Is it safe to feed baby in lying position
How to Effectively and Comfortably Do It
Written by WebMD Editorial Contributors
Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on March 02, 2021
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.
How and When to Do It
You see your baby smacking their lips and sticking out their tongue, and you know it’s time to feed them. But you’re feeling groggy, exhausted, and physically weak. How are you possibly going to get through another feeding?
Breastfeeding your baby every 2 to 3 hours is hard work! You deserve a break, and breastfeeding while lying on your side can help you relax. You can rest while also bonding with and feeding your baby.
Sound too good to be true? It’s not! Breastfeeding on your side is considered one of the most popular breastfeeding positions. It just might be worth a try.
One of the best parts of side lying breastfeeding is having the opportunity to rest your body while feeding your baby. Allow us to walk you through some simple steps to make it a comfy experience for both you and your baby:
- Place your baby on their back in the middle of the floor or on a large bed. If you’re on a bed, remember to keep loose sheets, blankets, and pillows away from baby’s face to minimize risk.
- Lie down next to your baby, with your stomach lined up near baby’s head. You can use a pillow under your head, just make sure that it’s in a place that your little one can’t reach it! (You can also use a pillow as back support or between your legs if that will make you more comfortable lying on your side.)
- Slide your little one up so their nose is level with your nipple and your arm is above their head. Or cradle baby with their back along your forearm. (But don’t rest baby’s head on your upper arm.)
- Roll your baby onto their side pulling their hips or knees close to your hips. (Your spine and your baby’s spine may form a “V” shape.) You can put a rolled blanket or pillow behind baby’s back to support them and prevent them from rolling away from you. Encourage baby’s nose to make contact with your nipple, but do not squash their face into your breast!
- Try to position baby so their ear, shoulder, and hip are in one line. This will help them get milk more easily.
- If needed, use the arm not resting on the bed to shape your breast and guide it into your baby’s mouth. However, many babies (especially older babies) will naturally latch on their own.
You may find that it is most comfortable to roll yourself and your baby to the other side to drain the second breast. If this is the case, you’ll want to follow the same latching routine described above, facing the opposite direction.
Some breastfeeding parents find that once the lower breast is empty, they can simply lean forward and feed their baby off their full top breast. If you choose to do this, make sure to completely drain the lower breast first.
Occasionally women will find that their breasts don’t drain fully or evenly after feeding in the side-lying position. Excess milk in your breasts can lead to engorgement, plugged ducts, mastitis, or a decrease in milk supply, so you’ll want to keep a lookout for this!
If your breasts aren’t fully draining, you should consider sitting up to finish the feed or expressing some milk to make sure that your breasts are appropriately drained.
If you’re feeling tired, side lying breastfeeding is a great option to help you and baby get a little more rest. But remember: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) still recommends that you and your baby return to separate sleep surfaces after the feeding is done.
Side lying breastfeeding may also be a good position if you had a cesarean delivery. Being able to lie down and not have the baby put weight on your scar is certainly appealing as you heal.
You might choose to use side lying breastfeeding to feed your baby during your recovery period. If you gave birth at a hospital, the hospital bed rails can help you feel confident that your little one won’t roll backwards during the feeding, which is an added bonus!
If you have oversupply or a forceful letdown, side lying breastfeeding can help your baby manage the flow of milk. When you lie on your side, gravity has less effect on your milk letdown, and your baby can more easily let extra milk dribble out of the corners of their mouth.
If you have larger breasts and struggle to help your baby find the right position, side lying breastfeeding can make it easier for baby latch.
Figuring out the picture-perfect latch can take a while! No one position is guaranteed to bring success for you and your little one, but side lying breastfeeding may be worth a try if you’re struggling with other positions.
Remember that with any breastfeeding position, your baby’s latch shouldn’t hurt. If your nipple is being pinched, put your finger into the corner of your baby’s mouth to break the seal. Then you can try to help your baby latch back on with a wider mouth.
Your newborn may seem so tiny and fragile that you’re wondering if it’s really OK to feed them while lying on your side. If you take the proper safety precautions, side lying breastfeeding can be done as early as the very first feed.
If your little one is very tiny, you may need to give them extra support. Use pillows or blanket around their bottom and lower back to support the proper feeding position. Just make sure to keep pillows away from their head and face!
Be sure to stay awake while feeding your newborn. Due to the higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) when bed sharing, you’ll want to make sure that if they fall asleep, your newborn is placed in a separate, safe sleeping environment.
If you’re a new parent, chances are high that you’re feeling pretty tired! Breastfeeding while lying down can be an amazing opportunity to rest your body and feed your baby at the same time.
Remember, if you’re having problems with breastfeeding or feeling pain when your baby latches, don’t hesitate to reach out to a lactation consultant. They can help you and your little one master new positions and troubleshoot problems so your breastfeeding relationship is successful.
How to properly bottle feed
Feeding your baby is not only an important process for healthy growth and development, but also a way to establish close emotional contact with the baby and build trusting and loving relationships. The transition from breastfeeding to bottle feeding should be carried out after the mother and the child are fully prepared for this. We are talking about both the moral aspect, and about choosing the right bottle and getting adults the necessary skills so that eating brings only positive emotions and benefits to the baby. In this article, we will talk more about how to properly bottle feed your baby and where to start.
How to prepare your baby for bottle feeding
If this method of feeding is a completely new experience for the baby, or if parents decide to bottle feed their baby from a very young age, slow flow nipples should be preferred. So you protect the child from the possibility of choking while eating. Over time, you can gradually switch to bottles with nipples, which would provide faster and more intense feeding.
Feeding bottle selection and daily care
All baby accessories should be kept clean and sterilized regularly and thoroughly.
There are several ways to sterilize dishes:
- select the appropriate mode when using the dishwasher;
- or place the bottle and teat in a vessel of boiling water for 5 minutes.
Before using this method of cleaning the bottle, make sure that the material it is made of can be exposed to high temperatures. Since some types of plastic contain various chemicals in their composition, after sterilization they can become dangerous for their little user. For this reason, experts recommend choosing glass bottles.
The need for thorough cleansing of everything that the baby will touch is caused by the fact that in the first months of life, the child's immune system is just beginning to strengthen. Before sterilizing the teat, it can be cleaned with dishwashing detergent. There are special products for washing children's dishes, without a strong odor and with a safe composition.
How to bottle feed your baby
Before starting a meal, mom or dad should wash their hands well with soap and warm running water. Particular attention should be paid to the area between the fingers and under the nails. The hand washing process should take at least 20 seconds. And after carrying out this hygienic procedure, hands should be wiped dry with a paper towel or clean towel.
The next step is to prepare for the meal. If you plan to fill the bottle with formula, then dilute it with water in accordance with the instructions in the instructions. Improper proportions can lead to dehydration or bloating. It should also be remembered that for the preparation of the mixture you need to use only clean drinking water.
Breast milk is the most beneficial for a newborn. Despite this, pediatricians advise breastfeeding babies for as long as possible. Even if the mother is ready to give up breastfeeding, milk can be expressed into a bottle and gradually accustom the baby to the nipple. If, for one reason or another, the mother does not have the opportunity to feed herself, then the only alternative is feeding with a special mixture.
In the first six months after birth, cow's or goat's milk or its substitute in the form of soy milk should not be included in the baby's diet. Valid options for supporting healthy development of a newborn are breast milk or formula milk only.
What temperature should the bottle filler be? Under no circumstances should the bottle be heated on the stove or in the microwave. If the temperature of the bottle and its filling exceed 37°C, the baby may be burned. It is recommended to use special bottle warmers. If this is not possible, then use the following method:
- put a saucepan on the stove with a little water;
- bring the water to a boil, then remove the pan from the heat;
- place a bottle of milk in a vessel and heat it up to 37◦С;
- check the temperature with a pre-cleaned thermometer or a special device for measuring the temperature of foodstuffs.
You can also check the temperature of the ready-to-use bottle as follows:
- turn the bottle over;
- drip several times into your wrist area.
In this way, you can check not only the temperature of the milk or formula, but also how well the liquid flows out of the bottle. If you have to shake or squeeze the bottle hard to drip, the nipple is blocked and needs to be cleaned out. If, on the contrary, the filler pours out when the bottle is turned over, this means that the nipple is damaged and another nipple should be used to feed the baby, having previously sterilized it.
How to bottle feed your baby lying down
There are several techniques for feeding your baby. However, it is the feeding of the child lying down from the bottle that young parents consider the most comfortable. It is worth noting that eating in this position will only be safe when the baby's head is slightly raised. Otherwise, the child may simply choke. In the prone position, the child should be placed on his arm bent at the elbow. After feeding, you should place the baby in an upright position, taking him in your arms and putting his stomach to your chest.
Make sure that the feeding bottle is closed correctly: the ring at the connection of the nipple to the bottle must not be too tight. Air must enter the bottle, otherwise a vacuum will be created there, which, in turn, will complicate the consumption of food for the child.
How to bottle feed without spitting up
Since the newborn is not able to fully control the process of feeding, along with milk, he can also take in air. This may be the reason that at one meal the child could not master the planned portion. In view of this, it is recommended to take small breaks during feeding.
As soon as you notice that the baby has stopped sucking on the pacifier, is tired or thoughtful, pick him up and press his face to you, holding his head and back. To help burp excess air, you can make a light massage between the shoulder blades, pat on the back or pope.
The air will quickly rise up and the baby will burp it without any extra effort. However, you should be prepared for the fact that, along with the air, part of the consumed mixture or milk may also return. Therefore, before taking the baby in your arms, cover yourself with a diaper, because it will be easier to wash it than clothes.
Never leave your baby alone with the bottle or let him fall asleep while using it. After eating, mom or dad must help their child burp. This will help to avoid colic, bloating and other manifestations of stomach discomfort.
Where to buy baby accessories
It's safe to say that I Love Mommy online store is one of the best places to buy baby food. Our catalogs feature products from world-famous brands, the quality of which you will not have to doubt for a minute. Bottles, baby dishes, pacifiers, baby bibs - all this and much more you can buy for your son or daughter from us at affordable prices in just a few minutes.
Various breastfeeding positions
Try different breastfeeding positions to find the one that works best for you and your baby. You can see the options in our selection of photos
Share this information
There is no right or wrong way to hold the baby while feeding
, and mom and baby are sure to find their favorite position.
It is important that both you and your child feel comfortable. 1.2 It's good to learn a few different breastfeeding positions and techniques because life's circumstances often require us to be flexible, especially as your baby gets older and you start to leave the house more often.
Whatever position you choose to breastfeed your baby, remember a few simple rules.
- Prepare everything you need before feeding, including drinks, food, mobile phone, TV remote control, book or magazine. And do not forget to go to the toilet - the feeding process can take a long time!
- Make sure your baby is comfortable. Whichever position you choose, it's important to keep your baby strong, level, and provide good support for their head, neck, and spine.
- You should also be comfortable. Don't stress. If necessary, use pillows of different sizes or rolls of towels to support your back or arms.
- Make sure your baby is latching on correctly. Proper grip is the key to comfort when breastfeeding.
- If your baby does not latch on well or you experience pain while feeding, contact a lactation consultant for help. The specialist will also be able to show you how to hold your baby more comfortably.
1. Relaxed feeding or reclining position
The relaxed feeding position, also known as biological feeding, 1 is often the first position for most mothers. If, immediately after birth, the baby is placed on the mother’s chest or stomach, normally, he instinctively reaches for the breast and tries to grab the nipple. This phenomenon is known as the breast seeking reflex. Skin-to-skin contact stimulates the infant's feeding instinct, and gravity helps him to latch onto the breast and maintain balance.
But it's not just newborns that can be fed in the reclining position - this position is great for babies of all ages. It can be especially helpful if your baby does not latch well in other positions or does not like to be touched during feeding, and also if you have too much milk flow or too large breasts. Isabelle, a mother from the UK, shares her experience: “I had large breasts, and the baby was born small - 2.7 kg, so it was not easy to find a comfortable position at first. After a few weeks, it became clear that there was no “correct” posture for me. As a result, I most often fed lying down, putting the baby on my chest. ”
It is more convenient to feed not lying flat on your back, but half-sitting, leaning on pillows. So you will have a back support and you will be able to watch the baby during feeding.
2. Cradle position
This is the classic position that comes to mind first when
the subject of breastfeeding is mentioned. Mom sits
straight, and the baby lies on her side on her arm, pressing her stomach against her stomach. 3 Although this is a very popular position, it is not always easy to master with newborns because it gives the baby less support. Try putting a pillow under your back, and put a special breastfeeding pillow on your knees and lean on it with your hands. So you can more reliably support the child, without overstraining your back and shoulders. Just make sure that the baby does not lie too high on the pillow for feeding. The breast should remain at a natural level so that the baby can grab it without effort, otherwise sore nipples cannot be avoided.
“I breastfed in the cradle position because it suited me perfectly! It was comfortable and I loved just sitting and looking at my little one,” recalls Rachel, a mother of two from Italy.
3. Cross Cradle
This breastfeeding position looks almost the same as the Cradle, but the baby is on the other arm. 3 This gives your baby support around the neck and shoulders so he can tilt his head to latch on. This position is great for breastfeeding newborns and small babies, as well as for babies who do not latch well. Since the baby lies completely on the other hand, it becomes easier to control his position and you can adjust the chest with your free hand.
Julie, a UK mother of two, finds this position very practical: “I usually breastfeed my youngest in the cross cradle position. So I have a free second hand, and I can take care of an older baby at the same time. ”
Do not hold the baby's head at first, otherwise you may inadvertently press his chin against his chest. Because of this, the child will not be able to take the breast deeply, because the nipple will rest against the base of the tongue, and not against the palate, which will lead to inflammation of the nipples. As the child grows, this position becomes more comfortable, and he can rest his head on your palm (as shown in the photo above).
4. Underarm breastfeeding
In this position, also known as the "ball grip", the mother is seated and the baby lies along her arm at the side, legs towards the back of a chair (or any other seat). 3 This is another comfortable position for newborn breastfeeding, in which you can give your baby good support, have full control of his position and have a good view of his face. And the baby feels safe in close contact with the mother's body. This position is especially good for those who have had a caesarean section or a premature birth, as well as mothers of twins and women with large breasts.
“When I breastfed my first daughter, I had very large K-sized breasts—twice the size of her head,” recalls Amy, an Australian mother of two. - I put rolls of towels under each breast, because they were very heavy, and fed my daughter in a pose from under the arm, but only sitting straighter so as not to crush her. This position was also convenient because I had a caesarean section and could not put the baby on my stomach. ”
5. Side-lying position
The side-lying position is ideal for relaxed
feedings at night in bed or on the couch. If you had a
caesarean section or ruptures during childbirth, this position may be more comfortable than sitting down. 3 In this position, mother and baby lie side by side, tummy to tummy.
“It was difficult for me to sit during endless night feedings, firstly because of the caesarean section, and secondly because of lack of sleep,” recalls Francesca, a mother from the UK. “And then I discovered that you can feed your baby lying on your side and rest at the same time.”
“Because of the short tongue frenulum, Maisie could only properly latch on to her breasts while lying on her side. The lactation consultant showed me how it's done. In this position, the flow of milk was optimal for my daughter, and it was easier for her to keep the nipple in her mouth. As she got older, she became much better at grabbing her breasts in normal positions,” says Sarah, mother of two from Australia.
6. Relaxed breastfeeding after caesarean section
If you can't find a comfortable position for breastfeeding after caesarean section, 3 try to hold the baby on the shoulder while reclining — this does not put pressure on the postoperative suture and allows you to breastfeed the baby comfortably. You can also try side feeding.
7. Upright breastfeeding or “koala pose”
When breastfeeding in an upright position or “koala pose”, the baby sits with a straight back and a raised head on the mother's hip. 4 This position can be tried even with a newborn if it is well supported, but it is especially convenient for feeding an older child who can already sit up by himself. The upright sitting position, or “koala pose,” is great for toddlers who suffer from reflux or ear infections and feel better sitting. In addition, this pose may be suitable for children with a shortened frenulum of the tongue or reduced muscle tone.
“When my daughter got a little older, I would often feed her in an upright position, which was more comfortable for both of us, and I could still hold her close,” recalls Peggy, a mother from Switzerland. “Besides, it was possible to discreetly breastfeed her in public places.”
8. Overhanging position
In this position, the baby lies on his back, and the mother bends over him
on all fours so that the nipple falls directly into his mouth. 4 According to some mothers, this breastfeeding position is good to use from time to time for mastitis, when touching the breast is especially unpleasant. Some say that this breastfeeding position helps with blockage of the milk ducts, although there is no scientific evidence for this yet. You can also feed in the “overhanging” position while sitting, kneeling over the baby on a bed or sofa, as well as reclining on your stomach with support on your elbows. Pillows of various sizes that you can lean on will help you avoid back and shoulder strain.
“I have breastfed several times in the 'overhang' position for clogged milk ducts when no other means of dissolving the blockage worked. And this pose seems to have helped. I think it's because of gravity, and also because the breasts were at a completely different angle than with normal feeding, and my daughter sucked her differently, ”says Ellie, a mother of two from the UK.
Feeding in the "overhanging" position is unlikely to be practiced regularly, but in some cases this position may be useful.
“I used to breastfeed in the overhang position when my baby was having trouble latch-on,” says Lorna, mother of two in the UK. - This, of course, is not the most convenient way, but then I was ready for anything, if only he could capture the chest. We succeeded and have been breastfeeding for eight months now!”
9. Feeding a baby in a sling or “on the fly”
Breastfeeding in a sling takes some practice, but you can go out, look after older children or even do a little household chores.
The sling is also useful if the baby does not like to lie down or is often attached to the breast. Lindsey, a mother of two in the US, notes: “I used the carrier frequently for both of my children. When we were out, I tied the sarong around my neck and covered the carrier with it. Under such a cape, the baby can eat as much as he wants until he falls asleep.
This breastfeeding position is best when the baby is already good at breastfeeding and can hold his head up by himself. Any slings are suitable for breastfeeding, including elastic and rings, as well as carrying bags. Whatever option you choose, the main thing is that you can always see the face of the child, and his chin does not rest against his chest.
10. Double hand-held breastfeeding
Double hand-held breastfeeding (or “double-ball grab”) is great for mothers of twins—you can breastfeed both at the same time, with your arms relatively free. 4 When feeding in this position, it is advisable to use a special pillow for breastfeeding twins, especially at first. It will provide extra support and help keep both babies in the correct position, as well as reduce the burden on the abdomen if you had a caesarean section. In addition, the hands are freer, and if necessary, you can deal with one child without interfering with the second.
“My twins were born very tiny and had to be fed every two hours at any time of the day or night. Very soon it became clear: if I want to do anything besides feeding, I need to feed them both at the same time, - says Emma, mother of two children from the UK. “I breastfed them two by hand using a breastfeeding pillow.”
Other good positions for breastfeeding twins are two criss-cross cradles, one baby in the cradle and the other close at hand, reclining feeding, or sitting upright (one baby on one side, the other on the other).
11. Feeding in the position “with breast support by hand” or “hand of dancer”
muscle tone (which is typical for premature babies, children suffering from various diseases or Down syndrome), try supporting his head and your chest at the same time. 4 Grab your chest with your palm underneath so that your thumb is on one side and all the others are on the other. Move your hand slightly forward so that your thumb and forefinger form a "U" just in front of your chest. With the other three fingers, continue to support the chest. With your thumb and forefinger, hold the baby's head while feeding so that his chin rests on the part of the palm between them, your thumb gently holds the baby on one cheek, and your index finger on the other. So the baby gets excellent support, and you can control his position and see if he is holding his breast.
1 Colson SD et al. Optimal positions for the release of primitive neonatal reflexes stimulating breastfeeding. Early Hum Dev . 2008;84(7):441-449. - Colson S.D. et al., "Optimal Positions for Provoking Primitive Innate Reflexes to Induce Breastfeeding." Early Hume Dev. 2008;84(7):441-449.
2 UNICEF UK BFHI [ Internet ].