For new mamas, it can be hard to get started breastfeeding. That’s because your boobs are so different now. I never had big ones until I had kids. Mine were huge and heavy with milk.
When babies are newborns, this can be a lot for them to handle. It helps to know how to support your bulky breasts so your baby can latch on properly.
So, you’re wondering if you always need to hold your breasts while breastfeeding, aren’t you? Well guess what…you don’t have to! Most mamas only need to hold their breasts for a short time until things balance out.
That means as your boobs even out and your baby gets bigger, it will be naturally easier for you both, and you can get back to a hands-free nursing style.
What holding positions should I use for my breasts when nursing a newborn?
Most commonly, you’ll either rely on the C-hold or the V-hold. These are named for the shape of your hand when holding your breast.
Which is best? You’ll have to try and see which one is most comfortable and effective for you. Let’s talk about them!
This one is also called the palmer grasp and is the most commonly used hand position for holding/squeezing your breast during breastfeeding.
To do it correctly, you’ll want your breast to be in the palm of your hand with your thumb on top of it.
Now, cup your fingers around the bottom of your breast. Your hand will look like you’re making a C.
But that’s not all. You will want to keep your thumb and fingers just behind your areola, so they don’t block the way for your baby. Now you can control your breast movement and help direct the nipple toward your baby’s mouth.
You’ll be able to get your baby to latch this way correctly. Please remember that you should bring the baby to your breast and not the other way around. With this hold, it serves as a guide to help steer the baby as she arrives at your breast. It can also help get the milk moving.
The C-hold is great if your breasts are huge because you can squeeze your fingers and thumb to help flatten things down. Give it a try!
Oh, and the U-hold is like a variation of that C, but gives better support from the underside. That’s one to try too!
Now, if your breasts are small or your hands are big, the V-hold might be more suitable. The V-hold is often called the scissor grasp and can be helpful if you’re having trouble getting a latch.
You’ll hold your nipple and areola between your index and middle fingers, so your thumb and index finger are on top of your breast.
Your remaining fingers should be on the underside of the breast, making your hand look like a scissor. I recommend trying this in front of a mirror so you can see what I mean.
Next, you will need to spread your index and middle fingers as far apart as you can to get them out of the way of your areola. Having your fingers too close to this area would prevent your baby from getting that proper latch.
And there you have it! These two holds can help you get things going with breastfeeding a newborn. If you feel annoyed that you can’t do anything but breastfeed because your hands are occupied, I feel ya. Try putting in earbuds and listening to a book recording or your favorite music. Or put something on the TV.
Before you know it, your little one won’t need your help holding the boobs, and you will be able to nurse without using a hold!
Leslie Berry lives with her husband and two young daughters in Los Altos, California, where she loves helping other moms get comfortable with motherhood and embracing the insanity with facts peppered with laughs.
She loves eating too much sushi, exercising, and jamming out on her Fender. Read more about Leslie here.