The cradle hold
Get in position: Hold your baby with her head on your forearm (the same side as the breast you are feeding from). Check her head is resting comfortably in the crook of your arm and her body facing yours. You can also put a pillow in your lap for support if it helps. However, do not allow your baby to sleep unattended on the pillow (even for a few minutes) because of the risk of suffocation.
Best for: Most situations
The side-lying hold
Get in position: Face your baby while lying on your side and support them with one hand. Grasp your breast with the other and touch your nipple to your baby’s lips. Once they are latched on, support them with your top arm while supporting your head with your other arm.
Best for: All situations but especially helpful for moms who are feeling tired or had their baby by C-section. It may be more comfortable while healing.
The cross-cradle hold
Get in position: Similar to the cradle hold but offers your baby added head support to help them stay latched. You hold your baby on the opposite arm from the breast you are feeding from, supporting their head with the palm of your hand.
Best for: All situations but especially helpful for early breastfeeding and for babies with an initial weak latch. Also good for moms who have had a C-section (once they are comfortable sitting with pillow support).
Get in position: Hold your baby at your side, supporting their back on your forearm. Their head should be at nipple level and can be supported with the palm of your hand. You might like to place a pillow in your lap during feeding for added comfort.
Best for: All situations but especially for moms whose babies are born by C-section, moms with large breasts or flat/inverted nipples, or moms who have a strong let-down reflex (where milk readily fills your breast and may start to leak even before your baby is latched on).
Breastfeeding takes a little time to master, but there are ways to get there faster. Read “Breastfeeding for beginners: 4 steps for a successful start” to learn the tips and tricks.
HYPERLINK "http://www.lalecheleague.org/faq/positioning.html"Breastfeeding handbook for physicians. 2nd ed. Elk Grove IL. 2014.
https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/breastfeeding/Pages/Positioning-Your-Baby-for-Breastfeeding.aspx (Accessed December 29 2016)
https://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/learning-to-breastfeed.html (Accessed December 29 2016)
Last revised: April, 2017
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