Upright Football Or Rugby Ball Hold Breastfeeding Position

upright rugby ball hold breastfeeding position with baby and mom

The Upright Football Hold, also known as the Upright Rugby Hold, is a breastfeeding position celebrated for its comfort, efficacy, and unique attributes. It offers a distinct perspective, providing mothers with a clear view and providing babies with optimal support. This upright position is great for babies with reflux. 

How To Do The Upright Football/Rugby Hold 

The Upright Football Hold is similar to the traditional Football or Rugby Ball Hold where your baby is tucked under your arm, but allows your baby to sit more upright along your side. With your baby’s feet by your hips, hold them somewhat parallel to your body on the side you’re going to feed from. Support their neck and body, while supporting your breast with the other hand in order to help them latch.


  1. Position Baby At Your Side: Begin by sitting comfortably, ensuring your back is well-supported. Position your baby at your side, with their body facing yours. This sideways alignment is a hallmark of the upright football hold, offering an alternative to traditional breastfeeding positions. Use pillows or cushions to elevate your baby to breast height, promoting a natural latch and reducing strain on your body.
  2. Support Your Baby: As you settle into the hold, provide essential support to your baby's head, neck, and back. Cradle the back of the baby's head with one hand while using the other to support their body along the side. This supportive stance ensures your baby feels secure and can focus on feeding without any discomfort.
  3. Baby’s Chin To Breast: Achieving a proper latch is paramount. Guide your baby's mouth to your breast, ensuring their chin is touching the breast first. This positioning encourages a wide mouth opening for a comfortable latch, minimizing any potential discomfort for you and your baby.
  4. Help Baby Latch: Assist your baby in latching onto the breast by gently guiding their mouth over the areola. Patience is key during this step, allowing your little one to find the most comfortable and effective latch. Keep a watchful eye for signs of a successful latch, including audible swallowing and a relaxed posture.

Pros and Cons of Upright Football Hold

Understanding both the benefits and potential challenges of this position empowers you to make an informed decision and determine if this breastfeeding position will work for you and your baby.


  • Provides A Clear View: One notable advantage of the upright football hold is the unobstructed view it offers. With your baby positioned at your side, you can maintain a good view of your baby’s mouth to ensure a successful latch throughout your feeding.
  • Supports Baby: This position is celebrated for its ability to provide excellent support to your baby's head and body. The sideways alignment allows for a secure and comfortable hold, contributing to a more relaxed and enjoyable breastfeeding experience for both you and your little one.
  • Comfortable After C-Section: Mothers recovering from a C-section may find solace in the upright football hold. The positioning minimizes pressure on the abdominal area, offering a more comfortable alternative during the post-surgical healing period.
  • Reduces Reflux in Baby: The semi-upright position encourages gentle digestion by minimizing the likelihood of stomach contents flowing back into the esophagus. This can be particularly advantageous for infants prone to acid reflux or regurgitation.


  • Requires Additional Support: This sideways positioning often necessitates additional support in the form of pillows or cushions. Finding the right balance can take some experimentation to ensure a comfortable and sustainable hold.
  • Takes Practice: As with any breastfeeding position, mastering the upright football hold requires practice. It may take time for both you and your baby to become accustomed to the nuances of this hold, but persistence and patience will yield rewarding results.
  • Not Discreet In Public: One consideration is that the upright football hold may not be as discreet in public settings compared to more traditional positions. Mothers who prioritize privacy in public spaces might find it challenging to maintain this hold without additional coverage.

When to Use

The Upright Football Hold proves particularly beneficial in several scenarios, making it a versatile and valuable addition to your breastfeeding toolkit. This position is especially advantageous for smaller babies who may benefit from a more upright posture to reduce reflux during feeding sessions. The semi-upright angle aids in digestion and minimizes the chances of regurgitation, contributing to a more comfortable feeding experience for your little one.

In the early postpartum days, especially if you're recovering from a C-section, the Upright Football Hold offers a welcome alternative. The sideways positioning alleviates pressure on the abdominal area, promoting a gentler feeding experience for mothers in the recovery phase. 

Additionally, during the initial stages of breastfeeding when both mom and baby are learning the ropes, this hold shines. The clear visibility into the latch and the ability to maintain control over the baby's head make it an ideal choice for fostering a secure and successful breastfeeding journey. 

Whether you're navigating reflux concerns, postpartum recovery, or the early learning curve of breastfeeding, the Upright Football Hold stands out as a supportive and adaptable option.

Alternative Positions

It's essential to explore various breastfeeding positions to find what works best for you and your baby. Each position brings its own set of advantages, catering to different preferences and circumstances. 

  1. Football/Rugby Ball Hold: Akin to the Upright Football Hold in its sideways orientation, the Football or Rugby Ball Hold involves tucking your baby's body under your arm. This position is particularly useful for mothers who prefer an alternative yet similar approach, providing a clear view of your baby's latch and supporting effective breastfeeding.
  2. Koala Hold: For a more upright and front-facing experience, consider the Koala Hold. In this position, your baby straddles your thigh, facing forward. The Koala Hold is excellent for mothers looking to engage in eye contact with their baby during feeding while still enjoying the benefits of a supportive breastfeeding position.
  3. Double Football Hold: Ideal for mothers of twins, the Double Football Hold involves feeding both babies simultaneously. Each baby is positioned at the side like footballs, allowing for efficient feeding while maintaining control and support. This position is not only practical but also fosters a beautiful connection with both infants at once.
  4. Cross-Cradle Hold: In this position, you hold your baby across your body with the arm opposite to the breast being used for feeding. This allows for precise control over the baby's head and easy access for latch assistance. The Cross-Cradle Hold is often recommended for newborns or those still perfecting their latch, as it offers a clear line of sight to the baby's face and mouth. This position is particularly beneficial for mothers who appreciate a hands-on approach to guiding their baby during the crucial moments of latching, making it a versatile addition to your breastfeeding repertoire.

My Experience With The Upright Rugby Hold

In those early postpartum days, navigating the world of breastfeeding was both an exploration and a learning curve. Eager to find the perfect position for both my comfort and my baby's needs, I ventured into the realm of the Upright Rugby/Football Hold. As someone with larger breasts, most traditional breastfeeding positions didn’t work for me, and I yearned for an alternative.

The Upright Football Hold seemed promising. It limited spit-ups, and the sideways positioning felt like a cozy departure from the conventional approach. However, this position required practice, and the support of a nursing pillow became essential to bear the weight of my baby. Though the benefits were apparent, I soon realized this wasn't the long-term solution for us.

Transitioning through trial and error, I found my comfort haven in the Cross-Cradle Hold. This alternative provided the control I craved while offering a clear view of my baby's latch. My breastfeeding journey became a dance of exploration, and I embraced the shifts until I found the position that truly resonated with both me and my little one. Each step, though temporary, was a vital part of our bonding experience, and I'm grateful for the learning process that led us to the perfect breastfeeding harmony.

Final Thoughts

Exploring the Upright Football Hold in those early postpartum days was a valuable chapter in my book of motherhood. While it offered something different from the traditional football hold and limited spit-ups, I soon realized that, like any position, it's not a one-size-fits-all solution.

So, whether you find solace in the familiar cradle of the Cross-Cradle Hold, the snug sideways haven of the Upright Football Hold, or another position altogether, remember that every nuance contributes to the tapestry of your breastfeeding experience. Cherish the moments, celebrate the discoveries, and trust in the evolving beauty of your journey—one latch at a time.

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Author, Founder @ Latch Luxe

Stefanie Statler

Stefanie Statler is an author and the founder of Latch Luxe, with a loving husband and daughter. She is a dedicated advocate for breastfeeding mothers and understands the challenges and joys of motherhood firsthand. Email me at stef@latchluxe.com.

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