baby breastfeeding

How to breastfeed

Breastfeeding takes practice. It takes time to work out which feeding and burping positions feel best. There aren’t 'correct' positions – it's about what feels most comfortable for you both, so try them all out to see which feels best.

Breastfeeding positions

Before you breastfeed your baby, have a drink beside you – something thirst quenching like a big glass of water. There are a few different breastfeeding positions you can try, these are 3 of the most popular:

Cradle hold

This is the probably the most popular breastfeeding position. However, if you've had a caesarean, this may be uncomfortable as your baby lies across your tummy near the scar (try lying on your side or the rugby hold instead). For the cradle hold, sit in a comfy chair with arm rests, or a bed with cushions or pillows around you.

Positioning:

  1. Lie your baby across your lap, facing you.

  2. Place your baby's head on your forearm – nose towards your nipple. Your hand should support the length of their body.

  3. Place your baby's lower arm under yours.

  4. Check to make sure your baby's ear, shoulder and hip are in a straight line.

If you're sitting on a chair, rest your feet on a stool or small table – this will stop you from leaning forward which can make your back ache.

Lying on your side

This is a good position if you've had a caesarean or difficult delivery, or if you're breastfeeding in the middle of the night.

Positioning:

  1. Start by getting comfy lying on your side. Your baby lies facing you, so you are tummy to tummy. Check to make sure your baby's ear, shoulder and hip are in a straight line – not twisted.

  2. Put some cushions or pillows behind you for support. A rolled up baby blanket placed behind your baby will help support them. If you've got a pillow under your head, make sure it's not too close to your baby's head or face.

  3. Tuck the arm you're lying on under your head or pillow (ensuring your baby's position isn't altered by the pillow) and use your free arm to support and guide your baby's head to your breast.

Rugby hold (or the ‘clutch’)

The rugby hold is a good position for twins as you can feed them at the same time, as well as caesarean babies as there's no pressure on the tummy and scar area.

Positioning

  1. Sit in a chair with a cushion or pillow along your side.

  2. Position your baby at your side (the side you want to feed from), under your arm, with their hips close to your hips.

  3. Your baby's nose should be level with your nipple.

  4. Support your baby's neck with the palm of your hand.

  5. Gently guide them to your nipple.

c4l-promo.png

Sign up now for our pregnancy, baby and toddler guide

Get personalised emails for trusted NHS advice, videos and tips on your pregnancy week by week, birth and parenthood.

Get weekly emails

Back to top