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Feeding positions

Cross cradle hold

Cross cradle hold

This position is useful when you are just learning

  1. Use your fingers under the baby’s head so his head and the weight of his head are supported, but make sure his head is free to tilt back through the gap between your finger and thumb
  2. The palm of your hand supports your baby’s shoulders and you can press on his shoulders to bring him into the breast when ready
  3. Your forearm can tuck the rest of the baby’s body close to you. Most mums use their other hand to support their breast while the baby attaches

When you are sure that the baby is attached and suckling well, you can bring that hand and arm around the baby too.

Cradle hold

Cradle hold

The position most mums use instinctively

Your hand needs to be supporting your baby’s shoulders and he is free to tilt his head back out over your wrist. Baby’s head needs to be free to tilt back.

Lying down hold

Lying down hold

Useful if you have:
 - Painful stitches or haemorrhoids
 - Had a caesarean section
 - Also helpful if you are tired, and need to feed and rest, but make sure it is safe for your baby if you were to fall asleep while feeding.

  1. You need to lie on your side with your head on the pillows and your shoulders on the mattress
  2. Bend your legs slightly, but not enough for your baby’s legs to touch your thighs
  3. Your baby should be on his side facing you with his nose opposite your nipple. Make sure none of your arm is pressing on the back or top of his head. His head must be free to tilt back
  4. You need to press on your baby’s shoulders with your upper hand (or sometimes the fingertips of your lower hand) to bring him to the breast when he is ready

'Laid back' and 'natural' positions

The 'laid back' and 'natural' positions

Another way to enable your baby to be able to access the breast is to place baby on your body and allow her to self attach. You need to be reclining so that your baby feels secure. You may need to support baby and/or your breast.

Positioning yourself and your baby in this way can help gently encourage skin to skin and body contact, and to enjoy a special closeness without either feeling any pressure to “get on with” feeding. Instead, this position encourages your baby to use natural reflex behaviour to help them to find your breast and feed effectively when ready.

Please click here for NHS Choices support

Underarm/rugby ball hold

Underarm/rugby ball hold

Very helpful if you have:
 - A small or pre-term baby
 - A caesarean section
 - Large breasts or inverted nipples
 

  1. The baby is usually held on a pillow, just under breast height, turned slightly towards you
  2. It is very important that the baby is held very close to your side but is not able to touch anything; otherwise he will push with his legs and come too far forward
  3. Hold your baby’s head in the same way as in the cross cradle hold
  4. When the baby feels your nipple against his nose, his head will be free to tip back between your finger and thumb as you press his shoulders in towards your breast