Dancer hand hold

What is the dancer-hand hold?

The dancer-hand hold is a hand position that allows the mother to support her breast and the baby’s cheeks and jaw at the same time. Her thumb and pointer finger support the baby’s cheeks, the area between the thumb and pointer finger supports the jaw, and the other fingers support the breast. The hold is used for babies with limited muscle strength. Pressure on the baby’s cheeks and jaw supports the sucking, and the fingers on the breast ensure that the baby and breast are lined up. The hold is named after the hand position of a ballerina.

A) Describing the dancer-hand hold

The dancer hand position for weak babies: The mother's hand is applied both to the baby's face and to the mother's breast. This stabilizes both while supporting the baby's cheeks.

The dancer-hand hold is named after the hand position of a classical ballerina. It allows the mother to use her hand to support the baby’s cheeks and jaw and keep the baby and breast lined up.

B) Using the dancer-hand hold

In the dancer-hand hold:

  • The thumb and pointer (index) finger support the baby’s cheeks.
  • The part of the hand between the thumb and pointer finger supports the baby’s jaw.
  • The middle, ring, and small fingers support the breast.

The gently pressure on the baby’s cheeks and jaw supports the baby’s sucking, and the fingers on the breast ensure that the baby and breast are lined up and stay together as a unit.

When using the dancer-hand hold, the baby is commonly breastfed in the under-arm hold. 

C) Reasons for using the dancer-hand hold

There is very little research on the benefits of using the dancer-hand hold.

The dancer-hand hold has been recommended by practitioners for babies with limited muscle strength, such as those born premature or who have illnesses affecting muscle strength, such as Down syndrome.