Choosing a breastfeeding hold

Why are there different holds?

There are many breastfeeding holds because every mother and baby pair is unique. The hold a mother uses depends on her breast size, the size of her tummy, the age and strength of the baby, the number of babies, the frequency that the baby chokes at the breast, or having or not having nipple pain. The most common holds are thecradle, cross-cradle, under-arm, side-lying, and laid-back holds. Mothers may use different holds in the course of one day and hold preferences may change as the baby grows.

A) Why mothers choose different breastfeeding holds

A breastfeeding hold is the technique used by the mother to position the baby while breastfeeding.

Every mother and baby pair is unique. The breastfeeding hold you choose may depend on:

  • Your breast size and length.
  • The size of your tummy.
  • The sensitivity of your tummy if you have had a Caesarean section birth.
  • The presence of nipple pain or damage.
  • The number of babies you are breastfeeding
  • The energy and strength of your baby.
  • How often your baby chokes at the breast.
  • The age of your baby.
  • Your use of the sandwich technique to protect your nipples or help your baby breastfeed.

B) Choosing a breastfeeding hold

There are many breastfeeding holds. The most common are the cradlecross-cradleunder-arm, side-lying, and laid-back holds. The following table has suggestions for choosing a hold. 

Table: Choosing a Breastfeeding Hold

(Links to more information about the topics in the above table: larger breasts; premature, sleepy newborn, or sick babies; twins; tandem breastfeeding)

Mothers may use different holds in the course of one day and hold preferences may change as the baby grows. Always ensure that the hold you choose allows for proper positioning.