Best Breast/Chest-feeding Positions

February 1, 2023 Women

There is no right or wrong breast/chest-feeding position. However, there may be positions that are right or wrong for you and your baby. The best position is one that helps you get a good latch. A good latch should be comfortable for mom and allow baby to suck and nurse well.
Use The Following Tips for All Breast/Chest-feeding Positions:
Find a relaxed position that you can stay in for a while. Use pillows to support your back and arms and to bring baby up to reach your breast/chest.

Support your legs by using a footstool, coffee table or a few books.

You may need help to position your baby and to help you place pillows for support, especially if you have had a C-section.

If it hurts to latch baby on, gently remove your baby from the breast/chest and TRY AGAIN.

Breast/Chest-feeding Holds


This position is also called the underarm hold or clutch hold. It is a common position used for newborns and is usually used only until a baby is latching on well. For this position, baby is supported by a pillow and tucked in on the same side that you are nursing on. With the baby facing you, place their body under your arm and cradle their head with your hand. Baby should be at breast/chest height.

Use your free hand to support your breast.


This position is for newborns and is used only until your baby has learned to latch on correctly. It was developed to give additional support to “wobbly headed” newborns and allows mom complete control during feeding. In this position, the mother feeding her baby on the left breast would use her left hand to support her breast, and her right arm and hand to support the baby. Your baby is supported on a pillow across your lap to help raise them to your nipple level.

This is a great position for moms who:


The cradle position is sometimes not used until after the first few weeks of breast/chest-feeding is complete. This is because a 2 to 4 week old baby is better able to aim and control their head and neck, allowing them to latch on easier. In this position, baby lies on their side, tummy against mom’s tummy, supported by her left arm while they nurse on the left breast. The mother may put her right hand under baby’s bottom, or use it to support or adjust their head. The baby’s head needs to be able to tip back so they can open their mouth wide. You will need to bring the baby up to the breast/chest from underneath.

This is a great position for moms who:


This position is for newborns and older babies. It’s the easiest position for many moms. It’s also a favorite because it allows mom to rest during feeding. With mom lying on her side and baby lying on their side facing her, she can position one hand behind baby’s back and bottom to bring them in close.

The baby’s nose needs to be at nipple level so that as mom draws the baby to her by exerting pressure on their back, baby tips their head back as they latch on. Use pillows behind your back and behind or between your knees to get comfortable.

This is a great position for moms who:

With time, patience, and practice, you and your baby can find a comfortable position that works best for the two of you. If you have questions or concerns about feeding your baby, contact WIC – they are there to help and support you!

Side-Lying Hold

  1. For the right breast, lie on your right side with your baby facing you.
  2. Pull your baby close. Your baby’s mouth should be level with your nipple.
  3. In this position, you can cradle your baby’s back with your left arm and support yourself with your right arm and/or pillows.
  4. Keep loose clothing and bedding away from your baby.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Cross-Cradle Hold

  1. For the right breast, use your left arm to hold your baby’s head at your right breast and baby’s body toward your left side. A pillow across your lap can help support your left arm.
  2. Gently place your left hand behind your baby’s ears and neck, with your thumb and index finger behind each ear and your palm between baby’s shoulder blades. Turn your baby’s body toward yours so your tummies are touching.
  3. Hold your breast as if you are squeezing a sandwich. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Instead, bring your baby to you.
  4. As your baby’s mouth opens, push gently with your left palm on baby’s head to help them latch on. Make sure you keep your fingers out of the way.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Clutch or “Football” Hold

  1. For the right breast, hold your baby level, facing up, at your right side.
  2. Put your baby’s head near your right nipple and support their back and legs under your right arm.
  3. Hold the base of your baby’s head with your right palm. A pillow underneath your right arm can help support your baby’s weight.
  4. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Bring baby to you instead.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Cradle Hold

  1. For the right breast, cradle your baby with your right arm. Your baby will be on their left side across your lap, facing you at nipple level.
  2. Your baby’s head will rest on your right forearm with your baby’s back along your inner arm and palm.
  3. Turn your baby’s tummy toward your tummy. Your left hand is free to support your breast, if needed. Pillows can help support your arm and elbow.
  4. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Instead, bring your baby to you.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Laid-Back Hold

  1. Lean back on a pillow with your baby’s tummy touching yours and their head at breast level. Some moms find that sitting up nearly straight works well. Others prefer to lean back and lie almost flat.
  2. You can place your baby’s cheek near your breast, or you may want to use one hand to hold your breast near your baby. It’s up to you and what you think feels best.
  3. Your baby will naturally find your nipple, latch, and begin to suckle.

This hold is useful when: