Breastfeeding positions and making a good latch

In order for successful breastfeeding, it is important to find a comfortable position and have a good latch.

Your first step to a successful breastfeeding experience is finding the breastfeeding position that is best for you and your baby. Second is establishing a good latch. Here are some tips as you begin your breastfeeding experience.

 Find a comfortable breastfeeding position

  • You can breastfeed sitting in a chair, on the couch or in bed. Use a position comfortable for you and your baby.
  • Hold your baby close to your body. This helps them to feel safe and secure, and reminds him or her of what to do at your breast.
  • Try different ways to hold your baby. It takes a little time to figure out what works well and what doesn’t.
  • Your baby, held skin-to-skin against your bare chest, may move to your breast, find your nipple and “latch on.”

There are several positions you can use as described below: 

Cradle hold

Rest your baby’s head on your forearm. Arrange him or her on their side, with their whole body facing you and pulled in close.

Cross-cradle or transitional hold

Arrange your baby on their side, with their whole body facing you and pulled in close. Run your hand up their back and support their head, neck and shoulders with your hand.

Football or clutch hold

Tuck your baby under your arm at your side, with their bottom resting on your forearm.

Side-lying hold

You and baby lie on your sides, close and facing one another.

Make a good latch:

A good latch is important for your baby’s feeding and for your comfort. If your baby does not “latch on” to your breast correctly, it will be harder for them to feed and it could also be painful for you.

  • Aim your baby’s nose to your nipple, with their head tilted slightly back.
  • Tickle your baby’s upper lip with your nipple to get their mouth to open wide.
  • Help your baby onto the breast, their chin and lower lip first.
  • Your baby’s mouth should cover your entire nipple and some of the areola (darker skin around the nipple).

All of these breastfeeding positions and latches can be seen on the Michigan State University Extension’s Breastfeeding Mother to Mother website at http://www.bfi.fcs.msue.msu.edu/.

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