Whether you are a first time mom or you’re holding your fifth baby for the first time, breastfeeding is an amazing adventure unlike any other. However, just because nursing is natural doesn’t mean that it will come naturally.
Many moms become discouraged when they experience difficulties, not realize that breastfeeding comes with a wide learning curve. It requires time, patience, and effort, as well as a lot of trial and error, to come to a place where you are truly able to establish a breastfeeding routine. Even so, as little ones grow, their nursing habits shift and change - as will your breastfeeding techniques and strategies.
It is important to find the position that will best help your baby have a deep latch while breastfeeding. Fortunately, there are a few different ways that you can hold your baby during nursing sessions so that it is both comfortable for you and productive for them.
Football Hold or Side Hold
The “Football Hold” is one of the very first positions that new moms learn while still in the hospital. Lactation consultants often recommend this hold for newborns who are just learning how to latch. In this position, you would hold your baby off to the side, tucked snuggly under your arm, while cradling their body and supporting their head. In this position, your other arm can be freely used to support your breast and help your little one gain a deep latch.
If you are holding your baby on your left side, they will latch onto your left breast, and you can use your right hand for support. The football hold is also a highly recommended position for moms who are recovering from C-sections, as it is a great way to keep pressure away from the incision site!
The “Cross-Cradle Hold” is the most popular nursing position. Moms prefer this hold because your baby is draped across your lap during nursing sessions, so it is easy to see what is going on in front of you and ensure that your little one is latching during breastfeeding correctly. In the cross-cradle position, you are holding your baby “tummy to tummy,” with your belly against theirs.
To nurse using this hold, you will want to bring your baby across the front of your body, while supporting their neck. If you are nursing on your right side, you would hold your little one with your left arm and support your breast with your right hand. While at home, this position is perfect for use with a breastfeeding pillow, especially during long nursing sessions and as your baby grows and becomes heavier to hold.
Also, while breastfeeding in public, many moms feel the most comfortable using the cross-cradle position. If you choose to use a nursing cover, this position is the most convenient, while also being the most discreet if not using a cover (as your baby’s head will cover the majority of your breast).
The “Cradle Hold” is great for newborns! It is very similar to the cross-cradle, but instead of supporting your baby with the arm opposite of the side you are feeding on, you would support your little one with the same arm. The best nursing pillows are also very beneficial while breastfeeding in this position, as they can help support your elbows and lift your baby up to breast height.
The “Koala Hold,” also known as upright breastfeeding, is ideal for babies who are struggling with reflux or GERD. In this position, your baby would be sitting upright, while facing you and straddling your thigh. Similar to the football hold, you would support your baby with the arm on the same side that they are feeding, and support your breast with your opposite hand. This position is great for both a baby who needs head support or for an older baby who can sit upright on their own.
Utilizing a Nursing Pillow
The Infantino Elevate Adjustable Nursing Pillow™ can provide more nursing-position options for moms than traditional breastfeeding pillows can. Through its uniquely layered design, the nursing pillow easily adjusts and raises babies to breast height with three different elevation levels. Furthermore, as little ones continue to grow, the height of the nursing pillow can easily be changed to adjust to their size.
The flexible design allows you to breastfeed or bottle feed with your baby across your lap (cradle and cross-cradle) or at your side (football hold). In addition, the Infantino Elevate Adjustable Nursing Pillow provides support for the Koala hold (upright nursing) when it is at full elevation.
This amazing pillow is completely machine washable and dryable, and folds easily for compact storage between nursing sessions. We are confident that you will love the customizable and flexible support, no matter which position you find most comfortable for nursing!