During a breast/chest feeding class you’ll likely learn about some common holds like the cross-cradle and the football. A lot of these holds are based on bottle feeding. Once your baby gets a little older and has more head control, the holds may be handy, but in the beginning, they can actually prevent them from using their instincts.
Your baby has special pressure points on their feet, knees, ribs, and wrists that help them stabilize their body and find your nipple all on their own. You can access these pressure points by laying back and putting your baby tummy down on your body. When we use some of the commons holds, we are often holding our baby with lots of touch on their back and head which doesn’t allow them to stabilize themselves. This laid-back feeding has been called the Turtle Method – on their back a turtle will flail and can’t move around, but on their stomachs, they do quite well.
In the laid-back position, you body is supporting your baby. This gives your arms freedom and you can eat, drink, check you phone, etc. It’s also a much more relaxing position – remember you’re recovering from birth; even a 7-pound baby gets very heavy if you’re holding them for hours! Your baby will be able to get a deeper latch using gravity to help them plus being in the position counts as tummy time, which helps them develop head and neck control.
The basic steps are:
- Body – lay back comfortably with pillows under your arms and back to support you.
- Baby – place your baby on their tummy so that the pressure points are touching your body.
- Breast/chest – as your baby approaches your nipple, adjust your breast/chest to make it easy to access.
You can place your baby:
- sideways across your stomach – this is a good position if you have a cesarean incision.
- straight up and down your body – their legs would be near your waist.
- up over your shoulder – if you have a pillow behind your back, your baby could actually be coming from the top down!
Here is a link to an excellent video about the laid-back feeding position.
So lay back and get comfortable, and let your baby do their thing!