Trying Out the 6 Most Popular Nursing Positions for Moms and Babies

Breastfeeding Awareness Week will soon come to an end (it spans from August 1 to 7), however many moms will tell you that there is no end to the many misconceptions surrounding nursing. Akin to moms and babies, the way you breastfeed (or choose not to) is very personal and unique. Add to the fact this  survey from UC Davis Medical Center, which found that roughly 92-percent of the new mothers struggled with problems breastfeeding in the days following birth.

Obviously, there is no one-way suits all position to nurse, which is why most lactation consultants and post-natal professionals will recommend trying out several common breastfeeding positions to see what works best, and feels most natural and supportive, for you and for your baby…you’re a team after all!

1. Cradle Nursing

No, this most popular nursing position doesn’t have you feeding baby from his or her cradle. Instead, the cradle breastfeeding position has you seated comfortably so you can bring your baby to your breast to suckle while supporting his or her head with your forearm.

Baby’s body can be supported comfortably either by a folded blanket or propped up with a nursing pillow.


2. Saddle Hold Nursing

If you’re out and about with baby, you will find the saddle hold breastfeeding technique useful. You won’t even have to remove baby from his or her carrier.

This position also offers a great option for older babies as long as baby is seated facing you at direct nipple height. You can use a support (i.e., pillow or bolster) to give baby a slight boost to nipple level, if need be.


3. Cross-Cradle Nursing calls the cross-cradle nursing position a helpful technique for babies that are having difficulty latching. This is because this technique offers some gentle guidance when it comes to the proper positioning for latching.

Using a pillow or folded blanket to support baby’s body (similar to the cradle position), you can switch up your support arm and use your opposite hand to guide baby to breast.


4. Laid Back Nursing

The laid back, or what some lactation professionals refer to as the “biological” breastfeeding position has mom literally laying back in a chair so that the natural curvature of the spine against a comfy chair supports your back.

Your body and breasts will curve inward and your lower torso upward to support baby naturally, with no nursing props required for extra support. This “laid back” positioning encourages skin-to-skin contact for you and baby, as well as a deep latch thanks to the affects of gravity.


5. Football Positioning

The football or “clutch” nursing technique is popular for more than a few reasons. For instance, if you’re feeding twins, this position offers adaptability for tandem breastfeeding. Women with flat nipples and/or large breasts also often find this position more comfortable.

Also, if you’re recovering from a C-section birth, this nursing positioning will keep baby from placing pressure on your incision (abdomen) by tucking baby under your arm and bringing him or her to your breast using the help of a nursing pillow.


6. Side-Lying Breastfeeding

Side-lying nursing, or what some post-natal professionals refer to as reclined nursing position, has you and baby lying side by side facing one another as you nurse. I can’t tell you the benefits of this position for middle of the night feedings when you and baby are still a bit groggy.

With this side-lying positioning, you may find a nursing pillow comfortable to support your baby near your breast. However, if your more comfortable using your forearm as a sturdy prop, it will work just as well as a pillow.






Emily Lockhart

Emily Lockhart is a certified yoga instructor and personal trainer. She believes that being healthy is a lifestyle choice, not a punishment or temporary fix to attain a desired fitness or body image goal. Anna helps her clients take responsibility for their own health and wellness through her classes and articles on ActiveBeat.