Breastfeeding Positions | T...

When you decide to breastfeed, one of the things that you have to think about is how to hold the baby properly, which sounds simple but in certain situations can be quite a challenge. You have to be comfortable while nursing in order to do so successfully, and while there are numerous breastfeeding pillows that you can buy for comfort, you may still need to adopt a certain hold so that both of you can be ready to nurse.


The Football Hold: Best for C-Section Moms

So, just what is a football hold? It is a hold used by many women who find it uncomfortable to hold the baby directly on their bellies, and it goes like this:

  • The baby will be facing up
  • Place a pillow underneath the baby if you like
  • Place the baby’s feet facing in the opposite direction that you’re facing (in back of you)
  • The baby’s face will be close to your breast
  • Hold the baby’s face with the hand on the same side as the breast you’re using

In other words, this position, which is also called the clutch hold, looks just like you’re holding a football! The baby is not laying on your stomach but instead on your side, so the benefits of a football hold for breastfeeding include the fact that if you’ve had a C-section, you never have to place the baby directly on your tummy where the incision is.

Of course, other moms find the football breastfeeding pose very beneficial as well, including women with large breasts, women who are feeding twins (one on each breast), and women whose babies are smaller than average or even premature. If for any reason you do not wish to hold the baby on your lap or tummy when breastfeeding, the football or clutch hold is often recommended.

The clutch hold is also helpful for moms who want a better view of their infant while they’re being fed and moms with inverted nipples. When this is the case, moms need to make sure that their baby is latching on properly and this is much easier with the football hold. Other scenarios that benefit from a football hold include women whose let-down reflex is very strong and babies who have problems with reflux, because they can remain more upright.

It is really a very simple hold, especially once you get used to it, which is why so many breastfeeding moms use it. Many moms, in fact, are not doing it because of C-sections or flat nipples but simply because they consider it a much more comfortable pose. To be sure, the more comfortable you are while breastfeeding, the more successful the feeding session will be in the end.


Tips for Making Breastfeeding More Successful

While breastfeeding is fairly easy, it is still possible to experience some challenges along the way. Regardless of the hold or pose you decide on, you have to relax, and relaxing while breastfeeding gets much easier the more you do it. Remember that nursing success depends on both physical and emotional factors, and the number-one rule is to relax and feel confident that you can do this.

Another tip is to add 500 to 800 calories per day to your diet. This is what’s needed to make the milk, and you should be drinking lots of fluids throughout the day. Just like when you’re pregnant, the baby is getting everything you eat and drink, so make sure that your diet is healthy and you’re getting enough fluids and calories every day.

If you don’t get the emotional support that you need, this can also affect your milk supply. Even if you come from a family of non-breastfeeding moms, let them know as early in the pregnancy as possible that you’re going to breastfeed. Even if you don’t get their support, move forward with confidence because breast milk is best for the baby. Period.

Most women choose the cradle hold while breastfeeding, but there’s nothing wrong with deciding that you don’t feel comfortable with this particular hold. Besides the cradle hold and the football hold, there are other ways to hold a baby while breastfeeding. The trick is for you to try them until you find one that’s just right for you because comfort is crucial for successful breastfeeding.


In Addition to the Right Hold

Regardless of the hold you choose when you nurse, comfort is a must. If you’re not comfortable in that particular position, your muscles may unknowingly tense up and cause you problems.

To make sure that you’re in a comfortable position, try one or more of the following tips:

  • Invest in a good breastfeeding pillow
  • Choose to nurse in either a glider or regular rocking chair
  • Invest in several quality nursing bras
  • Always use breast pads for leakages
  • If it’s more comfortable, use an ottoman or footstool as you nurse
  • Always have a breast pump in case the baby sleeps through a feeding, which can cause engorgement

Indeed, the hold or position you choose to breastfeed won’t make much difference if you aren’t comfortable yourself. Both you and the baby need to be comfortable for breastfeeding to be productive.



When you decide to breastfeed, you’ll find many ways to hold your baby while nursing, and the football hold is a good one for women who have had C-sections or have other challenges. In this position, the baby is held like a football and is more to your side and not in front of you. Some women without challenges prefer it as well.

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