Guide to Side-Lying Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding while lying down comes with its own array of unique benefits. Learn more about the side-lying nursing position and why it might work as an integral part of your breastfeeding journey.

Side-lying breastfeeding is an excellent nursing position every mother should know. Your life has likely never been busier, and the opportunity to lay comfortably, relax, and cuddle your baby while breastfeeding might be just what you need – a quiet few minutes for the two of you to bond and enjoy one another! Lying down while breastfeeding isn’t just a great way to relax; there are plenty of other reasons why you might want to try it. Here’s some of the reasons you may want to incorporate side-lying breastfeeding into your nursing routine and how to master this position together.

The Benefits of Side-Lying Breastfeeding

There are plenty of reasons that you might appreciate the benefits of breastfeeding while lying on your side. Some of the most common reasons to breastfeed on your side include: 

  1. The relaxation! We know we’ve already mentioned this, but it’s one of the most popular reasons why parents enjoy breastfeeding on their side. Being able to lie down and relax while your little one nurses is a welcome break from what we know is a busy day. It’s important to note that it is not recommended that you sleep while doing so. Sleeping in the same bed as your baby can be dangerous for them and does not follow the official safe sleep guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  2. Added comfort for mothers who had a cesarean delivery (otherwise known as a C-section). Side-lying breastfeeding can be a great way to avoid your baby putting pressure on your abdomen while breastfeeding, which can greatly reduce discomfort as you heal.
  3. Another way to position and latch your little one. For mothers with larger breasts, side-lying breastfeeding can be more comfortable and help your little one achieve a strong latch.

Regardless of why you might prefer to breastfeed while lying on your side, here’s some recommendations for how you can do so most effectively:

How to Breastfeed on Your Side

  1. Carefully place your baby on their back on the floor, bed, sofa, or other area where you intend to nurse. You may wish to keep a gentle hand on them as you settle in next to them to ensure he or she won’t roll over or fall. 
  2. Lay down next to your baby, with your breasts near their head. Take some time to get comfortable, which is often easier to do with the help of a nursing pillow.
  3. Hold your baby so that they are nose level with your nipple and your arm is above their head while keeping them on their back. The exact position will differ slightly for every mother, and you may also find it more comfortable for you and/or them to cradle their back with your arm.
  4. Gently roll your little one onto their side so they are now facing your breast, and carefully guide them to it until they’ve achieved a strong latch and are getting your milk.

Breastfeeding Guidance for New Moms

Looking for more great advice on your breastfeeding journey? Medela offers research-backed, mother-approved advice, breast pumps, and breastfeeding apparel that you can use along your breastfeeding journey. Medela is here for you every step of the way!

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