Nursing Lying Down

Breastfeeding while Lying Down 

Nursing lying down can make things a little easier for a mother. Breastfeeding while lying down is convenient at night; a mother can continue to rest while breastfeeding.

Some might need to wait until their babies are experienced at breastfeeding, before attempting to lie down while breastfeeding.

How to Breastfeed Lying Down

  • Things that a mother will need: A firm mattress, pillows and a rolled up baby blanket, to put behind her baby, so that he/she does not roll away from her while feeding.
  • To increase comfort, a mother can put a pillow behind her back, under her head and/or between her legs. When nursing lying down, she should find someone to help her, the first few times. She should make certain that she is resting her weight on the pillows, as not to put too much strain on her hips and lower back.
  • Place your baby on his/her side, facing you with your nipple in line with your baby's nose. If you are breastfeeding from the right breast, you should be lying on your right hand side.
  • Pull your baby's feet in close, so that they are touching you, so that you and your baby form a V shape together.
  • Use your free hand, that is not against the bed, to guide your breast into your baby’s mouth. Older babies may want to do this themselves.
  • Try not to flex your baby’s neck too far back, this would make it too difficult for him/her to swallow.
  • Once your baby has opened his/her mouth, and taken in your breast, you can push your baby's shoulders in towards you.
breastfeeding while lying down
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  • Wedge the rolled blanket or towel behind your baby’s back, so that he/she does not move.
  • You can either keep your arm underneath your baby’s head or keep your baby’s head on the bed, and your arm free; it depends on what is more comfortable.
  • If the latch feels painful, you can gently detach and try again. If you start to feel frustrated, rather leave this breastfeeding position for a later stage, when your baby is more experienced at the breast.
  • Always allow a baby freedom of head movement, so that he/she can unlatch, if there is breathing difficulty for any reason.

Nursing Lying Down
Other Tips for Breastfeeding Lying Down

  • If your baby is old enough to crawl, it is best to make safety precautions. Read more here about safe co-sleeping.
  • If you feel that towards the end of your feeding, that your breast has not drained sufficiently, it would be best to sit up a while to breastfeed.
  • After the baby has drained the first breast, you can either roll yourself and your baby over to the other side, or just lean over so that your baby can get hold of the other breast, while in the same breastfeeding position. This may be difficult, especially if you have small breasts. 
  • Keep a burp cloth under your baby’s mouth, to catch any milk.
  • Some mothers find it easier to first latch their babies, and then lie down slowly.

Advantages of the Lying Down Position while Breastfeeding

reclined breastfeeding position
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  • You don’t need to put on a light, or get up at night; keeping your baby calm while breastfeeding.

Does Breast Feeding Lying Down Cause Ear Infections?

  • Just the fact that your baby is breastfeeding, decreases the chances of him/her getting ear infections; breast milk contains germ fighting properties.
  • Breast milk is often used to remedy ear infections! If the ear drum is not leaking fluids, a mother can squirt a bit of breast milk inside her baby's ears to help heal an ear infection. 
  • If you are still concerned about this, you can breastfeed semi reclined, so that your baby is at an angle. As shown in the picture above.

Other pages on “breastfeeding problems" in connection with this page on nursing while lying down

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