Breastfeeding positions: The best positions for feeding your baby

For many mums, breastfeeding can initially be quite difficult to master, so it’s important to try out different positions to see which is most comfortable for you and your baby.

A large part of breastfeeding successfully rests on the position that you hold your baby and how comfortable you both are. Your baby needs to latch on properly, taking a large mouthful of your breast in order for the milk to flow properly and to ensure you’re not in pain. Being comfortable without having to move their head, and having their body lined up straight is really important to ensuring they can do this.

There are several different ways to hold your baby while nursing them, so try them out and see what works best for you. Don’t be discouraged if it feels difficult to start off with, it will get easier with practise and you should get to a point where you can even breastfeed in public easily and discreetly.

If you’re struggling to get your baby to latch on properly ask your health visitor for help and they can go through some different positions with you.

Breastfeeding tips

Whatever position you try, there are certain golden rules that you need to remember to ensure that your baby is safe and comfortable:

  • Always draw your baby close to your breast so that they can easily latch on to you, don’t bend down to them
  • Check that their ear, shoulder and hip are all in a straight line, they should never be twisted or bent round
  • Make sure they are facing your nipple without having to turn their head or twist round
  • Your body always needs to be supported, you shouldn’t be hunching forward or balancing. Make sure you have pillows behind your back and supporting your arms under your baby to make sure you aren’t bending towards them
  • As your breasts get bigger it may be helpful to support your breasts as you nurse. A ‘C-hold’ is the right position to support them, with four fingers on the under side of the breast and your thumb on top
  • Keep water and some snacks near you. Being hydrated helps you produce milk and once you’re comfortable with your baby it will be difficult to move if you get thirsty!
  • Some mums say varying their position is helpful as it stops one breast becoming too sore and decreases the chances of blocked nipple ducts
  • Breastfeeding positions

    Laid back relaxing

    If you’re feeding in bed or laid back on a reclining chair you can relax and tuck your baby close to your front. With your body leant backwards, your baby’s body should be laid across your front, ensuring their ear, shoulder and hip are in a straight line and mouth is facing your nipple. Their body should be supported by your body. You can use pillows to keep your back and sides supported and pop one under your baby to keep them supported too.

    Laid on your side

    Try lying on your side in bed. Tuck some pillows behind your back to support you. You could put some underneath your shoulder or head and even in-between your bent knees so you’re comfortable. With your baby lying on the bed facing you, draw them close underneath one of your breasts and support their head. Your baby shouldn’t have to strain to reach your nipple, so they may need a small pillow underneath them to lift them to the right place.

    Sitting in a chair

    Sitting up in a well supporting chair, cradle your baby across your front making sure their head and neck are supported in the crook of your arm. This is the most common position for mothers when breastfeeding.

    Under arm

    Pop some cushions at your side so that your baby can lie on them, looking up at you with their feet pointing behind you. Support their back and head with your right arm if they are feeding on your right breast and vice versa. As always make sure their body isn’t twisted and their nose and your nipple are in line. This is a particularly good position for twins as you can have a baby on each breast.

    Have you ever tried these breastfeeding positions? Let us know in the comments below