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Breastfeeding Your Baby: Breastfeeding Positions infographic. 

Breastfeeding Your Baby (Text Version)

Breast milk is nature’s perfect baby food. Your milk has just the right nutrients, in just the right amounts, to nourish your baby fully. It also helps your baby’s mind and body grow. Breastfeeding is a good choice for both you and your baby.

Cradle Hold
Sit up as straight as you can and cradle your baby in the crook of your arm. The baby’s body should be turned toward you and the baby’s belly should be against yours. Support the baby’s head in the bend of your elbow so that the baby is facing your breast.
[A woman breastfeeds her baby in the cradle hold position.]

Cross-Cradle Hold
As in the cradle hold, nuzzle your baby’s belly against yours. Hold the baby in the arm opposite the breast you are using to nurse. For instance, if the baby is nursing from your right breast, hold the baby with your left arm. Place the baby’s bottom in the crook of your left arm and support the baby’s head and neck with your left hand. This position gives you more control of the baby’s head. It’s a good position for a newborn who is having trouble nursing.
[A woman breastfeeds her baby in the cross-cradle hold position.]

Football Hold
Tuck your baby under your arm like a football. Hold the baby at your side, level with your waist, so the baby is facing you. Support the baby’s back with your upper arm and hold the baby’s head level with your breast.
[A woman breastfeeds her baby in the football hold position.]

Side-Lying Position
Lie on your side and nestle your baby next to you. Place your fingers beneath your breast and lift it up to help your baby reach your nipple. Rest your head on your lower arm. You may want to tuck a pillow behind your back to help hold yourself up. This position is good for night feedings. It’s also good for women who had a cesarean birth because it keeps the baby’s weight off your abdomen and incision.
[A woman breastfeeds her baby in the side-lying position.]

Helpful Hints

  • Cup your breast in your hand and stroke your baby’s lower lip with your nipple. This stimulates the baby’s instinct to turn toward the nipple, open his or her mouth, and suck.

  • When the baby opens his or her mouth wide, pull the baby close to you and aim the nipple toward the roof of the baby’s mouth.

  • Bring your baby to your breast, not your breast to your baby.

  • Use pillows or folded blankets to help support the baby.

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PFSI027: This information is designed as an educational aid to patients and sets forth current information and opinions related to women’s health. It is not intended as a statement of the standard of care, nor does it comprise all proper treatments or methods of care. It is not a substitute for a treating clinician’s independent professional judgment. For ACOG’s complete disclaimer, visit

Copyright December 2020 by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, posted on the internet, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission from the publisher.