Tips & tricks on breastfeeding football hold for proper “deep” baby latching

Ahmed FawziStandard0 Comments



Breastfeeding football hold is one of the popular nursing positions during breastfeeding journey.

Plus it has many names like:

  • Rugby position breastfeeding
  • Clutch hold breastfeeding
  • Underarm nursing hold

So, we decided at breastfeedo to make this step by step tutorial to make you master the football nursing hold and to guarantee the deep baby latch.


We always recommend the expert support when it comes to breastfeeding issues and problems of latching.

The help of IBCLC “lactation consultant” is the best money investment ever to succeed in your breastfeeding experience.


How to do football hold breastfeeding?

  • Your baby’s side is by your side.
  • Baby’s body is facing you.
  • Your back is straight.
  • Support your baby’s latch by the hand of the same side.
  • Baby’s head and neck are on the same straight line.
  • A pillow” of any type” would make it easier for supporting your back.
  • Another pillow under your baby to adjust the proper height to reach the breast.


the football-hold-during-breastfeeding


Benefits of football/clutch hold breastfeeding

The football nursing hold is one of the easiest nursing positions for new moms.

Also, it is the best position when:

  1. After c-section, where no load on your stomach.
  2. Mother with large breasts can benefit from this position as she can define the signs of good latching.
  3. In the early days where football position gives you a clear vision of your baby, breast, and nipple.
  4. Double football hold nursing for twins “More on that comes next.”
  5. The clutch hold is suitable for a mother with vigorous milk ejection. Baby can handle this strong ejection better in that position.


Double football hold while breastfeeding for twins

The football underarm hold is one of the best breastfeeding positions in the case of twins. This hold makes the hard times easier.





Modified “elevated” football hold for small breasts

Although the football nursing hold is suitable for mothers with large breasts, also moms with small breasts could benefit from that easy breastfeeding position.

All what you need to do in the case of the small breast is to modify the pillow position as shown in the next diagram by putting something like a rolled blanket under the pillow ” not under the baby’s head”.





Latching tips and tricks “diagrams”

For any nursing position, you have to ensure that your breastfed baby opens his mouth widely.

Why widely?

Because the correct baby latch is achieved when your baby catches almost all the areola” around 70-80% of your areola into his mouth– not the nipple only.

Narrow mouth opening is the main cause of breastfeeding problems like sore nipple pain, breast milk supply issues, and breastfeeding early quit.

But the problem is when we say widely, mothers are confused because they don’t know the difference between the normal and the wide mouth opening.

See the next easy and digestible drawing to understand the difference between the wide and the narrow opening during clutch breastfeeding position.




Breastfeeding holds while underarms position

Before latching, prepare your breast for your hungry child first.

What do mean? I would explain more:

  • Your free hand should squeeze your used breast. By doing that, you reduce the size of your breast to be more reachable for your baby’s tiny mouth.
  • This squeezing is a famous breastfeeding technique which has more than one type:
  1. C hold
  2. U hold
  3. Scissors hold

In the next picture, the C hold is used.

Both of your thumb and forefinger are forming the c letter around your middle ring of your breast. Avoid pressing on any part of your areola while applying any of those holds.




Take care while supporting your baby’s head in rugby breastfeeding hold

For deep and correct latching, help your baby by supporting his shoulders and neck using your hand palm and use both of your thumb and forefinger under his ears.

Don’t put your whole palm behind his head. That is one of the most common mistakes new moms do while supporting their baby to latch.

The reason for that is to keep his head free to move back freely for two main goals:

  1. Allow your baby to catch your nipple deeply by wide mouth opening
  2. Keep his swallowing easy

So, if you put your whole palm behind your baby’s head, he can’t turn his head back to open his mouth widely. Later, his neck is tilted and it is uncomfortable position – even for adults to swallow his meal.




Your baby’s legs during football breastfeeding position

It is important to be sure that his legs are not touching”pushing” against the chair back because your baby may tend to push himself against your breast and you would have a problem while latching him.

Besides, you can make his legs wrapped behind your back.


tips-for-the football-hold-breastfeeding

Disadvantages of football breastfeeding position

like side-lying nursing position, the football hold position is not suitable for baby suffers from GERD or acid reflux disease.

It is known that acid reflux is a painful stomach disorder where the content of newborn stomach tends to get back from the stomach to the esophagus and then ejects from baby’s mouth.

In this case, the upright breastfeeding position is preferred versus any lying down one.

So, you are not advised to use the football/clutch hold during breastfeeding if your baby has acid reflux disease because it is one of the lying down position that is not preferred when your baby has GERD.

Check the next infographic to understand the nature of GERD with different breastfeeding positions.


football-hold-breastfeeding-and-baby-acid-reflux-GERD INFOGRAPHIC


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