As a new mom, getting comfortable breastfeeding can be one of your biggest challenges.
Many experienced moms and lactation consultants will talk about different nursing positions to get a good latch - but have you tried laid back breastfeeding?
Also called biological nursing, this method often eliminates the stress and worry about trying to make sure you are "doing it right." Instead, laid back breastfeeding sets the stage for a more relaxing, enjoyable bonding experience with your sweet, little infant.
No special tools, pillows, or equipment are required. Every woman can use this technique regardless of body shape or size. It is not new, but has made its way into the spotlight with the growing number of women showing difficulty in breastfeeding using specific "nursing positions" or "holds."
Laid Back Nursing
The stress of making sure everything is just right - the baby is in the right position, is being properly supported, is latching on perfectly, is placed at the right angle - can inhibit successful attempts at breastfeeding. Mothers might feel overwhelmed and quit, resulting in feelings of guilt and failure.
Laid back breastfeeding is just as the term implies, a laid back experience where Baby's instincts guide her to the breast without the mechanics of specific positioning.
Common Breastfeeding Positions
There are many different breastfeeding positions moms can use to successfully feed their babies. Sometimes, though, these positions don't work out. Each position comes with its own set of challenges.
Some moms find it difficult to overcome the challenges and feel like they are failing at breastfeeding. Laid back breastfeeding doesn't rely so heavily on technique, making the position more "user-friendly."
This position is helpful especially for women who have had a C-section.
- Baby is held to one side under Mom's arm instead of across her front where the incision is located.
- Baby is supported by one arm while you support your breast in the other hand using a "U" or "C" shaped hold.
- The challenge with this position is balancing your baby in one arm and handling your breast with the opposite hand, all while keeping Baby elevated enough to reach your breast.
If you give this one a try, keep lots of pillows close by!
The cradle position is the most commonly known and widely used by nursing moms.
- Your baby lays on his side with his front touching your front and his head nestled in the bend of your arm.
- With your free hand, you can support your baby further or use that hand to support your breast.
- You will need to elevate your baby to your breast.
- You might need lots of pillows, in the beginning, to help get your baby into a comfortable spot.
This position is sometimes challenging for heavy-breasted women.
This is another popular and well-known position for nursing.
- The cross-cradle position has your baby laying on his side with his front touching yours except in this hold his head is in the palm of your hand.
- The rest of his little body can tuck away under your arm.
- Since Baby is tucked under your arm in this hold, it is a challenging position if you have a big baby or one that is older and won't want to be held down.
It can be very painful for women who have had a C-section as well.
Side Lying Position
This is a form of laid back breastfeeding since you are not supporting your baby's weight, as the bed on which you are laying will.
- You lay on your side and have your infant laying on his side too with his tummy touching your tummy.
- Baby will nurse on the breast closest to the surface you are laying on.
This is great for co-sleeping mommies.
Laid Back Position
As more professionals share this position with women, the more popular it is becoming.
- You lay back in a semi-reclined position, whatever is most comfortable for you, and rest your baby on your chest with his front to your front.
- Since in this position your baby's basic instinct for feeding will take over, she will begin to root for your breast.
- This laid back position works for all shapes and sizes and gravity does all the work to support the weight of your baby, no matter how big or small.
This is a great opportunity for skin to skin bonding as well.
What About Baby's Latch?
There is always concern surrounding Baby's latch and whether she is properly latched for best results. Without a good latch you may experience sore or bleeding nipples and your baby may not be getting all the milk available to her.
However, while it is important to have your baby latched on well, with laid back breastfeeding your baby will have a much easier time getting a deep, more natural latch, so you won't have to intentionally latch your baby but only help when needed.
This instructional video walks you through the laid back position and latching your baby on well. She also discusses what to look for in a good latch with other positions as well.
Do I Need Special Equipment or Gear?
As a new mom, you will likely be heavily marketed to. Just keep in mind - women were breastfeeding long before nursing pillows, nursing accessories, and even bottles and formula were invented.
In fact, nursing was so successful it put over 7 billion people on this planet!
Don't feel that you NEED to buy anything in order to breastfeed your baby.
Having said that, if you WANT to buy gear that might be useful to you, simply look for a breastfeeding back pillow.
A breastfeeding back pillow will give you some added support to make laid back breastfeeding that much more comfortable and enjoyable.
- Designed by a Chiropractor and a Nursing Mother of 3.
- you can use it in a chair, couch, bed, hospital bed, or nursery rocking chair to comfortably hold, feed, and support your baby.
- Provides relief for backache following cesarean sections, surgery, or postpartum use.
- Constructed from high-quality structural foam and certified free of PBDE flame retardants, phthalates, CFC’s, formaldehyde, mercury, lead, and other heavy metals
Alternatively, you could purchase cover-up blankets if you wish to have privacy while breastfeeding, but again, not necessary.
- can be also used as nursing cover, stroller cover, car seat canopy, infinity scarf, shawl and endless other uses.
- Protects from sunlight, summer heat, wind & breezes while maintaining your privacy.
- Super light and soft nursing scarf, keeping your baby cool, and comfortable
- Completely risk-free satisfaction guarantee for life.
Benefits of Laid Back Breastfeeding
Mothers are quickly discovering that laid back breastfeeding is the way to go when nursing their children. Because there are so many benefits to this position, every mother should give it a try. The wonderful benefits include:
- Added comfort for mother since she can lay back in any manner that feels good
- Baby's natural instincts take over, meaning less intervention from mother
- The latch your baby can achieve is deeper and more productive
- It is a great form of biological nursing, as many mammals feed this way
- Your baby will feel more secure since gravity works to stabilize him on your tummy
- Works well for women with all sizes and shapes of breasts
- Less strain on mothers back
- Latch is more comfortable and soft for mom causing less irritation of the nipple
- Mom can get some light rest while baby feeds instead of sitting in a tense upright position
- Can be done in a bed, on the couch, in the car or anywhere you can lean back and lay baby on or beside you
- Less stress for mom and baby means a higher probability of success
- Mothers never have to feel they are "doing it wrong" since it is all biological
- There are no specific holds or positions to learn or perfect
- Great for right after giving birth when moms are sore
- More skin to skin contact for mothers and babies
Give it a Shot!
Laid back breastfeeding may be the answer you are looking for if your breastfeeding isn't going well and you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed. You can't do it wrong!
It is natural and instinctual for Baby - you just lay back and relax.
Go ahead, get yourself comfortable in a slightly reclined position, use pillows if you want, wear whatever clothing you want (or not) and let Baby use her natural instinct to take over.
If you want, you can guide her to your breast if she looks like she needs help, but once she's there she should latch on well. No stress or worries and no "mommy guilt" that you aren't doing it right.
Have you tried laid back breastfeeding before? Let us know how it went in the comments!
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