The Cross-Cradle Hold
Dr Joshi says, “The mother should remember that at the side she is offering to breastfeed, that hand should hold the breast and the opposite hand should be used to hold the baby. The baby rests in the web between the thumb and index finger, and four fingers will rest on the side of the lower cheek.” Tickle the lips of the baby and wait until the baby opens the mouth wide. As part of the rooting reflex, the baby’s mouth will open wide. This may take a few minutes to happen. Bring your baby to the breast and not the other way around, so as to avoid any back or neck pain.
The cross-cradle hold allows you to have more control over how efficiently the baby latches on. Many mothers find it comfortable to hold their baby and they latch on more deeply. Dr Joshi recommends, “It can be easier for the mother to latch the baby in this position because it gives her more control in guiding her baby to the breast.”
Sitting in this position for a long time, with her arm out like a wing, there’s a good chance that a mother’s shoulder and arm will start to ache. Even a subtle shift can allow the breast to change position, causing the nipple to start to slide to the front of baby’s mouth. This will lead to a distraction and he will eventually come off the breast. Mothers also have the tendency to push the baby’s head into the breast during the switch, rather than just his body. If you do this, your baby will not be able to breathe with his head pushed into the breast. The switch needs to be quick and smooth.
Dr Joshi says, “It is good for premature babies and smaller babies, and for babies with low muscle tone.” It is ideal for early breastfeeding and, also works best for babies who face latching issues.