8 Benefits For Laid Back Breastfeeding, How To Do And Tips

✔ Research-backed

Laid-back breastfeeding, also referred to as biological nurturing, is a reclined breastfeeding position. This feeding method reportedly stimulates babies’ innate feeding reflexes, which could help them latch accurately.

Most women feel that laid-back nursing is an ideal posture while breastfeeding, and this position might help babies who might have latching difficulties. Additionally, you may attempt varied feeding positions to discover the one most comfortable for you and your baby.

Explore more about the advantages, different approaches, and tips for laid-back breastfeeding in this post.

In This Article

Benefits Of Laid-back Breastfeeding

Babies can express their instinctive feeding behavior in a laid-back feeding position since their mother’s body supports them. The benefits of laid-back breastfeeding could include the following (1).

  • Learn breastfeeding together; this position helps newborns and mothers become comfortable with breastfeeding gradually.
  • It helps increase the production of nurturing hormones, such as oxytocin, in both mother and baby to enhance bonding.
  • Babies are well-supported on the mother’s body during laid-back feeding.
  • Gravity may also encourage a deeper, more comfortable latch in this position.
  • Wearing no clothing can increase skin-to-skin contact during this feeding position.
Laid-back breastfeeding offers the benefits of skin-to-skin contact.

Image: Shutterstock

  • Mothers can keep the baby in a laid-back position beyond nursing, thus enhancing the bonding between mother and baby.

You may try and use a laid-back nursing position any time unless contraindicated by your lactation consultant or pediatrician.

protip_icon Quick fact
Studies show that in the laid-back position, a mother instinctively strokes a baby’s feet just as they are about to latch to the breast. The mother’s stroke initiates the baby’s toe reflex which in turn triggers their lip and tongue-feeding reflexes (2).

Tips For Laid-back Breastfeeding

The following tips could help you breastfeed comfortably in a laid-back position and ensure a proper latch (2)(3).

  • Lean back from sitting position with back support.
  • Keep the infant close to support their body.
  • Avoid keeping the baby on the incision site if you had a cesarean birth.
  • Adjust the baby’s position so that there is no pressure on their neck and back.
Hold the baby in a way their head and neck are well-supported

Image: Shutterstock

  • Try to wear comfortable clothing for nursing.
  • Babies move their heads from side to side with a wide mouth when they are ready to latch. Positioning the baby so that the mother’s nipple touches the space between their upper lip and nose will trigger the gape reflex, which will encourage a deep and comfortable latch.
  • Mothers who have oversupply may try this position.
  • If needed, support the baby with one hand and breast with another hand.

You can breastfeed in this position in each breastfeeding session.

How Does A Newborn Latch During Laid-back Breastfeeding?

This position enhances a baby’s ability to use their primitive feeding reflexes. The baby tries to wriggle, push their feet, and move their head side to side to reach nipples. It ultimately leads to improved reach and better latch to the breast, providing a comfortable nursing experience for both mother and infant.

Laid-back breastfeeding is the preferred breastfeeding position for many new mothers during the first few hours after birth. This feeding position also enhances skin contact, which facilitates better mother-child bonding.

protip_icon Research finds
Studies show that a laid-back breastfeeding position might help decrease lactation-related nipple pain and trauma (4).

Laid-back Breastfeeding After A Cesarean-section

Laid-back breastfeeding is helpful for mothers who undergo a C-section

Image: Shutterstock

Mothers who underwent C-section delivery can consider laid-back breastfeeding. It can be convenient after a cesarean section since mothers can sit in a comfortable position with back support (1).

You can continue to feed the infant at home in a laid-back position if you find upright feeding positions uncomfortable. If you have difficulties moving and placing your baby in the initial days, you may take the help of a nurse, partner, or family member. This semi-reclined position is quite helpful after C-section since it helps the mother avoid pressure on their belly while also letting the baby latch correctly.

How To Do Laid-back Breastfeeding In Public?

Koala hold is a variation for laid-back breastfeeding.

Image: Shutterstock

You may try the laid-back nursing position in public if you have access to a sofa or a deep chair. More comfortable variation of this position would be Koala hold, where the baby sits straddling the thighs of the mother and lays along her belly, latching onto the breast in a semi-seated position (and she usually will also recline herself as much as possible).

Many restaurants and coffee shops have seating suitable for reclined positions. However, make sure the chair or sofa is sturdy, and you are able to get into a laid-back position without straining yourself. Loose outdoor clothing or a nursing bra could make it easier for your baby to access the breast while breastfeeding.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What supplies do I need to practice laid-back breastfeeding?

Though no special supplies are required for laid-back breastfeeding, you may consider having comfortable seating, with cushions and pillows to support your neck and back. Other usual supplies may include a nursing bra, blankets, burp cloths, and nipple cream.

2. Are there any risks associated with laid-back breastfeeding?

There are no reported risks associated with laid-back breastfeeding. However, there may be a possibility of the mother falling asleep in a relaxed position. Falling asleep with your baby on a sofa or armchair may increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (5).

3. What is the best way to transition from bottle feeding to laid-back breastfeeding?

While transitioning a baby from bottle to breastfeeding, ensure you have skin-to-skin contact. Have your baby’s elbows, navel, and the insides of both knees touch you, head turned, and cheek against breast, and keep their feet supported with your hand. Try nursing when your baby sleeps in a dimly lit, noise-free environment. Avoid forcing your baby to feed and let them seek out your breasts themselves. Additionally, you may carry your baby in a sling to keep them close between feedings (6).

Laidback breastfeeding is a reclined position of breastfeeding. Mothers can relax on the sofa, chair, or bed while breastfeeding. Innate reflexes stimulate babies to latch, and gravity supports latch in this feeding position. Skin-to-skin contact between the mother and the baby is also improved in this nursing position. Laid-back breastfeeding helps reduce the risk of choking on breastmilk, mainly due to oversupply, and it provides tummy time for babies. You must avoid laid-back breastfeeding if your healthcare provider or lactation consultant restricts it for medical reasons.

Infographic: How To Properly Breastfeed In A Laid-Back Position?

While breastfeeding is a beautiful part of being a mother, it can also come with challenges. The infographic below offers practical advice for achieving a comfortable, laid-back breastfeeding position. While it is most useful for women with cesarean deliveries and milk oversupply, every lactating woman can use this breastfeeding position.

tips for a comfortable laid back breastfeeding (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • Some benefits of laid-back breastfeeding include bonding and increased production of nurturing hormones.
  • Ensure to use back support and comfort yourself, wear comfortable clothing, and give good support to the baby.
  • Laid-back breastfeeding allows babies to use primitive feeding reflexes, resulting in a better latch.
  • It is a more comfortable position for mothers who’ve undergone C-section delivery.
laid back breastfeeeding_illustration

Image: Dall·E/MomJunction Design Team

References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.

1. What is laid-back breastfeeding or biological nurturing?; NCT (National Childbirth Trust)
2. Lie Back and Relax! A Look at Laid-Back Breastfeeding; La Leche League USA
3. Positioning; La Leche League International
4. Zhi Wang et al.; The effectiveness of the laid-back position on lactation-related nipple problems and comfort: a meta-analysis; NCBI; (2021)
5. Positioning and attachment; The Health Service Executive, Ireland
6. The Baby Who Doesn’t Nurse; La Leche League International

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Mary Miller
Mary MillerMA, IBCLC, RLC, CLC, CPD, MCH
Mary Miller received her degrees in Interpersonal Communications and Maternal Health and Lactation and founded the Breastfeeding Support Center of WNY in Buffalo, New York. She has 20 years of experience as a lactation specialist.

Read full bio of Mary Miller