Breastfeeding Positions: Images, Tips and Instructions

8 Best Breastfeeding Positions with Pictures

You’re about to be introduced to the most useful breastfeeding positions for different and common scenarios a mom and her newborn may find themselves in.

Each position will include in-depth how-tos, instructions and additional helpful tips. 

Breastfeeding positions cheat sheet in colors pink and gray, labeled with each position next to the image.

This post may contain affiliate links. Full disclosures here.

4 Breastfeeding Positions Lying Down:

If you’re looking for positions that could slow down a fast letdown, lying down breastfeeding positions are your best option.

1. Laid Back Breastfeeding Position

Illustration of mom in laid back breastfeeding hold.

The benefits of laid back breastfeeding are many, but one of the most practical benefits – is that it helps slow down a fast flow. It also encourages skin to skin contact, which is beneficial to the bonding experience with your baby and can hormonally help with milk supply.

There is also proof that laid back breastfeeding, which uses gravity, helps your baby to latch which can help eliminate sore nipples.

To perform side lying position, lie back and position baby’s stomach against your stomach making sure baby’s airways are free from obstructions.

2. Side Lying Breastfeeding Position

Illustration of mom doing the side-lying breastfeeding position.

Another popular breastfeeding position lying down is the side lying position. Side lying position is beneficial for many reasons, one perfect example is how convenient it is for breastfeeding at night. 

However, you may ask, is side lying breastfeeding safe? 

Side lying breastfeeding can be perfectly safe if performed following The American Academy of Pedestrians safe sleep guidelines.

This means, after a feeding is finished in this position, both mom and baby should return to their separate sleep environments.

Mothers who have had a C-section may also find side lying position beneficial for them as it keeps baby off of her wounds.

How to do side lying breastfeeding position: 

  • Lie comfortably on your side with the support of pillows (between your knees, behind your back and under your head). A pregnancy pillow works great for this! Get one $50 OFF with code LOVEOURLITTLES at this Mother’s Lounge online store.
  • Baby also lays on their side facing you. Their bottom arm can be placed under your bottom breast and their top arm resting on top of your breast.
  • Baby’s face is inline with your breast and mouth is level with your nipple.
  • To keep baby from rolling back, you can place a pillow or rolled towel behind their back.
  • If baby’s head is lower than your breast, place a folded blanket or towel under their head to raise it up a bit.

3. Inverted Side Lying Position 

Illustration of mom in the inverted side-lying breastfeeding position

Inverted side lying breastfeeding position, also know as upside down position, provides similar benefits as traditional side lying position.

Instead of baby’s feet pointing towards your feet, they are instead pointing in the direction of your head or the top of the bed.

This is another great option for co-sleeping moms or babies delivered by cesarean.

PSSST… Hey mama, here is your solution to avoiding potential breastfeeding problems that can cause serious complications. It’s just a simple online breastfeeding course you can make sure to have access to anytime you need it. Here’s where you can secure it for yourself. 

4. Side Lying Cradle Position 

Illustration of mom in the side-lying cradle breastfeeding position.

  • Lie back in a relaxed position.
  • Position your lower body to one side with your weight on on the bottom hip.
  • Bring your baby to your breast, cradle them with your forearm.
  • Baby’s stomach is against your stomach.
  • Use the opposite hand to guide your breast into baby’s mouth.

How to Burp Baby in Side Lying Position

Not ready to get up just yet?

No problem!

You can still burp baby after feeding from a side lying position and here’s how!

While laying on your side, gently drape baby over your hip and have baby facing your back. Gently pat baby’s back until they release a sweet little belch.

Breastfeeding truly is a technical art with an emotional component. Back in the day, women would learn how to breastfeed by watching their mothers, sister and aunts perform it regularly.

These days things are a little different.

4 Upright Breastfeeding Positions:

Upright breastfeeding positions are probably the most commonly recognized holds. Some of them can be beneficial for babies who suffer from prominent gas or reflux.

1. Koala Hold

Illustration on mom using the koala hold breastfeeding position with her newborn.

Koala hold breastfeeding position, also known as the Australian hold, may be a new one for you. This way of breastfeeding vertically may look a little awkward, but anything can be perfected with practice.

If you’re looking for the best breastfeeding position to reduce/avoid gas, this is a great option!

  • Sitting in an upright position, your baby faces you and straddles your thigh or hip.
  • Baby’s head and spine remain upright and vertical while he or she nurses.
  • Support baby with the hand on the same side baby is feeding, while the opposite hand supports your breast.

2. Cross Cradle Position 

Illustration of mom breastfeeding using the Cross cradle hold position.

The biggest benefit of cross cradle hold is that it gives you maximum control over baby’s head position and latch. This is also a great position for newborns and preterm babies who need extra support.

It also really helps to engage both mom and baby during the whole process of latching as they are both learning.

How to hold baby cross cradle:

  • Start out in an upright and supported position with pillows to assist as needed.
  • Baby lies with their body facing yours supported with pillows or a nursing pillow, here’s one you can get for free using the code LOVEOURLITTLES. 
  • Baby’s arms should be spread wide around your chest.
  • Baby is looking up towards your face.
  • You will hold the breast in a “u” hold with the same hand on the same side baby is nursing on.
  • Your opposite hand will be supporting baby neck.

3. Cradle Hold Breastfeeding Position

Illustration of mom using the cradle hold breastfeeding position.

Cradle hold is a very common breastfeeding position, it tends to be very comfortable for most moms and baby. The main benefit of cradle hold is the ability to guide your breast to baby’s mouth.

To get your baby to latch in cradle hold, use the opposite hand of the arm baby is not lying in to guide your breast to baby’s mouth.

Sometimes it helps to sandwich the breast in a “u” hold so baby can more easily take the nipple.

  • Sit upright with a lap pillow for support.
  • Baby lays facing you across the front of your body supported by the nook of your arm and a nursing pillow (FREE with code LOVEOURLITTLES
  • Baby is looking up at your face.
  • Use the opposite hand to guide your breast into baby’s mouth.

4. Football Breastfeeding Position

Illustration of mom doing the football hold while breastfeeding with a boppy pillow.

If you’re looking for twin breastfeeding positions, football hold is a perfect option.

Here is a Youtube video on how to do football position breastfeeding with a Boppy or nursing pillow.

  • While seated, place your baby on a nursing pillow alongside your forearm with their feet at your side.
  • Roll baby towards your body so their tummy is as close to yours as possible.
  • Bring baby as close as possible.
  • Their bottom should be crook of your arm and legs tucked under your arm.
  • Your forearm should be under baby’s back for support and the same hand under their head.
  • Bring baby to your breast, nose to nipple.

Before you go, you may want to have this baby care bundle with practical printables to help you with your breastfeeding journey.  This sweet bundle includes a baby feeding log, breastfeeding positions cheat sheet, baby habits tracker, pumping log, pumping signs and so much more!

Concluding Best Breastfeeding Positions

You just learned about 8 different, but practical breastfeeding positions you can use for different needs throughout your entire breastfeeding journey.

Each breastfeeding position serves a different purpose. Most importantly, through exploring different positions, you will find what position you and your baby prefer.

Related Breastfeeding Reading:



Breastfeeding Positions and Hold with Pictures and Tips