Can i feed baby while lying down

How to Effectively and Comfortably Do It

Written by WebMD Editorial Contributors

In this Article

  • How to Breastfeed While Lying Down
  • Why Breastfeed While Lying Down?
  • Is Breastfeeding While Lying Down Safe?

Breastfeeding often means staying in one position for an extended period of time, multiple times each day and night. Fortunately, some breastfeeding positions allow the mother (or person breastfeeding) to lay down and effectively feed a baby. Not only are these reclining positions potentially more comfortable for the mother, but they can also provide some benefits in other situations, too.

How to Breastfeed While Lying Down

The key to breastfeeding while lying down is finding a position that is comfortable and safe for both you and the baby. Here are two common positions you can use for breastfeeding while lying down:

Laid-Back Breastfeeding. In this position, the mother leans back on a couch or bed to nurse her baby. It is best to not lay all the way flat, but prop yourself up partially with some pillows. Make sure that your head and your back are fully supported so that you can completely relax for the feeding session. Baby can lay across your chest, or lengthwise down your torso. There are plenty of benefits to this position including: 

  • Baby can achieve a deep latch on the breast
  • Relaxing for mother
  • Can be used on all sizes of babies
  • Can be used while feeding twins
  • Gravity can help slow the flow of milk if it is too fast for your baby

Side-lying breastfeeding. This position is when a mother lies on her side next to her baby and nurses. It is easiest to do in bed, on the floor, or a large couch. Keep your head and back in a straight line, and put your head on a pillow or your arm. You may need to lift your breast or nipple to your baby's mouth. Sometimes, it's more comfortable to bend your knees, or even put a pillow between them.  

Benefits of side-lying breastfeeding include:

  • Easily used in bed
  • Allows mother's body to rest
  • Avoids pressure on C-Section stitches or other painful areas during recovery
  • Can be helpful for mothers with large breasts

Why Breastfeed While Lying Down?

After having a baby, breastfeeding lying down can be helpful for many reasons, including:

Recovery. If a mother is recovering from a C-Section, an episiotomy, or vaginal birth, sitting up for an extended period may be uncomfortable or painful. Nursing while lying down may help to avoid pain while recovering from birth. 

Comfort. Supporting the weight of a nursing baby can be hard on a mother's shoulders, arms, and back. For some women, nursing in a reclining or lying-down position eases the strain on her upper body. 

Sleep. Falling asleep while breastfeeding can be very dangerous for an infant. However, many mothers who co-sleep (defined as baby sleeping in the same room, on a separate and safe sleep surface) find that night feeds are easier while laying down.  

Clogged ducts. It is not uncommon for a breastfeeding woman to experience a clogged milk duct in her breast. Nursing in different positions can help a clog pass, including nursing lying down. 

Is Breastfeeding While Lying Down Safe?

Yes, when done correctly, breastfeeding while lying down is perfectly safe. Follow these tips to make sure your baby is comfortable and safe:

  • Practice during the day before trying to use it at night
  • Ensure that your space is free from excess pillows and bedding
  • Do not fall asleep while nursing in a lying-down position
  • Always pay attention to your baby
  • Always use safe sleep practices for your baby

Side-lying or laid-back nursing can be dangerous if a mother falls asleep; if a baby falls or is smothered by bedding, clothing, or a mother's body, it can be extremely dangerous. But when done correctly, breastfeeding while lying down can be relaxing for both mother and baby.

Ultimately, learning how to utilize a variety of positions for breastfeeding can be very helpful for both mother and baby. Being able to adjust to different situations and locations can make breastfeeding easier and less stressful for both of you. If you have questions or need breastfeeding support, consider reaching out to a lactation consultant or speak to your doctor.  

Is it okay to breastfeed your baby while lying down? We tell you

By -


Updated: Sep 6, 2019, 12:51 IST


Let’s be honest--parenting is no child’s play. Right from the tumultuous months of pregnancy to giving birth to a breathing, living human, it can be an extremely painful yet overwhelming journey for the mother. However, the struggle does not end here as nursing and taking care of the demands of the baby can be incredibly taxing in itself.
When mamas start breastfeeding your child, sitting for longs hours and holding the baby carefully while nursing can leave them exhausted. Which is why a lot of new mothers prefer to breastfeed while lying down. It might not be one of easiest positions but it does help sleep-deprived mothers to lay down as they nurse their little one.

Should you breastfeed your baby while lying down?

The side-lying breastfeeding position is also called the reclining or lying down position. When you breastfeed in this position, you lie sideways and the baby faces you, lying down sideways as well. Place the little one’s head near your breast so that he/she can latch better. A lot of new mothers consider this position helpful if the baby seems to be irritable with the flow of milk. Additionally, if you have large breasts reclining position can help feed the baby easily.

While this position is surely a boon for the mothers as it saves them from the strain in the neck, back and even arms, lactation experts may have a different opinion when it comes to the newborns. For moms who have just had C-section and are not able to sit straight can surely benefit from the lying down breastfeeding position, it is not considered ideal for babies.

Lying down position is okay to get started with breastfeeding but just might turn fatal for the baby, as there are chances that milk may get absorbed into the lungs. Secondly, it may also increase the risk of ear infection in the baby, if the milk spills from the mouth and reached the ears.

The bottom line

The best way to figure out the ideal breastfeeding position is to talk to a lactation expert to gain more clarity on the same. It is important to figure out a position which is comfortable and safe for both you and your little one. The lying down position can be avoided--especially during the first few months--and can be tried when the babies learn to hold their head. Mothers may also try different breastfeeding positions and keep switching between them.

End of the article

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home > PEDIATRICS > Pediatrician: question-answer > is it possible to feed the baby lying down

Question: / 02-10-2013 15:20
Good afternoon, the ENT gave a leaflet, which says that a child can only be breastfed at an angle of at least 45 degrees. otherwise, milk can get into the auditory tube, which will cause otitis media. and feeding lying down has long-term consequences in the form of enlarged adenoids and inflammation of the tonsils. please tell me is it true? if yes, how to feed at night? Thank you

Answer: / 15-07-2020 17:58

Hello, the head of the pediatric department of our Center, pediatrician of the first category Barzenok Tatyana Arsenievna answers you:

Since Soviet times, breastfeeding has been shrouded in myths that have no evidence base. Talk about breast milk "getting into your ears" is one of them.
Our many years of practice does not confirm any of the statements contained in the leaflet. There is also no such information in the world literature on GW.
Night feeding is a prerequisite for long-term and successful breastfeeding. Of course, the mother feeds the baby lying down, almost without waking up over time.
Perhaps the recommendation to feed the baby at a 45-degree angle was mechanically transferred from artificial feeding. With him, indeed, you can’t give a bottle to a baby lying on his back, because there is a high risk of choking. But with breastfeeding, the child, firstly, never feeds in this position - he is turned to his mother, that is, he lies on his side, and secondly, a direct uncontrolled flow never flows from the chest - the baby sucks as much as necessary, and then swallows this volume. Only at the initial stages it happens that the mother has a lot of milk and the baby can not cope with it and chokes, but within one or two months, "demand" and "supply" come into balance.

Commentary by a pediatrician, head of the maternity and breastfeeding support department Lilia Valentinovna Kazakova:

No that's not true. At night, they feed lying down, as well as during the day, if it is convenient for mom.

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Positions for breastfeeding | Philips

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While breastfeeding is a natural part of motherhood, it can take practice, patience, and a little preparation. So, if you decide to breastfeed your baby, be prepared for the fact that you may encounter the often encountered problem of proper breastfeeding. However, do not be upset.

Breast latch is one of the most important things about breastfeeding and can be difficult for new moms, and understandably so; It is essential that the baby properly latch on to the nipple during breastfeeding so that he can get enough breast milk. Proper breast latch is also important because it allows the mother to avoid problems such as blockage of the milk ducts and sore nipples.

Learn more about how to properly care for your breasts in the Quick Guide to Breast Care.

One of the best ways to teach your baby to latch on properly is to find a breastfeeding position that is comfortable for both you and your baby. Here we will discuss different breastfeeding positions as well as other useful tips to help you achieve a proper breastfeeding. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your doctor or lactation specialist for further support.

Helping your baby latch on properly

Before looking at the different positions for breastfeeding, there are a few things you can do to help your baby: [1]

  • Create a calm and relaxing environment. Your comfort is key when breastfeeding, so find a position that is comfortable for you to breastfeed. In a chair, or on a bed, or listening to relaxing music, make sure you are calm and relaxed before feeding.
  • Skin to skin contact. Breastfeeding is a great opportunity to bond with your baby. Awaken your newborn's natural instincts by holding him, dressed only in a diaper, against your bare chest.
  • Let your child take the lead. Gradually you will learn to understand the individual signs of hunger in your child. Usually, children begin to shake and nod their heads in the direction of the mother, toss and turn, lick their lips, stick out their tongue, showing that they are hungry.
  • Try not to force things. Help the baby to find the breast, but try not to push the nipple into the baby's mouth.

Sensitive nipple protection. If your nipples are sore or cracked, try using soft, ultra-thin nipple guards to relieve sore nipples during feeding and prevent further nipple trauma. Due to the fact that the pads are made of thin silicone, the baby will still feel the warmth and smell of the mother's breast.

Popular breastfeeding positions to help you get a good latch on

In addition to these helpful nursing steps, it's important to adopt a position that is comfortable for both you and your baby. Experiment with different positions until you find the one that makes you feel comfortable and helps your baby latch on properly.

Here are some of the most common positions that will help you and your baby get a good latch on while breastfeeding: [1]

breastfeeding positions

1. Feeding in a reclining position.

The reclining or leaning back position is ideal for mothers who are breastfeeding for the first time. To try it, simply lean back into a reclining position with pillows under your neck, shoulders, and arms. Once you have established belly-to-belly contact with your baby, let him find the breast while supporting him as much as possible.

2. Feeding in the side lying position.

If you are looking for a feeding position that allows you to feed your baby and rest at the same time, the side lying position may be perfect for you. Lie on your side, leaning on a special roller or pillow. Facing you, the baby will be able to take the breast, which lies on the pillow. You can put a towel or blanket behind your baby to keep him in place while you feed. Also, this position is well suited for mothers who cannot sit after a caesarean section.

3. Cross cradle feeding.

Another great position for getting your baby to latch on properly while feeding is the “cross cradle,” which involves placing a pillow on your lap and placing your baby on the side facing you. During feeding, support the baby's back and head with the arm opposite the breast you are feeding.

4. Feeding in the "soccer ball" or "under the arm" position.

In order to take this pose, you need to sit comfortably on a chair (in an armchair), leaning on pillows. Place the child on a pillow on the back so that his legs are under your arm and pointing towards the back of the chair. Supporting the back and shoulders of the baby, hold his head with the same hand, and with the other hand you can support the breast that you feed.

As you experiment with feeding positions, you may notice that your baby may like certain positions more. Once you have found the right position for feeding, look out for the following signs that your baby is latching on well: [2] [3]

  • You do not feel acute pain.
  • The baby's mouth is wide open, the baby's lower lip is turned out and the upper lip is in the normal position.
  • The lower part of the areola (the areola) is in the baby's mouth.
  • Baby's chin touches your breast.

Useful tip if you have flat or inverted nipples

​If you have inverted or flat nipples, you need to help your baby achieve a good latch - grab the nipple along with most of the areola. Here are some helpful tips for breastfeeding mothers with flat or inverted nipples:​

  • Help yourself with your fingers: you can try to stretch the nipples by rolling them between your fingers in the center where the hole is located, so they create a slight pressure, and the nipple is pushed out.
  • If these suggestions do not help, then use a nipple shield when breastfeeding for the first time so that the baby can latch onto the nipple and pull it out over time.

It's the journey that counts, not the destination

You are now armed with the knowledge you need to know about the basic nursing positions, as well as tips to help you get a good latch on while breastfeeding.

Remember that breastfeeding only gets better with time and practice, so don't be discouraged if you encounter obstacles or difficulties along the way, such as a bad latch.

Enjoy this special time with your baby and don't forget to consult your doctor or lactation specialist with any questions or concerns you may have.

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