Breastfeeding: Proper Latching Technique and Positions for Feeding Your Baby

If you are struggling with latching techniques while you are still in the hospital, contact your nurse for help.  Some hospitals even have lactation consultants that can assist you with breastfeeding.  After you are discharged, if you are experiencing latching issues contact a lactation consultant or your local La Leche League.

Positions for Feeding Your Baby

Positioning your baby properly will help allow your baby to properly latch on the breast.  Your baby will spend 15 to 20 minutes at the breast eating, so it is important that mom is comfortable and relaxed.  There are several ways to position your baby at the breast and its best to experiment to determine which position is most comfortable for you and your baby.

  • Cradle hold – This is probably the easiest and most natural position that is used for breastfeeding.  Hold your baby and support the babies head in the crease of your arm closest to your breast.  This position is great for skin to skin contact as your abdomen touch.   The only downfall to this nursing position, it is often hard to control or watch how your baby is latching on.  If you struggle with latching issues, try this position again once the latching issues have been resolved.
  • Cross-Cradle hold – This position is similar to the cradle hold; however, it gives mother’s more control over baby’s latch.  You place your hand on the back of your baby’s head, this will allow you to support their neck.  The baby will lay across your arm and your baby’s bottom will gently rest in the crevice of your arm.
  • Football hold – This position allows you to hold your baby to the side of your body.  You will hold the back of your baby’s head for support and tuck their legs behind you.  Use a pillow, boppy or my breast friend to help support your arm.  This position allows mom’s the greatest control over seeing the breast and is perfect for mom’s who have had a c-section.
  • Side-laying – This is position is great for those middle of the night feedings.  Lay side ways and support your head using a pillow.  Then turn your baby on his or her side and slide their feet toward your body.  Guide your baby towards the best.  Remember, the baby needs to latch on properly.  If you have trouble getting your baby to latch properly, try getting your baby to open their mouth wide and gently pull their shoulders towards you.  You can support your baby with your arm or a towel so that baby is even with your breast.

What was your favorite position to nurse your baby?