Another upright position to try when youâre breastfeeding is the cradle hold. Not be confused with cross cradle (which Iâll explain in a minute) though theyâre both really similar.
Like the football hold, I just discussed, this upright position might be best for you if you use a pillow to help prop your baby up. Some moms have no trouble at all holding a baby in their arms during each feeding. But even really fit moms grow weary after some time. What matters most during each breastfeeding session beyond getting that perfect latch for your baby is your comfort.
If youâre not comfortable, then your milk isnât going to let-down as quickly. So get comfortable and get ready to find out more about the cradle hold.
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When You Should Use the Cradle Hold
The cradle hold is best in the weeks following birth while your baby is small. In fact, at this time, you likely will be fine without any added support. But babies grow fast, and they can get heavy. At that point, you may opt for a position that takes the stress off of you or rely heavily on a breastfeeding pillow to help you out.
If youâve had a c-section like me, you will likely want to use the football hold instead. Go ahead and try the cradle hold, but you may feel too tender in your abdomen to want anything near it, no matter how cute that thing is. For me, I was just too sensitive after each surgery, so I didnât use the cradle hold until my girls got a bit bigger.
The cradle hold gets its name because youâre mostly cradling your babyâs head in the crook of your arm.
How to Use the Cradle Hold
When cradling your baby in your arms, you should be sure heâs lying on his side with his whole front body touching the front of yours (exactly why c-section moms might want to wait until theyâve healed first!). Pillows always make this a more comfortable position. Even if you didnât have a c-section, you might feel tired from giving birth and that overall lack of sleep that comes with having a baby and those pillows help a lot.
Plus, pillows make it easier to quickly get your baby in line with nipple height and avoid any delays. Once baby is level, grasp your breast with a âCâ or âUâ hold, whichever feels most comfortable to you.
To know youâre doing it right, you should only see the side of your baby when youâre feeding him in this position. His ear, shoulder, and hips should fall into a straight line.
Whatâs the Difference with the Cross Cradle Hold?
You can go ahead and laugh at me. Let it out. Because when I was pregnant with my first and studying breastfeeding positions, I honestly couldnât understand what was different between the cradle hold and the cross cradle.
If you canât tell either, well, Iâm certainly not going to laugh at you. Maybe itâs because trying to hold my girls in this way was too painful for me initially, but it took me some time to realize that the only difference between them was that you use the opposite arm from the breast you’re nursing from to support your baby. In the cradle hold, youâre holding them in the crook of your arm on the same side youâre breastfeeding from.
The difference is very slight, but it may be very beneficial to moms with smaller babies. It can also be easier to get a good latch in this position. Itâs certainly worth trying!
None of It Matters Without the Latch
Cradle hold or cross-cradle hold, or any other breastfeeding position for that matter, you MUST get that perfect latch. I talk about it in great detail, but I urge you to contact a breastfeeding coach to help you.
Iâve written about my breastfeeding coach, Vivien, and how she helped me ensure I got my eldest on a proper latch. Nothing matters until you get it just right, and trust me, once you do, breastfeeding becomes so simple.
Once you know what itâs supposed to feel like, you will always know your baby is getting your nourishing breast milk. Your supplies will grow with his demand as he nurses, but only with the right latch.
Part of getting it right is being comfortable yourself, so please donât force yourself into positions you donât like. Yes, you need your baby to latch on, but if you feel awkwardly positioned, it will be hard for your milk to flow. It flows best when you relax.
Speaking of that, it is usually elementary to get a good latch each time youâre at home. But when you go somewhere with your baby for the first time, you might feel a little prick of stage fright. Yes, breastfeeding in public is legal in all 50 states, and you have rights, but youâll feel like everyone is staring at you. Or maybe that was just me living in China.
Wherever you are, do yourself a favor before your first outing. Practice different breastfeeding positions. Find what feels right for you. If you need a Boppy or some other pillow, put it in your diaper bag before you go out.
Feeling comfortable with upright positions while out in the world will make it easier for you to enjoy your time outside the home with your baby, and allow you to show him all the beautiful things worth discovering out there!