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How to Cross Cradle Hold a Baby for Breastfeeding

Learn how to breastfeed your baby using the cross cradle hold from lactation consultant Melissa K. Nagin in this Howcast video.


The cross-cradle position is really one of the better positions for a newborn baby.

You'll want to put the baby, again, the baby's going to be at breast height, but, you're going to want to put the baby's tush right in the crook of your arm. Your forearm goes up the length of their back and their head is going to be supported behind their ears with your thumb and your forefinger.

And, you're going to come around with your other hand underneath in a U shape. Not a C, but a U shape to make a sandwich for the baby to latch on to.

Just like you would eat a sandwich and you make it that much more compact to be able to latch on to it. If the baby's lying on their side, we want to come around and make a breast sandwich with a U to make that latch a lot easier.

And, you'll touch the nipple to the baby's mouth, very quickly, to illicit an open mouth. And then, when we see that mouth open wide. Wide, wide, wide. Then we can give the baby a nice little push just from, we're bringing the entire body in straight. You're not knocking the head. It's the entire body in straight.

And that's why you have your arm positioned the way you do. To give the baby's body that much support. And then they latch. And then they go.

It's one of the easier positions to use for a normal size baby. If we're looking at a six, seven, eight pounder it's usually easier because we have better control.

A lot of times, with smaller babies, we'll flip around to a football hold. Because we have, it might be an easier latch in that case.

Sometimes, anatomically, it depends on the mom's breast and how they're structured. If you have a mom with widely spaced breasts that are, sort of, angling out to the side, it might be easier to actually have a football hold.

If, the mom's breasts are a little bit more, sort of, face forward, it might be easier to be in the cross-cradle. It really depends on the anatomy of the mom.

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