The cradle hold
Get in position: Hold your baby with their head on your forearm (the same side as the breast you are feeding from). Check your baby’s head is resting comfortably in the crook of your arm and their body facing yours. You can also put a pillow in your lap for support if it helps. However, do not allow your baby to sleep unattended on the pillow (even for a few minutes) because of the risk of suffocation.
Best for: Most situations
The side-lying hold
Get in position: Face your baby while lying on your side and support them with one hand. Grasp your breast with the other and touch your nipple to your baby’s lips. Once they latch on, support them with your top arm while supporting your head with your other arm.
Best for: All situations but especially helpful for mums who are feeling tired or had their baby by C-section. It may be more comfortable while healing.
The cross-cradle hold
Get in position: Similar to the cradle hold but offers your baby added head support to help them stay latched. You hold your baby on the opposite arm from the breast you are feeding from, supporting your little one’s head with the palm of your hand.
Best for: All situations but especially helpful for early breastfeeding and for babies with an initial weak latch. Also good for mums who have had a C-section (once they are comfortable sitting with pillow support).
The rugby hold
Get in position: Hold your baby at your side, supporting their back on your forearm. Their head should be at nipple level and can be supported with the palm of your hand. You might like to place a pillow in your lap during feeding for added comfort.
Best for: All situations but especially for mums whose babies are born by C-section, mums with large breasts or flat/inverted nipples, or mums who have a strong let-down reflex (where milk readily fills your breast and may start to leak even before your baby is latched on).