Positioning Mother for
Comfortable Breastfeeding

For some, breastfeeding comes easily, straight away, and for other it requires concentration, patience and practice!
For most, once they have learnt they can do it in any position!

Are you comfortable?

Sitting upright – not leaning back or forward, feet on floor or a stool, with lap flat or knees just slightly higher than lap.

Use cushions or pillow for support – you will have to sit in this position for at least an hour so you should be comfortable. Your shoulder shouldn’t be hunched, or arms awkward as they will soon get tired and result in back, shoulder or neck tension. Use pillows to bring baby in line with the breast.

The baby’s head should rest on your forearm NOT in the crook of your elbow, as that will result in the baby too far round your body and therefore pulling at the breast.

The baby’s nose should be level with the nipple thereby ensuring that when the baby gapes to take the breast his head will be slightly tilted back, and the chin well into the breast.

Wait until the baby opens his mouth wide before bringing him to the breast (it may take a few attempts, don’t worry this is normal) this can be encouraged by allowing him to lick the nipple or touching his lips with your nipple, particularly if you can express a little milk onto the nipple to encourage him.


Always bring baby to breast, not breast to baby.


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Baby’s nose should be against but not digging into the breast. There should be no need for you to hold the breast away from the baby’s nose to allow him to breathe as long as there is nothing stopping him moving his head back slightly.

Wear comfortable clothing that is not too tight.

If the breast needs supporting cup you hand with fingers underneath the breast thumb resting lightly on top. Do not alter shape of breast. Large breasted women can roll a small flannel underneath the breast for support.

If Baby not well positioned and painful STOP, take baby off gently (break suction by putting finger in baby’s mouth) and reposition.

See also "Positioning Baby for Comfortable Breastfeeding"


Breastfeeding should not hurt, other than brief pain during first few sucks each feed in the early days. If hurting the position isn’t right, the nipple should look the same when it comes out of baby’s mouth as it looks when it goes in. If it looks ridged and this not corrected it will lead to sore and cracked nipples.


Additional Support

Kia kaha. Ask your midwife for help or a free referral to a lactation consultant. Intense support is also available from your local La Leche League in Taranaki, see



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