you’ve had a caesarean delivery or if you have twins.
  • Sit up, putting a pillow at your side to support your arm.
  • Lay your baby on their back, supporting the back of their head with your hand and their body with your forearm.
  • Position your baby’s feet so that they are tucked under your arm and their knees are directly under your armpit. For tiny babies, it may be necessary to use a pillow to bring your baby closer to your breast.
  • Bring your baby’s mouth towards your nipple.
  • Hold your breast with four fingers underneath, thumb resting lightly on top.
  • Stroke your baby’s lower lip with your nipple.
  • When your baby opens wide like a yawn, bring them quickly to your breast.
  • Side-lying position

    The side-lying position allows you to lie down while breastfeeding.

  • Lying comfortably on your side, place a supportive pillow firmly behind your back.
  • Position another pillow between your legs, with your flexed upper knee resting on the pillow.
  • Place your baby next to you, tummy-to-tummy so that their mouth is level with your nipple.
  • Support your breast with the opposite hand to assist with latch-on.
  • Stroke your baby’s lower lip with your nipple.
  • When they open wide like a yawn, bring the baby quickly to your breast.

  • Please be aware that the information given in these articles is only intended as general advice and should in no way be taken as a substitute for professional medical advice. If you or your family or your child is suffering from symptoms or conditions which are severe or persistent or you need specific medical advice, please seek professional medical assistance. Philips AVENT cannot be held responsible for any damages that result from the use of the information provided on this website.

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