Breastfeeding Positions For Small Breasts

  • On-Emore Akpevwe Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery - MBBS, Medicine and Surgery, Delta State University (NG)
  • Drew Gallagher B.Sc. Biomedical Science, University of Manchester, UK


A. Importance of breastfeeding positions for small breasts

Breastfeeding is a beautiful and necessary aspect of motherhood that benefits both the baby and the mother. Finding the right breastfeeding position is critical for mothers with small breasts to ensure a comfortable and successful nursing experience. 

Breast size should never be regarded as a determining factor in breastfeeding success. Regardless of breast size, all mothers are capable of producing the milk their babies require. However, it is critical to recognise that mothers with small breasts may face unique challenges when it comes to finding the right positions to adequately support their babies during breastfeeding.

The proper breastfeeding position not only ensures proper latching and milk transfer, but it also contributes to both the mother's and baby's overall comfort and contentment. Finding the best position for small breasts can help avoid problems like nipple soreness, back pain, and fatigue, making your breastfeeding experience more enjoyable and sustainable.

B. Benefits of appropriate positions for comfortable and effective breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is an important aspect of infant care, and mothers should have a comfortable and effective breastfeeding experience. Breastfeeding positions play a vital role in ensuring that the mother and baby are comfortable and that the baby is able to feed properly. This article will focus on the importance of breastfeeding positions for small breasts and the benefits of appropriate positions for comfortable and effective breastfeeding.

Understanding small breasts and breastfeeding

There is a widespread misconception that small breasts do not produce enough milk due to their size, but research has shown that breast size has no bearing on the ability to breastfeed. However, mothers with small breasts may have difficulty finding a comfortable and effective breastfeeding position.

It is essential to understand that breast size does not determine a mother's ability to breastfeed successfully. Regardless of breast size, the milk-producing tissue remains the same, and women with small breasts can produce ample milk to nourish their babies. The key is to find the best positions that provide the baby with the best support and latch.

The following positions can be used to make breastfeeding more comfortable and effective.

Cross-cradle position for small breasts

Description and benefits

For mothers with small breasts, the cross-cradle position is an excellent choice. The cross-cradle position is highly recommended for small-breasted mothers because it provides excellent control and support for the baby.1

In this position, the mother can gently guide the baby's head to the breast. This position gives the mother more control over the baby's head and neck, making a proper latch easier to achieve.

Step-by-step guide

  • Take a seat in a comfortable chair with armrests
  • Hold the baby with the opposite arm from the breast that is being fed
  • Support the baby's head and neck with your opposite hand
  • Gently place the baby's mouth against the breast
  • Ensure that the baby's mouth covers the entire nipple and areola

Tips for successful breastfeeding

  • Use a deep latch to prevent nipple discomfort and to ensure efficient milk transfer 
  • To maintain a comfortable position, keep the baby's body close to yours
  • For added support and comfort, use a nursing pillow
  • Experiment with different breastfeeding positions to see what works best for you and your baby
  • Seek the advice of a lactation consultant for personalised advice

Football hold position for small breasts

Description and benefits

Another good option for small-breasted mothers is the football hold position, which allows better visibility of the baby's latch and keeps the baby's weight off the mother's chest. This position is also beneficial for women who have had a cesarean section because it relieves pressure on the abdomen.

In this position, the baby is held under the arm, with their body positioned alongside the breast. Benefits include better control, support, and access to the breast.

Step-by-step guide

To use this position, the mother should:

  • Take a seat in a comfortable chair with armrests
  • Hold the baby with one arm on the same side as the breast that is being fed
  • With the opposite hand, support the baby's head and neck
  • Gently place the baby's mouth against the breast
  • Check that the baby's mouth completely covers the nipple and areola

Tips for successful breastfeeding

  • For extra support, place a nursing pillow or rolled-up blanket beneath the baby
  • To avoid neck strain while latching, keep the baby's head elevated
  • Experiment with various positions until you find the one that is most comfortable for both you and your baby

Side-lying position for small breasts

Description and benefits

The side-lying position is ideal for nighttime feedings because it allows for a more relaxed and comfortable approach to breastfeeding. It is especially beneficial for mothers who are recovering from childbirth or prefer to lie down during nursing sessions.

Step-by-step guide

  • Lie on your side with pillows supporting your upper body
  • Place the baby in front of you, with their body aligned with yours
  • Make sure the baby's mouth is level with your nipple and areola
  • With your free hand, gently guide the baby's head towards your breast

Tips for successful breastfeeding

  • For extra support, place a rolled-up receiving blanket or small pillow behind the baby
  • Keep an eye on your baby's position to avoid accidental rolling while nursing

Laid-back position for small breasts

Description and benefits

The laid-back position, also known as the biological nurturing position, allows gravity to help support the baby's weight while nursing. It simulates the natural nursing environment and can be especially beneficial for newborns.

Step-by-step guide

  • Recline on a comfortable and supportive surface, such as a bed or couch
  • Lean back slightly and place your baby on your chest, facing you
  • The baby's head should be close to your breast, allowing them to self-attach

Tips for successful breastfeeding

  • Adjust the angle of recline with pillows or cushions to provide additional support
  • Relax and allow your baby to approach the breast at their own pace

Cradle hold position for small breasts

Description and benefits 

The traditional cradle hold is a well-known and widely used breastfeeding position. When combined with proper latch techniques, it can be effective for small-breasted mothers.

Step-by-step guide

  • Sit in a chair that is comfortable and has good back support
  • For added support, place a nursing pillow or rolled-up blanket on your lap
  • Place the baby's head in the crook of your arm on the same side as the breast being used
  • Bring the baby close to the breast, with their nose aligned with the nipple
  • Watch for the baby's mouth to open wide and latch onto the breast
  • Make certain that the baby's lips flange outward, covering a large portion of the areola

Additional tips and considerations

Ensuring a proper latch

One of the most important aspects of successful breastfeeding is achieving a proper latch. When the baby's mouth covers a significant portion of the areola as well as the nipple, this is considered a proper latch. This ensures that the baby can extract milk effectively while minimising discomfort and potential nipple soreness for the mother. 

To achieve a proper latch, do the following:

1). Before latching on, encourage the baby to open his or her mouth wide. This can be accomplished by gently tickling their lips with your nipple or by positioning the nipple at their nose level.

2). When the baby's mouth widens, quickly bring them onto the breast, ensuring that their lower lip and tongue lead the way.

3). The baby's chin should be pressed into the breast, and their nose should be clear so that they can breathe easily.

Using pillows or aids for support

During breastfeeding sessions, consider using nursing pillows, cushions, or rolled-up blankets for the comfort of both the mother and the baby. These devices can assist in supporting the baby at the appropriate level, allowing for better positioning and reducing strain on the mother's arms and back. The use of pillows can also help to bring the baby closer to the breast and promote a better latch.

Paying attention to signs of hunger and fullness

Understanding your baby's hunger cues is critical for successful and comfortable breastfeeding. Smacking their lips, sticking out their tongues, sucking motions, and bringing their hands to their mouth are all common hunger cues. Crying is a late hunger cue that should be avoided by offering the breast as soon as the baby shows signs of hunger. Similarly, look for signs of fullness, such as the baby pulling away from the breast, closing their mouth, or becoming disinterested in feeding.2

Seeking guidance from a lactation consultant

Breastfeeding can be difficult for some mothers, so seeking help from a certified lactation consultant can be extremely beneficial. A lactation consultant can offer personalised advice, identify potential problems, and provide practical solutions. They can assist in addressing specific concerns about breastfeeding positions, latch, milk supply, and other issues, thereby improving the breastfeeding experience for both mother and baby. 

Maintaining good posture and relaxation

Maintaining a proper posture is critical during breastfeeding to avoid back, neck, and shoulder strain. Sit in a comfortable chair with a straight back and use cushions or pillows to support your back and arms as needed. Instead of hunching over the baby, bring the baby closer to your breast. Relaxation is also important during breastfeeding because stress and tension can affect milk flow and the let-down reflex. Use this time to bond with your baby by finding a calm and peaceful environment to nurse in.

Staying hydrated and nourished

Breastfeeding requires more energy and fluids from the mother. Remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. A well-balanced and nutritious diet is also essential for ensuring an adequate milk supply and providing essential nutrients to your baby. Consult a healthcare professional if you have any specific dietary concerns or questions.

Bonding and eye contact

Breastfeeding is more than just a source of nutrition; it is also an opportunity for the mother and baby to bond. Maintaining eye contact with your baby during feedings improves emotional connection and can stimulate oxytocin release, resulting in a more positive breastfeeding experience.


The knowledge of breastfeeding positions for small breasts is critical for efficient and comfortable nursing. Mothers with small breasts can successfully breastfeed their babies if they understand the various positions available and follow the step-by-step guides. Remember to seek the advice of a lactation consultant or your health visitor for personalised support and advice. With proper positioning and a good latch, breastfeeding can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience for both mother and baby.


  1. Medela [Internet]. [cited 2023 Jul 29]. 11 breastfeeding positions. Available from:
  2. (Trust) N (National C. NCT (National Childbirth Trust)). 2023 [cited 2023 Jul 29]. Breastfeeding positions: which are best for you? | Baby & toddler, Feeding articles & support | NCT. Available from:
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

Get our health newsletter

Get daily health and wellness advice from our medical team.
Your privacy is important to us. Any information you provide to this website may be placed by us on our servers. If you do not agree do not provide the information.

On-Emore Akpevwe

Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery - MBBS, Medicine and Surgery, Delta State University (NG)

Hi, I'm Akpevwe, a Medical Doctor who has always loved writing and enjoyed writing as a hobby for many years.

I am particularly interested in writing about healthcare and medical topics, and hope to use my background in medicine to provide unique insights and perspectives.

Aside from writing, I also enjoy reading and taking long walks. I find that pursuing other interests helps to fuel my creativity and gives me fresh perspectives to draw from content from.

As a medical doctor and a writer, I'm passionate about using storytelling to educate, inform, and inspire and connect with other writers. Whether it's through fiction or non-fiction, I believe that writing has the power to connect people and make a positive impact on the world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
Klarity is a citizen-centric health data management platform that enables citizens to securely access, control and share their own health data. Klarity Health Library aims to provide clear and evidence-based health and wellness related informative articles. 
Klarity / Managed Self Ltd
Alum House
5 Alum Chine Road
Westbourne Bournemouth BH4 8DT
VAT Number: 362 5758 74
Company Number: 10696687

Phone Number:

 +44 20 3239 9818