Learning how to hold and support your baby in a comfortable position for you calls for coordination and patience. Yet finding a nursing hold that works for you and your infant is well worth the effort. After all, the two of you will spend hours breastfeeding every day.
This classic breastfeeding position requires you to cradle your baby’s head with the crook of your arm. Sit in a chair that has supportive armrests or on a bed with lots of pillows. Rest your feet on a stool, coffee table, or other raised surface to avoid leaning down toward your baby. Hold her in your lap so that she’s lying on her side with her face, stomach, and knees directly facing you. Tuck her lower arm under your own. If she’s nursing on the right breast, rest her head in the crook of your right arm. Extend your forearm and hand down her back to support her neck, spine, and bottom. Secure her knees against your body, across or just below your left breast. She should lie horizontally, or at a slight angle. d a cesarean section may find it puts too much pressure on their abdomen (1a).
Another position is the cross-cradle hold. This position differs from the cradle hold in that you don’t support your baby’s head with the crook of your arm. Instead, your arms switch roles. If you’re nursing from your right breast, use your left hand and arm to hold your baby. Rotate her body so her chest and tummy are directly facing you. With your thumb and fingers behind her head and below her ears, guide her mouth to your breast (1b).
Next is the clutch or football hold. As the name suggests, in this position you tuck your baby under your arm, on the same side that you’re nursing from like a football or handbag. First, position your baby at your side, under your arm. She should be facing you with her nose level with your nipple and her feet pointing toward your back. Rest your arm on a pillow in your lap or right beside you, and support your baby’s shoulders, neck, and head with your hand. Guide her to your nipple, chin first (1c).
Finally is the lying position. Ask your partner or helper to place several pillows behind your back for support. You can put a pillow under your head and shoulders, and one between your bent knees, too. The goal is to keep your back and hips in a straight line. With your baby facing you, draw her close and cradle her head with the hand of your bottom arm. Or, cradle her head with your top arm, tucking your bottom arm under your head, out of the way (1d).