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Health & Baby

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Breast-Feeding Positions - Topic Overview

Football hold

In the football hold camera.gif, you sit on a bed or sofa. Your baby is tucked under your arm and lying along the side you will be feeding on, with his or her chest facing your chest. The baby's head is in your hand (on the same side as the breast being used), and the upper body is supported by your arm or a pillow. With that hand you can control the baby's head to bring the baby's mouth in quickly for a deep latch. Your other hand reaches across to support and narrow your breast. Use pillows to help support the baby.

The football hold is similar to the cross-cradle hold. But because the baby is not resting on the abdomen, the football position is useful for women who delivered by cesarean delivery. It also works well for breast-feeding twins or for babies who have trouble taking enough of the areola (the dark circle around the nipple) into their mouths. Large-breasted women also often find this a comfortable breast-feeding position.

Side-lying position

In the side-lying position camera.gif, you and your baby lie on your sides with your chests facing each other. Place pillows behind the baby for support. Your baby's mouth should be close to your nipple. The hand on your top side supports your lower breast and guides it into your infant's mouth as you roll toward your rooting baby. After the baby has latched on, use this arm to cuddle and bring your baby closer to you.

You can also place your baby on a firm pillow by your side. Offer the upper breast for feeding. Having the baby on the pillow can help some very large- or small-breasted women see their baby more easily.

The side-lying position is a good option when you have delivered by cesarean delivery or when you are tired.

Australian hold

In the Australian hold camera.gif, your baby is held vertically and straddles your thigh, facing you. Your knee supports your baby on his or her bottom, while one hand is low on the baby's head to give control as you bring your baby to the breast to latch. It may work best to have your baby sitting slightly "side-saddle." The other hand (on the same side as the breast being used) supports the breast to help the baby form a good, deep latch on the areola.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 04, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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