The cradle hold is the most common breastfeeding position.
The mum's arm supports the baby at the breast. The baby’s head is cradled near her elbow, and her arm supports the infant along the back and neck. The mother and baby should be chest to chest.
The cross-cradle position uses the opposite arm (to the cradle position) to support the infant, with the back of the baby's head and neck being held in the mother's hand. Her other hand is able to support and shape the breast if required.
In this position the mum can guide the baby easily to the breast when they are ready to latch on.
The baby is positioned at the mother’s side, with their body and feet tucked under the mum's arm. The baby’s head is held in the mum's hand. The mum’s arm may also rest on a pillow with this hold.
This position may be advantageous for mums who have undergone a caesarean section, since it places no or limited weight on the mum’s chest and abdomen area.
It may also work for low-birth-weight babies or babies that have trouble latching, since their head is fully supported.
The mum lies on her side and faces the baby. The baby's mouth is in line with the nipple.
The mum may also use a pillow for back and neck support.
This position may also be advantageous for mums who have undergone a caesarean section, since it places no or limited weight on the mum’s chest and abdomen area.
American Academy of Pediatrics and The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Breastfeeding Handbook for Physicians 2006).
Colson, S.D., Meek, J.H., & Hawdon, J.M. Optimal positions for the release of primitive neonatal reflexes stimulating breastfeeding. Early Hum Dev. 84, 441-449 (2008).
Cadwell, K. Latching-On and Suckling of the Healthy Term Neonate: Breastfeeding Assessment. J Midwifery Womens Health. 52, 638-642 (2007).
Henderson, A., Stamp, G., Pincombe, J. Postpartum positioning and attachment education for increasing breastfeeding: a randomized trial. Birth 2001;28(4):236–42.