Baby's First Year · Breastfeeding

Positioning of baby: A key to successful breastfeeding

baby breastfeeding

Proper positioning of your baby is one of the keys to breastfeeding success. A good position can prevent many breastfeeding problems such as sore nipples and low breast milk supply.

There are many different breastfeeding positions to try and some may work better for you depending on your baby’s size, your breast size and shape and if you had a caesarean birth. Experiment with different positions until you feel comfortable.

Start in a relaxed and comfortable position that is not painful for you (i.e. you may be recovering from an episiotomy or caesarean birth). Make sure your arms/wrists and back are well supported (can use a pillow, rolled-up blanket or towel). Your feet should be flat on the floor or supported by a footstool/ large book (except in the side-lying position) and your legs relaxed.

Some of the more common breastfeeding positions are:

  • Cross-cradle
  • Cradle
  • Football
  • Side-lying

Cross cradle works well if you:

  • are learning to breastfeed
  • have a small baby

Cradle works well:

  • after you and your baby are comfortable with breastfeeding

Football works well if you:

  • are learning to breastfeed
  • have difficulty maintaining a latch
  • have a small baby
  • have large breasts
  • have flat or sore nipples
  • had a Caesarean birth

Side-lying works well if you:

  • find it too painful to sit
  • want to rest when you breastfeed
  • have large breasts
  • had a Caesarean birth

Any position that is comfortable for you and your baby and allows for your baby to suck and swallow well is a good position.

Video: Breastfeeding Position (04:14). Reproduced by permission of Healthy Families BC

For help with breastfeeding, visit one of our breastfeeding clinics for support or connect with a Public Health Nurse at 416-338-7600 or eChat

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