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Home ›› Breastfeeding Positions to Help Baby Latch

How to Get a Baby to Latch While Breastfeeding


5 min. read


While breastfeeding is a natural part of motherhood, it can require practice, patience, and a little advanced preparation. And if you do opt to breastfeed your baby, don’t be discouraged if you run into the common challenge of achieving a good breastfeeding latch.

The breastfeeding latch is one of the most common feeding concerns for new moms, and understandably so; it’s important that your baby latches properly during feedings to ensure that he or she is getting enough breast milk. A good breastfeeding latch is also important to help you avoid breast discomfort and sore nipples.

One of the best ways to get your baby to latch is to find a breastfeeding position that works for both you and your little one. Here we will discuss the different breastfeeding positions and other tips to help you achieve a correct breastfeeding latch. If you have any remaining questions or concerns, contact your doctor or a lactation specialist for further support.

How to latch a baby


Before we discuss the different breastfeeding positions, there are a few steps you can follow that may help your baby to latch during feedings: 1


  • Create a relaxed environment. Your comfort is key when breastfeeding, so find a comfortable position before you begin nursing your newborn. Whether it be sitting in an armchair, lying in bed, or turning on some relaxing music, ensure that you are relaxed before feeding.

  • Hold your baby skin-to-skin. Breastfeeding is a wonderful opportunity to connect with your baby. Help trigger your newborn’s feeding instincts by cuddling him or her against your bare chest in only a diaper.

  • Allow your baby to take the lead. Eventually, you will learn to read your baby’s individual hunger signs. Usually, babies will bob their head against their mother or start squirming to indicate that they are ready to eat.

  • Try not to force it. You will want to give your baby adequate support to find your breasts, but try not to force your nipple into his or her mouth.

  • Protect sore nipples. If your nipples are sore or cracked, try using some soft, ultra-thin nipple shield to help relieve your nipples from any pain while still allowing for natural mother-baby bonding.

Popular breastfeeding positions to achieve a good latch


In addition to these helpful steps, it’s important to establish a breastfeeding position that works for both you and your baby. Experiment with the different breastfeeding positions until you find one that makes you feel comfortable and helps your baby achieve a good latch.

Here are the most common positions that can help you and your baby achieve a proper breastfeeding latch: 1

1. The laid-back position


The laid-back or reclining position is ideal for mothers who are breastfeeding for the first time. To try this position, simply lean back in a reclining position with pillows supporting your neck, shoulders, and arms. With your baby’s belly on yours, allow him or her to find your breast and make any necessary adjustments.

2. The side-lying position


If you are looking for nursing positions that allow you to feed your baby and rest at the same time, the side-lying position may be perfect for you. Lay on your side with a cushion or pillow propped under you. Your baby can then nurse from the breast that is resting on the pillow while facing you. You can also place a towel or blanket behind your little one to keep him or her in place while feeding.

3. The cross-cradle position


Another great position to achieve a good breastfeeding latch, the cross-cradle calls for you to place a pillow on your lap and lay your baby down sideways facing you. Use the arm opposite of the breast you are nursing from to support your baby while he or she feeds.

4. The football position


For this position, start by sitting on a comfortable chair with pillows for support. Place your baby on his or her back on a pillow, with his or her legs coming under your arm and up against the back of the chair. While supporting your baby’s back and shoulders with your forearm, cradle the head with the same hand, and use the other hand to support the breast that your baby is feeding from.

When trying these different breastfeeding positions, your newborn may respond better to one over another. Once you do find a good position, look out for the following signs that your baby has achieved a good latch: 2,3


  • You’re free from sharp pain
  • Your baby’s lower lip is flipped out, whilst the top lip is neutral
  • Your lower areola is in your baby’s mouth
  • Your baby’s chin is touching your breast
  • Your baby’s nose is tipped away from your breast


Tip: Once you have successfully finished your feed, consider protecting your nipples with an ultra-soft breast shell, such as the Philips Avent Comfort Breast Shell. Designed to be worn inside the bra, the ventilated shells collect excess breast milk and help to protect the nipples from chafing.

It’s not the destination, it’s the journey


There you have it: the breastfeeding positions and tips to help you and your baby get a good latch during feedings. Remember that breastfeeding is a learning curve, so don’t be discouraged if you encounter obstacles or challenges along the way, such as improper latching.

Enjoy this special time with your baby and remember to consult with a doctor or lactation specialist with any questions or concerns you may have along the way.

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1 womenshealth.gov - Your guide to breastfeeding - PDF

2 womenshealth.gov - Breastfeeding guide - PDF

3 Newton-Wellesley Hospital - Postpartum breastfeeding positions and latch on

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