So, what is the big deal about laid back breastfeeding? Many women find this position quite difficult to master, especially when their babies are small. But here’s why this position is worth your consideration:
- Babies are born with primitive reflexes that are engaged/heightened when they are placed on their tummies on their mummies chest or tummy. This is one of the reasons why skin to skin immediately after birth is recommended. When the baby is placed in this position it enables him/her to “crawl” to the breast by instinct, taste and smell (as long as it was an unmedicated delivery).
- This inbuilt instinct, enables the baby to lead with its chin, and if left to self latch, will lick, and smell, and latch chin first, which is optimal.
- This position (on baby’s tummy) helps baby to feel stable, therefore they’re hands and legs don’t flail as much as they do when mum is sitting up in cradle hold (like when their hands get in the way of the nipple).
- In this position the baby learns to self latch, which is ideal, as this skill is preferable to being ‘latched on’ by mom. They recognise that their own instincts match up with what they are learning.
- The Laid Back position also greatly improves deep latching as the baby gets on to more of the breast (you may need to shape your breast into a sandwich shape to help the newborn with this, especially if you have flat/inverted nipples).
- If you have an overactive milk ejection reflex/fast flow of milk that the baby appears to be choking on and coming off the breast panting, then this position helps that as the baby is sucking the milk against gravity, thereby slowing the flow rate.
- This position is also great to help mums rest while they are feeding baby. Prior to baby latching, mum should relax and use plenty of cushions to get into a comfortable position. If baby is not patient, which lets face it they usually aren’t, just lay back and make sure you have loads of cushions/pillows around you to move into position. Use your arms as guard rails to help support your baby, and support your arms with cushions.
- There are many variations in the laid back position. Baby can lie pretty much anywhere: across the body like a cradle hold only baby is on his/her front, sitting up almost on mom’s lap with baby’s body completely facing mum, legs of baby off to the side of mum supported by pillows.
This position can seem very tricky and awkward at first, but it really is the most ‘natural’ way to feed your baby, and once you get used to it, its lovely (especially in the bath). Bear in mind, you don’t need to be lying down. Just semi-reclining works fine. As long as the front of your baby is in contact with your body with no gaps, that’s perfect . See this clip below: