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Proper positioning is key to obtaining a proper latch; and both positioning and latch are key to effective breastfeeding. The cross-over hold, also known as the cross-cradle hold, is one of the best breastfeeding positions in the early weeks of breastfeeding.
The cross-cradle hold allows for mom to support and control baby's head and neck which are very weak in the early weeks of life. This hold resembles the cradle hold except you will use the opposite arm to hold your baby.
Follow these steps to correctly position your baby in the cross-over hold:
- Place your baby across your stomach in a “tummy-to-tummy” position (baby’s tummy is facing your tummy).
- Use your arm (the one opposite from the breast that you will be feeding from) to hold your baby. Rest your fingers behind your baby's ears.
- Use your hand to support your baby’s head and neck with your forearm supporting his/her back and bottom.
- Use a pillow under your arm and your baby for support if needed.
- Your baby's hip, shoulder and ear should be in alignment.
- Be sure to position your baby so that your baby’s NOSE is directly in front of your nipple.
- Use your opposite hand (the one on the same side as the breast you are using to nurse) to maneuver your breast.
- Compress and shape your breast to fit the size of your baby's mouth; your fingers should be parallel to baby's lips (think of when you eat a sandwich and compress the breast as you would if eating a sandwich). Be sure your fingers are not directly on your areola since this can interfere with your baby’s latch. Compress the breast by making a "U" with your hand. Place your thumb on the outer, side margin of your areola (the dark area around your nipple) and the remaining fingers should be placed on the inner, side margin of the areola. (Depending on your baby's position at the breast, a "C" hold of the breast can also be used. Again, remember to compress the breast to fit baby's mouth. To compress your breast using the "C" hold, place your thumb on the top margin of your areola and the remaining fingers under the lower margin of your areola). Be sure your fingers are not directly on your areola since this can interfere with your baby’s latch.
- Bring your baby to your breast (instead of bringing your breast to your baby) and stimulate your baby to open his/her mouth by stroking your nipple from your baby’s nose down to his/her chin. This “up-to-down” motion helps stimulate your baby to open his/her mouth wide.
- When your baby has opened his/her mouth wide and the tongue is down, quickly (and gently) bring your baby to your breast.
| How to Breastfeed: Breastfeeding Cross Cradle Hold|