How Can the Cradle Hold Be Adjusted for a Comfortable Breastfeeding Experience?

Kate Chered
4 min readDec 20, 2023


Breastfeeding is a crucial and intimate process for both mother and child. The better the nursing technique, the more pleasant the experience for both parties. A key aspect of successful breastfeeding involves the use of various positions. Not only do these positions help prevent fatigue during prolonged nursing, but they also serve as a preventative measure against milk stasis. In practice, mothers often use three main positions with their variations. This article will delve into the primary breastfeeding positions, offering guidance and tips for new mothers.

What is the “Cradle Hold” and Why is it a Popular Breastfeeding Position?

The “Cradle Hold” is perhaps the most common breastfeeding position. It is suitable for both newborns and older infants. In this position, the baby lies in the mother’s arms like a cradle. The baby’s head rests in the crook of the mother’s elbow while her other hand supports the baby’s back and can guide the breast to the baby’s mouth. The baby faces the mother, with their mouth directly opposite the nipple.

This position can be modified for standing nursing, a variation often used to soothe the baby. However, it’s important to avoid holding the baby’s head too tightly, as this can force them into an embryonic position, making it difficult to latch onto the breast properly.

How Does the “Cross-Cradle Hold” Differ from the Traditional Cradle Hold?

The “Cross-Cradle Hold” is a variation of the Cradle Hold. In this position, the mother supports the baby with the hand opposite the breast used for nursing. For example, if the baby is nursing from the right breast, the mother will support the baby with her left hand. The baby’s head is supported by the mother’s hand, with the thumb and index finger gently positioned along the baby’s ears, while the palm supports the baby’s shoulders and back.

This position particularly benefits newborns, allowing the mother to guide the baby more effectively. It’s critical not to hold the baby too firmly around the neck or head, as this can impede their ability to latch on effectively.

When to Use the “Football Hold” and Its Advantages for Breastfeeding Mothers

The “Football Hold” is ideal for mothers who are unable to sit post-delivery. The mother lies semi-reclined in this position, supporting herself on her forearm and hip. This is sometimes referred to as the “Rugby Hold.”

The baby is placed on pillows perpendicular to the mother, lying between her body and the arm she is leaning on. The mother supports the baby’s head with her hand and offers the breast from above. This position can be slightly modified for sitting, surrounded by pillows. It is an excellent preventative measure against milk stasis.

What is the “Lying Down Position” and How Does it Benefit Resting Mothers?

The “Lying Down Position” allows the mother to rest from an upright posture and relax her back. In this position, both the mother and baby lie face to face. It’s a comfortable position for nighttime feedings or mothers needing rest during the day. This position also helps reduce back strain and can be soothing for both mother and baby.

In conclusion, mastering various breastfeeding positions benefits the mother’s comfort and is crucial for the baby’s health and well-being. Each position has its unique advantages and can be adapted to suit the needs of both mother and baby. Understanding and practicing these positions can greatly enhance the breastfeeding experience.


How Can the Cradle Hold Be Adjusted for a Comfortable Breastfeeding Experience?

The Cradle Hold can be adjusted for comfort by using pillows to support the mother’s arm or the baby. If sitting, a nursing pillow can help maintain the baby at breast level, reducing strain on the mother’s arms and back. For standing nursing, ensure the baby is securely supported against the body, using one hand to gently support the baby’s head and neck.

What Are the Key Benefits of the Cross-Cradle Hold for Newborns?

The Cross-Cradle Hold offers superior head support for the newborn, making it easier for the mother to guide the baby’s latch. This position also allows the mother to control the baby’s positioning more effectively, ensuring a deeper and more comfortable latch. It’s beneficial for smaller babies or those who have difficulty latching.

When Is the Football Hold Most Recommended for Breastfeeding?

The Football Hold is particularly recommended for mothers with a C-section, as it keeps the baby away from the incision area. It’s also beneficial for mothers with large breasts, twins, or a strong let-down reflex. This position allows the mother to see and control the baby’s latch easily.

Where Should Pillows Be Placed for Support in the Lying Down Breastfeeding Position?

In the Lying Down Position, pillows should be placed behind the mother’s back for support and between her knees to align her hips. A pillow or folded blanket can also be placed under the baby to bring it to breast level, making it easier for the baby to latch and for the mother to maintain a comfortable position.

How Does Varying Breastfeeding Positions Help Prevent Milk Stasis?

Varying breastfeeding positions help in evenly draining the milk ducts in different areas of the breasts. This is crucial in preventing milk stasis, which can lead to blocked ducts and mastitis. Alternating positions ensure that the baby effectively empties all areas of the breast.

Originally published at on December 20, 2023.