Nursing Lying Down

Nursing while 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.

yawning baby
Baby yawning.

Nursing while lying down can make things a little easier for a mother. It 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

  • A mother will need: A firm mattress, pillows, and a rolled-up baby blanket, to put behind her baby so that they do not roll away from her while feeding.
  • To increase comfort, a mother can put a pillow behind her back, under her head, and between her legs. When nursing lying down, she should find someone to help her the first few times. She should ensure that she is resting her weight on the pillows - not to put too much strain on her hips and lower back.
  • Place your baby on their 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 close so that they touch you - so that you and your baby form a V shape together.
  • Use your free hand, which 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, making it too difficult for them to swallow.
  • Once your baby has opened their mouth and taken in your breast, you can push your baby's shoulders in towards you.
breastfeeding while lying down
Breastfeeding lying down.
  • Wedge the rolled blanket or towel behind your baby’s back, so they do 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, leave this breastfeeding position for a later stage, when your baby is more experienced at the breast.
  • Always allow baby freedom of head movement so they can unlatch if they struggle to breathe.

Other Tips for Breastfeeding While Lying Down

  • If your baby is old enough to crawl, it is best to take safety precautions. More here about safe co-sleeping.
  • If you feel that your breast has not drained sufficiently towards the end of your feeding, it would be best to sit up for 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 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 latch their babies and then lie down slowly.

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Advantages of the Lying Down Position while Breastfeeding

Does Breastfeeding while Lying Down Cause Ear Infections?

  • Just because your baby is breastfeeding decreases the chances of them getting ear infections; breast milk contains germ-fighting properties.
  • Breast milk is often used to remedy ear infections! If the eardrum 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 your baby is at an angle—more about laid-back breastfeeding.