Different Positions for Breastfeeding – Everything You Need to Know

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Different Positions for Breastfeeding – Everything You Need to Know

Happy Baby, Happy Mum: The Importance of Breastfeeding Positioning and Attachment

Breastfeeding is an opportunity to provide biological nurturing, for a mother to bond with her baby while providing essential nutrition and antibodies. It can also be a challenging and uncomfortable experience for both mother and child.

Different positions for breastfeeding can offer a more comfortable experience for both mother and child, as well as help to improve milk flow and make the most of the precious time spent together.

This article will cover the different positions for breastfeeding, the pros and cons of each position, tips for finding the right one for you, commonly used breastfeeding positions and how to make breastfeeding easier with positioning.

Laid-back breastfeeding or reclined position

The laid-back position, also known as the reclined position, is when the mother and baby are both reclining. The mother will lie down on her back with pillows supporting her neck, shoulders, or head and the baby will be placed on her stomach.

She will use one of her hands to hold her breast and the baby, while the other hand supports the baby’s neck. This position helps to keep the back straight, encourages easier breathing, and helps relax the mother.

It can also help with milk flow since gravity is working in favour of the mother. This position can help create a more intimate bonding experience between the mother and baby.

The laid-back breastfeeding position is a great option for mothers who are recovering from a cesarean section or have back pain. It can also be beneficial for mothers who are breastfeeding twins, as it allows them to feed both babies at the same time.

Additionally, this position can be used for mothers who are breastfeeding in public, as it is discreet and comfortable.

position for breastfeeding newborn - Lotus Medics
It is important to hold your baby in a comfortable position whilst breastfeeding

Cradle hold

The cradle hold is one of the most natural breastfeeding positions for mothers, as it mirrors how small babies typically feed on the breast at an early age. The mother’s arm forms a 90-degree angle from her side, and she will support the baby’s head with her arm.

Her other hand will support the baby’s body and help to keep her womb elevated and close to the mother’s body. The cradle hold is ideal for newborns and can be used with breastfed babies and formula-fed babies alike.

When using the cradle hold, it is important to ensure that the baby’s head is in a comfortable position and that the baby’s chin is tucked into the mother’s breast. This will help to ensure that the baby is able to latch on properly and feed effectively.

Additionally, the mother should make sure that her arm is supporting the baby’s head and body in a way that is comfortable for both her and the baby.

breastfeeding positioning - Lotus Medics
It is important to find a breastfeeding position that you and your baby for long-term success.

Cross-cradle hold

The Cross-cradle hold is similar to the cradle hold, but in this position, the mother switches arms to hold the baby each feeding. This helps prevent fatigue in one arm and makes the position more comfortable for the mother.

In this position, the baby’s chin should be tucked close to the mother’s breast, allowing for a good latch. She will place her opposite arm along her waist or hip to help support her back and aid in preventing any discomfort during nursing.

different positions for breastfeeding - Lotus Medics
The cross hold offers a safe secure way to hold a baby, giving you more control.

Rugby ball hold

The rugby ball hold is an ideal position for moms who have had cesareans or any other abdominal surgery, as it eliminates any strain on the healing area. It is especially helpful for mothers who are breastfeeding twins or triplets or have larger breasts.

The rugby ball hold involves the mom sitting upright in a chair with a pillow or rolled towel behind her back to support it.

The baby is placed in a reclining position across her thighs, with her chin closest to the mom’s body. The mom will support the head, neck, and back with one arm while holding the baby on one hip.

different breast feeding positions - Lotus Medics
A rugby ball position is usually more comfortable with a younger baby than with an older baby

Side-lying Position

This position involves nursing while lying on your side. It is an ideal position for mothers who are exhausted or too tired to fully sit up. It is also helpful for those who are in bed with their baby.

The mother will place one pillow at her back, then lean her head on another pillow that has been adjusted in front of her face. With one arm supporting the baby’s back and shoulders, she turns her body towards him so he can latch onto her breast.

breastfeeding positioning - Lotus Medics
Side laying can be helpful when the baby needs a feed whilst sleeping.

Straddle hold

Holding the baby in a more upright position either with them sitting on your lap or with their legs on either side of your leg. Some babies prefer to be held upright. Useful in cases of fast milk flow and for older babies who like to look around

breastfeeding attachment - Lotus Medics
Straddle holding is another way to feed your baby they prefer latching in this position.

Pros and Cons of Different Breastfeeding Positions

Each breastfeeding position has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Each one may be beneficial or uncomfortable depending on your individual needs. It’s best to experiment with each one to decide which one works best for you.

The cradle hold and cross-cradle hold are very convenient because they can be used anywhere, however, they are more challenging in terms of positioning since both hands are needed to support the baby, and you will not have a free hand.

The reclined position allows for more milk flow and makes it easier for mother and baby to bond, but it may not be as easy for some mothers to maneuver in a reclining position.

The rugby ball hold is ideal for larger breasts or mothers with abdominal surgery. But it can be hard to maneuver when you have multiple babies or when your breasts are larger than usual.

The side-lying position is great if you are too tired to sit up or if you had a c section. However, it can put more strain on your back if not done correctly.

Tips for Finding the Right Position for Nursing

When finding a comfortable breastfeeding position, it is important to keep in mind your physical safety and comfort as well as that of your baby.

Here are some tips for finding the right breastfeeding position for you:

  • Choose a comfortable place with plenty of support for your back and legs.
  • Practice different positions with your baby until you find one that works best for you.
  • Check for good latching and support for your baby’s head, neck and body.
  • Be mindful of your back posture when sitting in chairs or reclining.
  • Use pillows or bolsters to provide extra support if needed.
  • Consider nursing while lying down if you are exhausted.

Lotus Medics can help you

If you are struggling with spotting between periods, please contact us at Lotus Medics for more information. If you would like to book an appointment at our Orange, Parkes or Bathurst practices, please contact us via telephone at 1300 3LOTUS (1300 356887) or email us at info@lotusmedics.com.au to set up your appointment.

To book an appointment online, please complete your contact details via our online form.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you require more information on breastfeeding positioning, please read our most frequently asked questions.

What positions are good for breastfeeding and the baby’s head?

The best positions for breastfeeding, ensure a safe position for the baby’s head it the cradle hold, football hold, side-lying position and reclining positions.

How can I get my baby to latch deeper?

Make sure you and your baby are in a comfortable position. If you are uncomfortable, your baby will be too and it will be harder for them to latch correctly.

Is it safe to breastfeed a newborn while lying down?

It is safe to breastfeed a newborn while lying down. However, it is important to make sure that the baby is properly latched on and that the mother is comfortable and supported. It is also important to make sure the baby’s airway is unobstructed.

What is a bad breastfeeding position?

A bad breastfeeding position is any position that is uncomfortable for the mother or baby. For example, a position that does not allow the baby to latch on properly or that causes the baby to choke or gag on the breast milk.

What does an incorrect latching in breastfeeding result in?

An incorrect latching in breastfeeding can result in difficulty with milk transfer, poor milk supply, sore nipples, and/or poor infant weight gain. Fortunately, there are a few breastfeeding positions you can try.

PLEASE NOTE: This information is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment. It is aimed at presenting a perspective only and is not a substitute for a prescription. Anyone experiencing a medical condition should consult their doctor.

Dr Sachin Kotasthane


Dr Sachin Kotasthane

Dr Sachin Kotasthane is an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist who has been part of the medical community in Orange since 2013. After training in the UK in a variety of specialised skills like Advanced laparoscopy, Urogynaecology, Pelvic ultrasound and Menopause management, and working as a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist in Glasgow, he emigrated to Orange with his young family to settle in the Australian countryside.



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