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Learn the Best Breastfeeding Positions and Holds

Elvis Elvis

Breastfeeding is natural, healthy and amazing and full of benefits for both of you. But learning how to do it does take patience, practice and perseverance but is completely worth it. There are many different nursing positions and holds for you to learn and choose from and keep in mind, they will not all work for you and your baby but you will naturally gravitate to one or two holds because they best fit the both of you. You will spend many hours breastfeeding your baby so make it the most enjoyable experience you will ever have.

I recommend breastfeeding your baby in the same place when you’re at home. Have it all set up for you because you’ll be there a lot. Make sure you have a bottle of water, tissues, a snack, book or magazine and a night light or whatever makes you the most comfortable when holding your baby. If you’d like to just listen to the radio, have that there too. Just remember to keep your nursing sessions as calm for your baby as possible.

The Cradle Hold (Position)

A favorite breastfeeding hold of most moms. Hold your baby’s head in the crook of your arm. Sit in a comfortable chair with armrests or you may prefer sitting on a bed using a bunch of pillows. The trick is to NOT lean forward or with your back arched over your baby but rather with your feet resting on something comfortable like a stool or coffee table, position your back comfortably against the back of your chair or pillows.

When my daughter was a newborn, I found it easier to have her on top of a pillow on my lap because she was little and I found her too low to breastfeed without the pillow. Make sure she is lying on her side with all of her facing you (face, tummy & knees) and her tummy should align with yours and her nose and mouth should line up with the center of your breast. Have one hand on her back (so she doesn’t roll off the pillow!) to support her back, neck and head, and put her bottom arm in between your arm and the side of your torso.

Learn the Best Breastfeeding Positions and Holds

Best for: Full-term babies and babies that have stronger necks since it may be challenging to guide a newborn mouth to your nipple.

Not best for: Mommies that have had a Cesarean section since most of the weight will be on the abdomen.

The Cross-Cradle Hold

Using most of the same steps as the Cradle Hold, you use your thumb and fingers and position them behind your baby’s head, just below the ears and guide his head onto your breast when you see his mouth open wide. You may need to tickle his lips with your nipple to entice him to open his mouth. Since your hand will remain behind the baby’s head during the entire feeding, it will probably get tired! An easy remedy is to position your pillow up under your hand or use a rolled-up towel to hold and support your hand.

Learn the Best Breastfeeding Positions and Holds

Best for:

* This is a great hold for a newborn and babies that are still learning how to latch on properly.

* This is also a great hold for nursing in public since you won’t have a pillow and your hand does most of the work

The Football Hold (or Rugby, depending on where you’re from!)

Now keep in mind there’s no running involved with this one. Instead of zooming down a field, use that comfortable chair with your pillow on your lap. Tuck your baby under your arm with his legs resting up on the back of your chair, much like he’s sitting down. While supporting his head with your hand, guide his mouth onto your breast. For the best latch, squeeze your breast like a sandwich and guide your baby’s mouth from bottom to top. Chin, bottom lip, top lip and finally nose.

Learn the Best Breastfeeding Positions and Holds

The chin and nose should always be touching your breast. If they are not touching your breast, the latch is too shallow and can cause damage to your nipple. Break the latch seal with a clean finger inserted into the corner of his mouth until you hear the suction release and try the latch again. Be sure to use your forearm to support your baby’s back.

Best for:

* This is a great position (hold) if you’ve had a c-section since the baby does not touch your stomach.

* Works well for babies that have trouble latching on since you can easily guide your baby’s mouth properly to your breast

* Very comfortable position for a mother with twins

* Works well for mommies with flat nipples or are large breasted

The Reclining Position

A wonderfully comfortable position for mom and baby since both of you are lying down on your bed. You may find it more comfortable with a bunch of pillows behind your back for support (you may want to ask your partner to help you position the pillows). Put a pillow under your head, you may want to put a pillow between your knees as well… remember to keep your back and hips in a straight line. Have your baby laying on her side, facing you, pull her close into you, you may need to use your hand (whichever is most comfortable) or a small blanket folded to lift your baby’s head so the baby isn’t straining to reach you and you are not bending down to her.

Learn the Best Breastfeeding Positions and Holds

Best for:

* Recovering from a Cesarean section

* Feeding during the night or the day