Many new mothers assume that breastfeeding correctly is as easy as it looks. But while newborn babies can nurse instinctively, it often takes new moms a little longer to get the hang of breastfeeding. It's important for you and your baby to be comfy during feedings, so play around with these holds to find what works best for the two of you.
Cradle: This position is the most commonly used one after the first few weeks of breastfeeding. How it works: With your baby lying on his side, hold him across your lap (use a pillow to bring him up to breast height) so that his head is resting on your forearm. If you are feeding with your left breast, your baby should be cradled in your left arm. Use your other hand to support your breast with either the "c" hold (your thumb on top of your breast, your four fingers underneath) or the "u" hold (your breast is supported between your thumb and index finger).
Cross Cradle: Many moms prefer this position during the first few weeks since it offers the most control. To try it: Position your baby as you would for the cradle, but with your hands reversed. For example, if you are feeding from the left breast, support your baby with your right hand. Support your left breast with a "u" hold in your left hand.
Clutch or Football Hold: This is a good position if you've had a c-section since it will keep your baby away from your incision. How to do it: Position your baby on a pillow at your side. He should be facing you with his bottom near your elbow and his legs and feet tucked under your arm. Support your breast with a "c" hold.
Side-Lying Position: Great for nighttime feedings. To try it, lie on your side with your baby on his side facing you. Cradle him in your arm with his back along your forearm. You can position a pillow beneath your head or back to make yourself more comfortable. A pillow behind your baby's back can prevent him from rolling away as he's feeding. --Kristen Finello
Copyright 2009 Meredith Corporation.