Breast-feeding seems like it should be a no-brainer.
You have breasts, you put the baby on a boob, the baby does its thing, the end. But it’s rarely that simple. Holding your baby in a way that makes feeding easiest for them and for you isn't necessarily straightforward. Luckily women before us figured it out and broke it down, with the following breast-feeding positions.
The four holds recommended by The Mayo Clinic are:
- the cradle hold
- the cross-cradle hold
- the football hold
- the lying hold
The Mayo Clinic also has recommendations for breast-feeding twins.
1. The Cradle Hold
The cradle hold is a classic. It's the OG of breast-feeding holds.
To do this hold comfortably, you should sit in a char with armrests or an area with lots of pillows to prop your arms on. Babies may be tiny, but holding them in one position for a long time can be hard on your arms and back. So get comfortable, mama.
Sit up straight, and support your baby's head in the crook of your arm. Your baby's body should be on its side and turned towards you, with their arm closest to you, tucked down underneath. Hold your baby on your lap or lay them on a pillow on your lap — whichever is more comfortable.
2. The Cross-Cradle Hold
As you can tell by the name, the cross-cradle hold is just like the cradle hold, only...crossed. What that means is that instead of resting your baby's head in the crook of your arm, you're supporting their tiny baby behind.
Sit up straight and hold your baby so that their bottom is in the crook of your arm and their head is at the breast you want to feed them from (the opposite breast from the side of the supporting arm).
You'll also be holding their head with the hand of the supporting arm, so again, making sure you have armrests or pillows is important. Your free arm will be used to hold your feeding breast from underneath in a position that makes it easier for your baby to latch on.
3. The Football Hold
You don’t have to be a sports fan to master the football hold.
In a chair with armrests or using supportive pillows, hold your baby at your side with your arm bent and your palm facing up. Your baby's back will be on your forearm and their head will be in your hand. Use that hand to bring the baby to your breast and, if you'd like, the other hand to hold the breast from underneath.
4. The Lying Hold
Now this is a breast-feeding hold. It's rare that you can combine parenting and lying down, so take advantage of it when you can. It's a great hold to use when you're really, really tired. And that will be all the time.
For this hold, lie on your side and hold your baby against you. With your free arm, help put the baby on the bottom breast. Once the baby latches, you can use your upper arm to support them while your lower arm grabs a pillow and holds it to your sleepy head.
If mastering the art of breast-feeding can be challenging with just one new baby, it may seem twice as daunting with two! But mothers of twins can make feedings not only manageable, but successful.
Here’s what to know about breast-feeding your twins, plus a few positions to keep everyone comfortable.
Breast-Feeding Your Twins Separately
As you begin breast-feeding, it’s best to nurse each twin separately. That way, you can focus on how well your babies each latch and feed.
The Mayo Clinic advises tracking your babies’ feeding habits by recording how long and how often they both nurse, plus keeping a tally of wet and poopy diapers. For pumped milk, track how much each baby takes in a feeding.
As you become more familiar with breast-feeding your babies, you can experiment with nursing them both at the same time. For some moms, this is a convenient timesaver. Others find that their babies prefer nursing individually, and that’s fine, too. You might try nursing your babies individually during the day, and both of them at the same time at night.
Remember, there’s no wrong way to breast-feed your twins, as long as both babies are thriving and you’re comfortable.
Positions for Breast-Feeding Twins
If you’d like to try breast-feeding your twins at the same time, here are a few positions to consider. The important thing is finding a position that’s comfortable for you and allows your babies to latch well.
- Double-football hold: Place a pillow on both sides of your body and across your lap. Tuck each baby on the pillows against your sides with their feet pointing away from you. You’ll support each baby’s back with your forearms, using the pillows to support your arms. Your babies’ bottoms will fit into the insides of your elbows, and their heads will be at nipple level. Hold the back of each baby’s head to provide support. You can also try laying your babies on pillows in front of you. Turn their bodies in toward you, using your palms to support their heads.
- Cradle-clutch hold: In this position, one baby is tucked against you in the cradle position, while the other baby is against you in the clutch position explained above. This is a good option if you have one baby with a particularly good latch (put that baby in the cradle position).
As you begin, it’s helpful to have an extra set of hands to help you get all those pillows and babies situated. And if one baby takes more time to latch properly, try latching them first. Then relax and enjoy.