Positioning the baby at the breast

Different women find different positions comfortable. Here's a sampling of breast-feeding positions to try:

The cross-cradle hold

Bring your baby across the front of your body, tummy to tummy. Hold your baby with the arm opposite to the breast you're feeding with. Support the

back of the baby's head with your open hand. This hold allows you especially good control as you position your baby to latch on.

The cradle hold

Cradle your baby in an arm, with your baby's head resting comfortably in the crook of the elbow on the same side as the breast you're feeding with. Your forearm supports your baby's back. Your open hand supports your baby's bottom.

The football (clutch) hold

In this position you hold your baby in much the same way a running back tucks a football under the arm. Hold your baby at your side on one arm, with your elbow bent and your open hand firmly supporting your baby's head faceup at the level of your breast. Your baby's torso will rest on your forearm. Put a pillow at your side to support your arm. A chair with broad, low arms works best.

With your free hand, gently squeeze your breast to align your nipple horizontally. Move your baby to your breast until the nipple meets the lips. When your baby's mouth opens, pull her or him in close to latch on snugly.

Because the baby isn't positioned near the abdomen, the football hold is popular among mothers recovering from Caesarean births. It's also a frequent choice of women who have large breasts or who are nursing prema-

Side-lying hold

Side-lying hold

Although most new mothers learn to breast-feed in a sitting position, at times you may prefer to nurse while lying down. For example, lying down might be the best position if your baby prefers to snack and doze at the breast. A lying position may help you in getting your baby correctly connected in the early days of breast-feeding, or when you both may simply be tired. Use the hand of your lower arm to help keep your baby's head positioned at your breast.

With your upper arm and hand, reach across your body and grasp your breast, touching your nipple to your baby's lips. After your baby latches on firmly, you can use your lower arm to support your own head and your upper hand and arm to help support your baby.

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