The cradle hold
The classic breastfeeding position! You might find it useful to have baby propped on pillows especially when they're little. This helps you to sit more comfortably and prevents you from hunching over whole breastfeeding which can be tiring for the next and shoulders. Support the baby with the arm on the SAME side you are feeding on. Make sure baby's entire body turns toward you. His or her pelvis should be up against your abdomen, their chest against your chest, and their mouth lined up with your nipple. Bring your baby's mouth to the nipple (rather than the nipple to his mouth) without making him or her turn their head to the side. It is important for your baby's head to be aligned with the rest of his body instead of turned off to the side.
The cross-cradle hold
A variation on the cradle hold, the cross-cradle or crossover hold involves the same positioning as above, the only major difference is that you support your baby on the arm OPPOSITE the breast being used. In this position, your hand supports your baby's neck and upper back, rather than his bottom, and his bottom rests either in the crook of your arm or on the pillow on your lap. Again, rotate your baby's body so it faces you and his mouth is lined up with your nipple. This is a good position for a baby who has difficulty latching on, because you can more easily guide his head into a better position by holding the back of his neck between your thumb and fingers. You may use your hand to support the breast while helping your baby to latch.
The laid-back position
Laid-back breastfeeding positioning takes advantage of the biologic responses that occur when the baby is skin-to-skin with the mother in a prone position. This position is said to be useful for mothers who have an overactive let-down reflex or an overabundant milk supply. Lie on your side and face your baby toward your breast, supporting him or her with one hand. With the other hand, grasp your breast and touch your nipple to your baby's lips. Once your baby latches on, use one arm to support your own head and the other to help support your baby and bring him or her close.
The rugby ball hold AKA the side-sitting position, football hold, clutch hold
Many breastfeeding women find that the side-sitting hold, also known as a clutch hold or football hold, is an easier position to maintain. It's also great if you're recovering from a C-section as the baby is away from your tummy. It may also be useful for mothers of twins since one baby can nurse on each side. In this hold, your baby is held similarly to how you would hold a handbag clutched under your arm or a football clutched close to your body.
To feed your baby in this position, place him or her beside you—on the side of the breast you will use—with baby's head near your breast. Tuck baby's body up against your side, under your arm. Your forearm should support baby's upper back, and your hand and fingers should support his or her shoulders, neck, and head. Your baby's legs will stretch out straight behind you or, if you are in a chair, you can rest their bottom against the back of the chair and angle their legs straight up. Finally, place a pillow under your elbow for support, keep your baby's head level with your breast.
Reclining or lying down
You may find that feeding your baby in a reclining position, rather than sitting, allows for some much needed relaxation. Nursing while lying down helps particularly if you have had a cesarean delivery or otherwise feel tired or unwell in the days post birth. Lie on your side with one or more pillows behind your back and under your head for support. (A pillow placed between your knees may make you more comfortable.) Keep your back and hips in as straight a line as possible. Hold your baby closely on his or her side, facing you with your arm around your baby. You may use your hand to support the breast while helping the baby to latch.
An advantage of this position is you don't have to get up to reposition your baby on your other breast. Simply place a pillow under them to elevate until they are parallel with your upper breast and lean over to bring the upper breast to your baby.