5 Reasons To Opt For The Side-Lying Breastfeeding Position
By MomMed | 28 November 2022Caring for a baby is not a cakewalk. Along with ecstasy, motherhood brings with it pain, exhaustion, and a roller coaster of emotions. To add to it is your new responsibility of breastfeeding.
The worst is, it doesn’t come with holidays. Regardless of tiredness, sickness, and pain, you have to be there to feed your little human’s tummy. We understand your pain mommy. Therefore, here is everything in detail about the side-lying breastfeeding position, a nursing posture for all the hard times.
How To Nurse In The Side-Lying Breastfeeding Position
Side-lying breastfeeding is one of the most comfortable breastfeeding positions for nursing mothers. To breastfeed in the side-lying position, lie down on your side with a pillow under your head. You can stack up some pillows behind you for better support. To enhance comfort, you can place a pillow between your knees.
Make your baby lie down facing you. Ensure that their mouth aligns with your nipple. You can either use your arm on the underside to support your head or to cradle your baby. In the latter case, the hold can help you gently pull your baby toward your breast while nursing.
In the side-lying breastfeeding position, you might have to support your breast at times. Note that you shouldn’t take your breasts to your baby. Rather, you should pull your baby towards it and guide them to the nurse.
To ensure proper latching, check whether their mouth is wide open. If not, then stroke their cheeks gently. It will cause them to open their mouth wide because of the stimulation of their rooting reflex. The rooting reflex is nothing but a newborn’s ability to follow the touch and trace the breast or bottle; basically their food source. This reflex automatically vanishes after 4 months.
Once they latch properly, let them feed till they are full. Once your lower breasts feel empty, you can either roll onto the other side and repeat the same positioning for your baby to nurse from the second breast. Otherwise, you can lean over and offer your second breast.
However, just make sure that you change sides only after one breast is completely empty. Accumulation of milk over long periods can cause engorgement, clogged ducts, and mastitis.
Situations Where The Side-lying Position Helps The Most
1. Breastfeeding After Cesarean Delivery
Recovering from surgery is not child’s play. On top of that, having to continuously cater to your baby’s feeding needs can be exhausting. After a c-section, sitting up for a long time doesn’t feel comfortable. The side-lying position comes to the rescue during breastfeeding after cesarean delivery.
In this posture, the baby doesn’t lie on top of you. Therefore, the pressure that could otherwise be put on your incision and belly region is averted. You can comfortably lie down on your side, support your baby, and feed them, yet prevent additional strain on your incision site.
2. In The Hospital
Breastfeeding starts immediately within a few hours of delivery. It is a no-brainer that delivering a baby is excruciating and it takes weeks to heal. After a few hours, the exhaustion would still cloud your body. In such situations, breastfeeding can be most comfortably done in the side-lying position.
Some new mums prefer breastfeeding in the laid-back position after giving birth. However, if you are too tired to prop yourself up, the easiest way is to roll to your side, bring your tiny human close, put the rails of the hospital bed up, and start nursing.
3. Breastfeeding When You are Sick or Tired
Breastfeeding can be taxing when you are sick. When your body has given up on you, pulling yourself together to breastfeed frequently can be a pain. However, we can’t stop that. So why not nurse and rest at the same time?
The side-lying position helps you do just that. Even if you are not sick and are just tired or it's a nighttime feed, you don’t have to force yourself to sit till your baby is full. Simply lie down on your side and adjust your baby to help them latch.
4. You Have Large Breasts
When you have large breasts, it can get very uncomfortable to find a suitable position to breastfeed. If you have been wondering how to latch your tiny baby on your big breasts, then let us tell you that the side-lying position is one of the most comfortable breastfeeding positions for nursing mothers with large breasts.
Try this and you might find it to be your perfect hold. However, if you have issues, consult a lactation expert and learn proper techniques to adjust your baby and master the latching process.
5. When Your Baby Is Sleep
All new mums know how big a hassle feeding a sleepy baby can be. It has been found that in the side-lying position, sleepy babies tend to nurse longer, sufficiently. In other positions, like the cradle hold, cross-cradle hold, or upright position, babies are too snug and fall asleep half-full. The side-lying position gives sleepy babies an opportunity to feed and rest at the same time.
Thing To Keep In Mind
We just saw how the side-lying position is a boon to mothers in a plethora of situations. However, there is one thing you should embed in your mind. Never fall asleep in the side-lying position while feeding your baby. Whether you are breastfeeding when you are sick, tired, or recovering from surgery, make sure that you transfer the baby to the crib after they are done feeding.
Co-sleeping while breastfeeding often increases the risk of SIDS(Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) due to suffocation. Therefore, no matter how irresistible falling asleep in the cuddly position feels, make the effort of shifting your little one to their sleeping space after they feed for their health and safety.
Nursing mothers resort to the side-lying breastfeeding position time and again and find the comfort and liberty they crave. Be it immediately after you deliver or on a particular day you find fatigue weighing you down, you can try the side-lying position.
It is well and good if you have been helped in the hospital to learn the proper positioning. If not, then you can contact your doctor or a lactation expert for further guidance. Have patience as your learning curve takes shape and cherish every moment of your beautiful journey.