Breastfeeding Side Lying Position Tips
- April 21, 2020
- by Melissa Lawrence
Hello everyone! Massoma wrote in with a great question, “Can I breastfeed my baby in bed against the headboard of my bed?” I answer her in today’s new video and suggest an alternative for tired, weary mamas during the night: breastfeeding in the side lying position.
Massoma, breastfeeding positions are crucial since you need to ensure you have proper lower and upper back support so that you are not in pain while you’re breastfeeding. As a new mom, nursing a baby day and night, you’ll have enough pain and discomfort coming from your breasts and lack of sleep, so you’ll want to avoid unnecessary back pain. Even when you have an optimal seated position, you can strain your neck and upper back by constantly craning down to supervise the new baby. So I highly recommend a supportive breastfeeding chair or rocker. If this newborn essential falls outside of your budget, try buying one secondhand or borrowing one from a friend who has finished this major phrase of infant baby care. With a breastfeeding chair, you should be able to even rest one of the arms supporting the baby and that takes off even more strain from your back.
Back to your actual question. Can I breastfeed my baby while propped up against the headboard of my bed? Sorry to say, I’ve never had luck with this position. The headboard will be flat and I don’t see how you can manage to sit up straight in a position that is supportive enough. Loose pillows to buttress your lower back will not provide enough solid support. The weight of the baby in your arms will not allow you to sit up straight. You’ll be crouched over with your entire back bent; that’s the worst. So I say no way, José.
There is a way to nurse while lying down, however, and my good friend Annie taught it to me after a visit from a lactation consultant. It’s called side nursing, and not so different in a way from the sidestroke in swimming, if you ever attempted that. In order to execute the side lying position for breastfeeding, put a clean sheet down on the rug in your bedroom or baby’s room and lie down on your side with the breast you want to use situated on the bottom. Place the baby carefully alongside and your arm under the side of your head. Position the baby on your breast and off you go! Now, when you are trying to get the baby to latch on in the early stages, this side lying position for breastfeeding is not easy to attempt since it’s tricky to see the baby and make sure you have a good latch. But once you have mastered that, you should be fine. The side breastfeeding position places absolutely no strain on any part of your body, and is a great trick during the night when you’re too tired to wake up or sit up but don’t want to risk nursing in bed with loose pillows around, which is a risk for SIDS. Just be careful to stay somewhat alert so that you know when to burp baby and change sides. I liked this position so much I even came to wear my sleep mask while doing it, so I was drifting in and out of sleep.
Anyway, those are my tips when it comes to finding a restful yet supportive breastfeeding position. For more details, check out my video.
Thanks so much for watching! Stay healthy and well.