How to Hold Baby While Breastfeeding

Find out how to do five common breastfeeding positions.


Nursing sessions can last 30 to 40 minutes. So, your comfort is key. Try these basic holds to decide which works best for you, but feel free to shift your arms, legs, and posture until you feel relaxed. For each position, make sure your baby's head is titled back with her chin pressed into your breast and her nose free. The cross cradle hold is often the easiest for new moms because it lets you clearly see your baby's mouth, so you know if you need tweaks. In this position, you'll support your baby with the arm opposite to the breast on which she's feeding. Lay your baby on her side and run your forearm along her spine, holding the base of her head with your hand. To do the cradle position, sit in a chair and hold your baby with her neck on your forearm. Nuzzle her body close to yours with the same arm. Use a pillow or rolled up receiving blanket to support your arm or back if necessary. For the football position, place your baby on a pillow and hold her with her chest against your side and her legs behind you. If you're nursing on your right breast, hug your baby to your body with your right arm and support her head with your hand. This position may be difficult for women with a long torso or small breasts. If you prefer to nurse lying down, lie on your side with your knees bent. If it feels better to straighten your legs, place a pillow behind your back to help you stay up. Lay your baby down with her belly against yours, and rest her neck on your bottom arm. A baby who has reflux may prefer a straddling pose because being vertical helps keep food down. This may also be a good position if you have a very fast milk flow, though it can be difficult for moms new to nursing. Lean back and hold your baby so her belly touches yours and her legs straddle your body. Support the base of her head with whichever hand feels comfortable. If you don't feel comfortable when you're breastfeeding or have other concerns, consider contacting a board-certified lactation consultant for help. Go to to find one in your area.

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