The Cradle Hold
This position is a classic breastfeeding position and is popular during the first few weeks of nursing, particularly when you are just getting comfortable with your new job. Dr Joyce Jayaseelan, lactation consultant, Fortis Hospital, Bengaluru, explains, “You need to cradle your baby’s head with the crook of the arm. Hold the baby in your lap, adjust the baby in a way that the face, stomach and knees are directly facing you.” Adding further, Dr Kiran Coelho, consultant gynecology and obstetrics, Hinduja Hospital, Mumbai, says, “You need to sit upright in a comfortable chair with armrests. Position your baby’s head in the bend of your elbow on the side you will be breastfeeding. Cup your breast with your other hand, placing your thumb above the nipple and areola at the spot where your baby’s nose will touch your breast. Lightly compress your breast so that the nipple points slightly towards your baby’s nose, and he is now ready to latch.” You may also take support of a pillow and place it on your lap.
Dr Mughda Joshi, a certified lactation consultant and a pediatric nutritionist, says, “It is a comfortable position for mothers who may have a weak wrist joint. These mothers can use the cross-cradle hold to get the baby well-latched, then slide their other arm under the baby so they finish the feeding in the more comfortable cradle position.” It is an ideal position because it allows mums to hold the baby closely and support them, particularly when they are newborns as they are incapable of holding themselves up in any way. “The position also improves the baby’s ability to latch on because they will be able to tilt their head back a little,” says Dr Jayaseelan.
Dr Joshi explains, “It can be a challenge for new and inexperienced mothers to learn. It may not be the best choice if the mother and baby are experiencing any problems with latch-on, milk transfer or if the mother has sore nipples.” It is slightly difficult to control the baby’s head when nursing in this position. Dr Coelho advises, “Women who have had a C-section may feel too much pressure on their abdomen.” It is advisable to lean towards your baby to avoid any stress.
This position is apt for full-term babies who are delivered vaginally. Dr Jayaseelan says, “It is a recommended hold when your baby has strong neck muscles. Older babies can latch on easily.”