A New Mother's Guide to Breastfeeding/What is the best way to breastfeed my baby?

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Most Common Baby Holding Positions

Cradle Hold

Cradle Hold.jpg
  • Sit in a comfortable chair, with arm rests if possible.
  • Place your baby on your abdomen, tummy-to-tummy.
  • The baby's head is cradled in the crook of your arm and the face to your breast.
  • The baby's knees are underneath your other breast. *The infant's head, back, and legs should all be in a straight line.
  • This position can be held for the entire duration of the feeding.
  • If you feel your nipple starting to hurt half-way into the feeding, check to see if your baby has slipped down and if the knees are starting to face the ceiling instead of being tucked in next to your side.

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To see a video demonstration of the CRADLE HOLD click here -->[1]

Clutch Hold (or Football Hold)

Football Hold.jpg
  • Cradle the back of your baby's head in your hand, with the body under your breast and toward the elbow.
  • Place a pillow under your elbow to help you support your baby's bottom.
  • Use your other hand to support your breast.
  • This position allows you to control the baby's head and assures good positioning to latch on.

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To see a video demonstration of the CLUTCH HOLD (or FOOTBALL HOLD) click here -->[2]

Cross-Cradle Hold

Cross Crade Hold.jpg
  • Hold your baby along the opposite arm from the breast you are using.
  • Support the baby's head with the palm of your hand at the base of his/her head.
  • This position in is to use with premature babies or babies who are having trouble latching on.

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To see a video demonstration of the CROSS-CRADLE HOLD)click here -->[3]

Side Lying

Side Lying Hold.jpg
  • Lie on your side with one arm supporting your head.
  • Your baby can lie beside you with the head facing your breast.
  • Pull the baby in snugly and place a pillow behind to support the infant.

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To see a video demonstration of the SIDE LYING HOLD)click here -->[4]

Establishing a Good Latch-On

  • Start with his nose opposite your nipple.
  • Stimulate baby's lip with the tip of your nipple.
  • Be patient and wait until she opens her mouth very wide.
  • Move him or her to your breast, don’t move your breast to him. ( Note: The baby's chin should reach your breast first.)
  • The nose and chin should be close to the breast but not pushed into the breast. More of the top of the areola will be showing and less of the bottom.
  • The baby’s lips should make a seal around the breast and his mouth will look a little bit like a fish with the lips rolled outward and visible. You can help adjust his lips by pulling gently on the skin by his nose and chin in order to help the lips make a seal.
Proper breastfeeding position and latch-on.jpg


(2010, November 12). Cradlehold [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/user/vibekesmy#p/u/6/BV7OxKKIt2U

(2010, November 12). Cross-cradlehold [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/user/vibekesmy#p/u/5/y_IxoK4ou7s

Davidson, M., London, M., & Ladewig, P. (2008). Newborn Nutrition. In Maura Conner (Ed.), Olds' maternal-newborn nursing & women's health across the lifespan (8th ed., Rev., pp. 890-927). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.

(2010, November 12). Football hold [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/user/vibekesmy#p/u/3/ZpfjonoAeRs

(2010, November 12). Side lying [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/user/vibekesmy#p/u/4/1gD3ZM2iPsw

U.S. Department Of Health And Human Services Office On Women's Health (2006, September). An easy guide to breastfeeding. Retrieved November 1, 2010, from http://purl.access.gpo.gov/GPO/LPS60089