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Breastfeeding Advisor

How to hold your baby

Hold your baby appropriately so that you can breastfeed comfortably

Mothers generally breastfeed their babies 8-12 times a day, for 10-30 minutes each time. This means that it is important for the mothers to be able to feel relaxed in a stress-free environment so that they can continue to breastfeed.

Holding your baby appropriately (positioning) and helping your baby suck on the nipple (latch on) are very important for smooth breastfeeding. Appropriate positioning and latching on will help prevent various problems and reduce risks, will help the baby drink breastmilk effectively and will reduce stress on the mother's breasts. Here we will introduce specific tips for breastfeeding.

Basic positioning

How to hold your baby (positioning)

Positioning involves holding the baby appropriately while breastfeeding, and also maintaining the appropriate posture while breastfeeding. There are 3 main ways to position your baby, and for all of them, the following items are important.

The mother feels relaxed and comfortable while reclining against cushions or a wall.
The baby is awake and calm, and is not crying.

The mother and baby are in close contact with each other, and the baby's head is aligned with the baby's body; the ears, shoulders and lower back form a straight line, facing the breast.

When supporting the breast in one hand, the fingers should be far enough away from the areola. Support the entire breast with your hand; don't just squeeze the nipple with two fingers to push it out. (You won’t always need to support your breast with your hand).

Find the posture that is most comfortable for you based on the above criteria.

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Basic positioning

  • 1. Side hold/cradle hold
    Hold the baby at breast level; your stomach and that of your baby should be close together, with the baby facing you. Support your baby’s head on the arm that is on the same side as the breast you are nursing with. This is one of the most common breastfeeding positions.
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  • 2. Cross cradle hold/transitional hold
    In this position, you support the baby’s head (base of the neck) using the arm on the opposite side of the breast you are nursing with. Support that breast with the opposite hand with which you are holding your baby.

    Babies sometimes don’t like it if you press too strongly on their heads, and this position is good for such babies. It is a better position for babies who have difficulty latching on and for babies with low birth weight, and you can control the movement of your baby’s head better. You can shift to the more common cradle hold after the baby has latched on tightly and started to drink.
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  • 3. Clutch hold/football hold
    Support the breast with the hand on the opposite side of the breast your baby is nursing from, and support the baby's head and body with the other hand. Your baby’s legs will pass under the arm supporting the baby, and point toward the rear. Hold your baby close to your side.

    This positioning is good for babies who have difficulty latching on, for babies with delicate health, and if you have to breastfeed from different directions because of nipple or breast problems. It is also good for mothers with Caesarean scars, since the baby won’t be pressing directly against the abdominal area.
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  • 4. Straddle hold
    Sit the baby on your knee and support the baby's head and shoulders. This position is better for babies who have difficulty latching on firmly, and for smaller babies.
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Some mothers also take the following action when breastfeeding.
Because the mother’s clothes can cover the baby’s face and prevent the baby from latching on, the mothers use rubber bands or hair clips to fasten their clothing back.

We hope that both mother and baby will find positions for breastfeeding that are comfortable for them.

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