Koala or Australian Hold Breastfeeding Position

Koala or Australian Hold Breastfeeding Position

Originating from the land Down Under, the Koala Hold not only reflects its Australian roots but also embodies the nurturing essence of motherhood. The Koala Hold offers a unique approach to breastfeeding that encourages a deep connection between you and your little one. 

How To Do The Koala Hold

Named after the iconic animal, the Koala Hold mimics the natural way a koala clings to their mother or a eucalyptus tree, offering a secure and intimate embrace. In this position, your baby will sit on your lap facing you. They will be in an upright position, straddling your thigh or hip.

It might take a few attempts to find the optimal positioning for both you and your baby. Be patient, and don't hesitate to make minor adjustments until you discover what feels most comfortable for both of you.


  1. Position Your Baby: Begin by finding a comfortable and supportive chair or cushioned surface. Hold your baby against your chest, facing towards you, straddling your thigh or hip, and with their head resting in the crook of your arm. Ensure that your baby's body is turned toward you, allowing their mouth to align with your nipple. The goal is to create a natural extension of your body for your baby to nestle into comfortably.
  2. Support Your Child: Gently cradle your baby's neck with your hand, using your forearm to support their back. The hand supporting the neck should be placed under the baby's ear, allowing the head to tilt slightly backward. The other hand can support the baby's bottom or rest on their back. This dual support not only provides stability but also allows your baby to feel secure in your arms.
  3. Guide to Latch: With your baby in position, guide them towards your breast, ensuring their mouth is wide open. The key to a successful latch lies in waiting for the opportune moment when your baby opens their mouth wide, like a yawn. As they do, bring them in closer, aiming for a latch that encompasses as much of the areola as possible. A good latch is crucial for effective breastfeeding, reducing discomfort for the mother and ensuring proper milk transfer for the baby.
  4. Maintain Upright Position: In the Koala Hold, maintaining an upright position is paramount. Keep your baby's body upright, facing your chest, and their head in line with their body. This not only aids in a more comfortable latch but also minimizes the risk of your baby swallowing air during feeding, reducing the likelihood of colic or gas.

Pros and Cons of Koala Hold

The Koala Hold has gained popularity for its potential to enhance bonding and provide comfort during feeding sessions. However, like any technique, it has its own set of unique advantages and disadvantages.


  • Encourages Bonding: This close and intimate positioning creates a warm and secure environment, and can feel like a continuous hug. The Koala Hold fosters a deep emotional connection, allowing mother and baby to bask in the joy of physical closeness. The skin-to-skin contact during breastfeeding is known to release oxytocin, often referred to as the "love hormone," strengthening the bond between mother and child.
  • Reduces Ear Infections In Baby: Studies suggest (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-24636-0) that keeping babies in an upright position during breastfeeding may contribute to a lower incidence of ear infections. This is attributed to the natural alignment of the baby's ear canal, which facilitates better drainage and reduces the risk of fluid buildup.
  • Reduces Reflux In Baby: By maintaining an upright posture, this breastfeeding position minimizes the likelihood of stomach contents flowing back into the esophagus. This can be particularly beneficial for babies prone to reflux, offering them a more comfortable feeding experience.
  • Freedom For Babies: Unlike more restrictive holds, this position allows them to explore their surroundings, make eye contact with their mother, and even engage in brief moments of detachment during feeds. This freedom can contribute to a positive feeding experience, especially as your baby grows more curious and aware of their environment.


  • Challenging With Newborns: Newborns may find it more challenging to latch in this position. Small babies don’t yet have the head and neck control needed to sit in an upright position, so mothers will need to offer additional support in this position. 
  • Requires Seated Position for Mom: The Koala Hold works best when mom is in a seated position with back support. This might not always be available, and may not be as comfortable for mothers recovering from childbirth. 
  • Babies Can Be Distracted: As babies grow more aware of their surroundings, the Koala Hold's freedom of movement can become a double-edged sword. The same curiosity that allows them to explore may also lead to distractions during feeds. Your baby might be easily enticed by the happenings around them, potentially affecting their focus on breastfeeding.

When To Use

The Koala Hold, with its blend of comfort and connection, proves to be a versatile breastfeeding position suitable for various scenarios in your motherhood journey. It becomes particularly advantageous as your baby grows and develops. 

This position is an excellent choice for mothers with babies prone to ear infections. The upright positioning assists in facilitating proper drainage of the ear canal, potentially reducing the risk of fluid buildup and infections. If your baby experiences reflux or digestive discomfort, this breastfeeding position can offer relief by minimizing the chances of regurgitation.

It's an ideal option for moments when you seek both physical closeness and the convenience of allowing your baby to feed comfortably while remaining engaged with their surroundings. Whether it's a quiet bonding session before naptime or a more interactive feeding experience during waking hours, the Koala Hold adapts to the changing needs of both you and your growing baby.

Alternative Positions

While the Koala Hold offers a unique and comforting breastfeeding experience, it's valuable to diversify your options for breastfeeding positions to meet the evolving needs of both you and your baby.

  1. Upright Cradle Hold: The Upright Cradle Hold maintains the essence of the traditional cradle hold, with the baby's head cradled on the side the mother intends to breastfeed from, but with the adaptation of the baby's bottom resting on the mother's leg for added support. This modification is particularly useful as the baby grows and their weight increases.
  2. Upright Football Hold: Similar to the traditional football hold, this variation involves holding your baby in an upright position under your arm, like a football. This position not only allows for better control of your baby's latch but also provides the opportunity for them to engage with their surroundings. It's an excellent option for mothers recovering from certain delivery methods or those who prefer a more elevated stance during breastfeeding
  3. Nursing in a Sling: Embracing the concept of babywearing during breastfeeding, Nursing in a Sling combines the practicality of both activities. Secure your baby in a comfortable sling or baby carrier, adjusting the fabric to allow easy access to your breast. This position promotes closeness while allowing you to move freely. Nursing in a sling is particularly advantageous when you're on the go, providing a convenient and discreet way to feed your baby while attending to daily activities.

My Experience with Koala Hold

The Koala Hold has become a great breastfeeding option for me and my little one, especially as she started growing. I’ve found this position to be the most convenient we're at the kitchen table or on the couch, and the Koala Hold just feels like the most natural choice. My baby is already on my lap, making it super easy to get her to latch on quickly and comfortably.

It's not always my go-to position, especially if there is a lot going on because she will get easily distracted. But when we're in a quieter space, it's magic. The Koala Hold has this way of making us feel snug and connected.

Final Thoughts

The Koala Hold has unique benefits, such as fostering a strong bond, reducing ear infections and reflux, and providing freedom for babies. Knowing when to use the Koala Hold and how to preform this breastfeeding position is crucial for optimizing these benefits.

The Koala Hold is like a cozy hug of your baby, but you may need to experiment with finding the right positioning, or trying an alternative position, to find what is most comfortable for both you and your baby. 

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Author, Founder @ Latch Luxe

Stefanie Statler

Stefanie Statler is an author and the founder of Latch Luxe, with a loving husband and daughter. She is a dedicated advocate for breastfeeding mothers and understands the challenges and joys of motherhood firsthand. Email me at stef@latchluxe.com.

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