Football Underarm Position
I found the football hold or underarm position really awkward to get right. Both my boys were long at birth and they just didn't fit without hitting the back of the couch. I had real trouble trying to use this hold, but it's so fabulous for clearing blocked ducts in the outer part of the breast that I needed to get around my problem!!
I remember sitting on the couch with blocked ducts and a bleb and thinking I'd better just get better at the football hold.... My first baby always had both breasts each feed so I'd start with him in cradle hold on the bad side, then do the second side and come back to the bad side for a third go but in football hold.
There are a few advantages to using this hold:
- Milk is drained from the outer part of the breast
- Your nipple will have a different sucking pattern on it which can be nice to rest a damaged area
- It's great for avoiding contact on a newly healing Caesar scar
- It helps you use the muscles in your forearm and wrist differently if you're having problems with pain from breastfeeding - tenosynovitis called De Quervain's
The things I used to help me get the football underarm hold working better for me were
- A lot of cushioning behind me - I used three small cushions to bring me quite far forward on the seat of my couch
- I fairly thick pillow under your baby - this is where those breastfeeding cushions are fabulous - it's heavy holding an older, bigger baby in this position
- Sit yourself nicely straight and square - you can see in the video above that I start out with the cushion I have my baby on around a bit too far and then move it once I have him latched on. It helps him stay latched and me feel comfortable. Make sure you aren't all twisted up!!
- Don't hold your baby's head, more support underneath their neck - babies like to be able to get themselves in the right spot and pushing their head towards your breast can cause breast refusal where your baby won't take any milk from you - worth avoiding!! Always be aware of what your baby is trying to do so that you can make it as easy as possible for them
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