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Breastfeeding Tips & Positions


  • The best way to prepare for breastfeeding is to learn more about it. Take our prenatal breastfeeding class, read a book, watch videos, talk with other breastfeeding mothers, etc. 
    • We now have an online breastfeeding program that includes a book along with 6 months access to the website. The website includes videos, additional print outs and resources. The information is similar to what is covered during our breastfeeding class. This is an option for women who prefer self-paced, individual learning or for women who attend breastfeeding class but would like to reinforce and review the information that is covered in class. 
  • Hold your baby immediately, skin to skin following birth. Babies held this way are content and alert, taking in their world and are ready to breastfeed sooner.
  • Initiate breastfeeding within the first hour after birth. 
  • Plan for rooming-in with your baby during your hospital stay. This is the best way to connect with your baby and learn his or her eating patterns.
  • Learn your baby's feeding cues. Feed your baby when these cues are present before your baby becomes tired and frustrated from crying. Crying is often a late feeding cue.
  • Identify your support people.
  • Limit your visitors during your hospital stay. This will allow you to rest with your baby and concentrate on learning how to feed and care for him or her.
  • At the beginning of the feeding, the baby gets the watery protein portion of the milk, called foremilk. Toward the end of the feeding, the baby gets the fat part of the milk, called hindmilk. This fat helps the baby feel full, gain weight and sleep better. By letting the baby finish the feeding, you know that he or she got the fat-rich hindmilk. Baby is finished when he or she releases the breast or falls asleep. Burp baby, then offer the second side.
  • Baby may not feed as long on the second breast. Start on this breast at the next feeding.
  • It is normal for your baby to breastfeed often. Many feedings in the first few days help with hormone stimulation that helps breasts make more milk. Your baby will be happy to breastfeed often.

Breastfeeding positions

The nurses will assist you in learning how to latch your baby on correctly. Find a comfortable position so you can relax. The following are common breastfeeding positions.


  • Hold the baby's back and shoulders in the palm of your hand.
  • Tuck baby up under your arm, lining up the baby's lips with your nipple.
  • Support the breast to guide it into your baby's mouth.
  • Hold your breast until the baby nurses easily.

Lying down

  • Lie on your side with a pillow at your back and lay the baby so you are facing each other.
  • To start, prop yourself up on your elbow and support your breast with that hand.
  • Pull your baby close to you, lining up baby's mouth with your nipple.
  • Lie back down, once baby is nursing well.

Cradle hold

  • Cradle the baby in the arm closest to the breast, with the baby's head in the crook of the arm.
  • Have the baby's body facing you, tummy to tummy.
  • Use your opposite hand to support the breast.

Cross cradle

  • Lay your baby on pillows across your lap.
  • Turn the baby facing you.
  • Reach across your lap to support baby's back and shoulders with the palm of your hand.
  • Guide your breast from underneath to guide it into the baby's mouth.

Koala hold

Support your baby while she's straddled across your knees in an upright position.

Laid back position

Semi-reclined, support your baby while he or she lays across your stomach or shoulder.

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Every day, Gundersen Health System delivers great medicine plus a little something extra—we call it Love + Medicine.

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