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How to breastfeed lying down

You will need to lie on your side with your head on the pillows and your shoulders on the mattress.

  • Bend your legs slightly, but not enough for your baby’s legs to touch your thighs.
  • Your baby should be on his side facing you with his nose opposite your nipple. Make sure none of your arm is pressing on the back or top of his head. His head must be free to tilt back.
  • You need to press on your baby’s shoulders with your upper hand (or sometimes the fingertips of your lower hand) to bring him to the breast when he is ready

 This style is very useful if you have:

  • Painful stitches or haemorrhoids.
  • Had a caesarean section.
  • Also helpful if you are tired, and need to feed and rest, but make sure it is safe for your baby if you were to fall asleep while feeding.
The laid Back Approach

Positioning yourself and your baby in this way can help gently encourage skin to skin and body contact, and to enjoy a special closeness without either feeling any pressure to “get on with” feeding. Instead, this position encourages your baby to use natural reflex behaviour to help them to find your breast and feed effectively when ready. 

Underarm/Rugby Hold
  • The baby is usually held on a pillow, just under breast height, turned slightly towards you. 
  • It is very important that the baby is held very close to your side but is not able to touch anything; otherwise he will push with his legs and come too far forward.
  • Hold your baby’s head in the same way as in the cross cradle hold.
  • When the baby feels your nipple against his nose, his head will be free to tip back between your finger and thumb as you press his shoulders in towards your breast.
© Stockport NHS Foundation Trust 2023. Stepping Hill Hospital, Poplar Grove, Stockport, SK2 7JE. 0161 483 1010