What’s the first step in successful breastfeeding? For mom, it’s making sure you’re as comfortable as possible before you begin. As we recognize National Breastfeeding Month, let’s review three ways to hold baby while breastfeeding, as recommended by the certified lactation consultants with the Birth and Family Center at Grand View Health.
- Cross-Cradle – Sit up straight in a comfortable chair and position your baby on your tummy so the infant faces you and their mouth aligns with your nipple. Use one hand to support your baby’s neck and upper back, and rest his bottom in the crook of your arm or on a breastfeeding pillow on your lap. This position is helpful for babies who struggle to latch on because it allows you to guide baby’s head into position by holding the back of his neck between your thumb and fingers.
- Football – Also called the clutch hold or side-sitting hold, this position may be helpful for moms who gave birth by Cesarean section or women with large breasts. Sit up in a comfortable chair. Place your infant beside you on the side of the breast you will use. Tuck his body against your side, under your arm. Use your forearm to support his upper back, and let your hand and fingers support his shoulders, neck and head. Place a pillow under your elbow for support, and keep your baby’s head level with your breast.
- Laid back – Nursing while reclining or lying down promotes skin-to-skin contact and lets your baby use their instincts. You can lie on a recliner or lie on your side with one or more pillows behind your back or under your head. Hold baby closely on their side with your arm around them so baby faces you with their mouth. You may use your hand to support the breast while helping baby to latch. Be sure to return baby to their own bed to sleep.
Learn more about giving birth at Grand View Health.