Before I share with you the benefits of laid back nursing, it is important to be aware that as long as you and your child are comfortable and they are receiving lots of breastmilk evidenced by their nappy output and weight gain, you do not need to worry about what position you are using.
That being said, there are a variety of common feeding positions parents use, and laid back nursing is one of them. This nursing position is about working with gravity in the way that you position your body to feed your child and is all about creating a recline.
This nursing position is about working with gravity in the way that you position your body to feed your child and is all about creating a recline.
Benefits of laid back nursing
Using this position to feed your baby can offer many benefits. It is considered relaxing and may help to support the natural hormonal processes to take place and keep the oxytocin flowing. This is better known as the ‘love hormone’ and can aid in the let-down of breastmilk and encourage it to flow.
Reclining can also help to tap into your child’s natural instinctive reflexes and allows them to take more of a lead with the attachment. However, you can still guide them and provide some assistance where needed. To optimise on laid back nursing, skin-to-skin contact is recommended.
The famous breast crawl is often seen using a laid back nursing position following birth. Babies often are able to find their way to the breast and bob their head around whilst seeking out the nipple. Once there, they are often able to latch on with minimal support. Using this position can help to achieve a deeper latch and support effective milk transfer.
Using this position can help to achieve a deeper latch and support effective milk transfer.
Some parents may find it a more comfortable position to use after having a C- section as they are not required to sit upright and therefore may avoid further discomfort to the site of incision. Babies who are struggling to control a fast flow of milk or forceful let-down may benefit from a reclined position too. This is because the gravity created by the recline helps to slow the flow of milk. This can reduce choking, spluttering and fussiness at the breast and create a more pleasant experience for a baby who may be struggling.
Laid back nursing when out and about
Parents often wonder how realistic it is to use a laid back position when out and about but the key to this position is about being reclined in some way. You do not have to lay flat on your back. Even a small recline can be helpful in achieving many of the benefits and loose clothing can help your baby to access more of your skin.
Despite the above, laid back nursing may not feel quite right to you and that is perfectly fine as long as you are using a position that works for you. If you are in doubt and want to talk through your positioning and the attachment of your baby to the breast or chest, you could call the National Breastfeeding Helpline or have a chat to your midwife.
NCT (2019) Laid back breastfeeding: Benefits and uses. [Online] Available from: https://www.nct.org.uk/baby-toddler/feeding/early-days/laid-back-breastfeeding-benefits-and-uses#:~:text=What%20are%20the%20benefits%20of,learn%20how%20to%20breastfeed%20together. [Accessed 01 March 2022]
Pearson- Glaze (2020) Breastfeeding positions for newborns. [Online] Available from: https://breastfeeding.support/breastfeeding-positions-for-newborns/ [Accessed 01 March 2022]
Pearson- Glaze (2019) What is a fast- let down? [Online] Available from: https://breastfeeding.support/what-is-a-fast-let-down/ [Accessed 01 March 2022]