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Can your baby breastfeed while you are lying in bed? - Page 4

post #61 of 92

I had a lot of trouble with my first daughter with breastfeeding the first few weeks in general.  It took about 2 months before I could comfortably hold her in bed to nurse, even though we were sleeping together.


My second daughter is a cinch!!  I've been nursing in bed since birth.  I noticed she's a LOT bigger than my first, even though both were wiry and strong.  My first daughter's head was just not big enough to actually reach my breast even if turned all the way to the side.  It's more comfy with my bigger baby.  They were very much similar in size at birth, but #2 has gained weight much faster, making her easier and easier to nurse in bed.


With the first, it was a struggle, but definitely worth it.  I also remember hearing her nuzzle and fuss against me, and having to flip a light switch so I could sit up and see what I was doing in the most bleary, sleep deprived ways.  But it got better, and one day I realized she could nurse in bed and, OH Happy Days!  She'd nurse left, right, and on my belly with her cheek turned to grab a breast, and would be done in a few minutes and we were back to sleep in no time.  Current baby did this from birth, but it could be that I'm well-versed in techniques I didn't even know I was using.


So, keep trying.  I don't think it has as much to do with the breast size, only your comfort level/baby's size and reach ability, and finding a position that works.  

post #62 of 92
With my first baby, I had a c-section and was painful to lay on my side, and basically impossible to lift the baby into bassinet next to our bed. So I would end up sitting on the couch with her on the boppy. Then I started to recline on pillows on the couch and ditched the boppy and used kind of a cradle hold. When she was a few months old and stronger I started just going to bed with her, I actually found it easier to nurse from the top breast. I would keep her on my side of the bed as hubby concerned about rolling on her. To nurse on the bottom breast I would have to kinda of lay on my back and put my bottom arm above my head to get the angle right. Finally started to get some sleep!
Baby too also a c/s and used a binder to make my stomach more comfy, I was determined to get some better sleep right from the get go and it worked out. Baby flat on bed or on my arm.
My friend has large breasts and one flat, one inverted nipple, she was too scared to try nursing one her side with first babe, thinking she would squish him but also using nipple shield, etc made it harder. She finally tried it with baby two, I tried to show her what I did, and she eventually got comfortable when baby several months old.
I think it's worth it to work through it, I nursed much longer and got better sleep, sometimes they seemed to nurse all night but once latched on I could doze. Good idea to practice during the day, with pillows for back support and a rolled blanket or something to keep baby in place as you adjust yourself. Breast of luck!
post #63 of 92
I am a G cup, and we could nurse side-lying from the first time I tried it, a day or two after my son was born. He was a very efficient eater right out of the womb, however, which I think made a huge difference. I didn't realize it was something out of the ordinary until my midwife told me it was a coup for a first-time mama to be able to side-lie.
Something that may have made it easier was that I made a nest for myself with my enormous wrap-around pregnancy pillow, and kind of wedged my boy in next to me. This was a little frustrating, actually, because I would then have to take the pillow off the bed when it was time to sleep, and my son was a very light sleeper. He only slept for fifteen-to-twenty-minute stretches for the first two or three weeks, so side-lying without the pillow was something I needed to learn to do as soon as humanly possible.
post #64 of 92

It *did* take longer with my first, which I had forgotten about.  With my second I finally figured out to physically put the nipple in his mouth in the early stages, which made all the difference.  It was one of those little "a-ha" moments and "why didn't I do this before?"  With that technique, you can get in whatever position you want (pillows behind your back can be very helpful) and then just spoon up around the baby (who will be lying on his side).  The baby will tuck their legs up and you can put the nipple in their mouth.  My daughter (4mo) is a champion thumb-sucker, so I have to pull her thumb out and push her arms down away from her face and put the nipple in her mouth!  If I don't pull her thumb out of her mouth she will fuss and cry with the nipple right there, but sucking on her thumb instead!  Also, something that is kind of interesting in terms of sleeping with the baby at night is that once she is done nursing I have to physically move her away from me and onto her tummy.  My boys were content to snuggle up to me and spoon with me all night long, but she can't sleep if she's touching me!


Like the others said, just keep at it and you will find what works for you!  It will happen in a subtle way and before you know it you'll have your own system figured out!

post #65 of 92

We didn’t even try until LO was probably around 2 months old because like you said, I really needed to sit up straight with the boppy pillow and holding my breast in the correct position to get a good latch. I also have large breasts and it still becomes an issue here and there depending on our position. But I think we just happened to both be very sleepy during a nap one day sometime between 2-3 months and I just tried. It was wonderful! I was so proud! I still used the boppy a lot until more recently but we started nursing on our laying down a few times a day and then used the boppy the other times until my LO got so big (she’s not 6 months) and can comfortably just lay in my arms to nurse while I sit.  I go back and forth between holding my breast not, depending on she seems to be doing. I usually have my arm around her and use the other hand to position it correctly or just rub her legs or something.  It definitely makes it easier for co-sleeping!

post #66 of 92

Hi Drbrockbaca, I don't have time to read all the responses-has anyone mentioned laid back breastfeeding and biological nurturing? These ideas for positioning, latch, etc. were discovered and researched by Suzanne Colson, a midwife and LC & researcher in England. Here is her website for videos, pictures, descriptions of her research etc. http://www.biologicalnurturing.com/ You can also find a qucik descriptiong here: http://www.llli.org/docs/0000000000000001WAB/WAB_Tear_sheet_Toolkit/01_laid_back_breastfeeding.pdf


Side lying is a great way to breastfeed. So is sitting up with a pillow-IF those positions work for the mom & baby, they are fine. But they both create a situation where gravity is pulling the baby off the nipple, which can cause latch pain, among other issues.  Sitting up and crouching over a pillow may cause neck, back and shoulder strain and make breastfeeding truly uncomfortable for mom even when there is no nipple pain. This ideas behind biological nurturing are to use gravity and instinctual positioning to create a more natural and comfortable nursing position for both mom and baby. There are not lots of rules, its about getting comfortable & experimenting wiht the positioning that works for YOU and YOUR baby. Another piece is keeing baby with you and with easy access to the breasts most of the time in the early days. This way baby never (or rarely) becomes frantic or even mildly upset-it's  right there and baby can calmly latch, even latch in sleep. A calm or asleep baby will usually latch better than an upset baby. A calm baby will also be more OK with being readjusted if the latch is hurting mom. Mom is calmer, baby is calmer, and that creates a situation where both mother and babies instinctual and hormonal connections & behaviors can flouish.


I am really simplifying this, but I have seen this work again and again when moms are having latch or positioning issues. It can feel awkward at first, and like with anything else, it only works if it works for YOU.


Also, when you are having breastfeeding issues of any kind it is vitaly important to get support. I suggest you contact your local La Leche League.

post #67 of 92

We started right away in the hospital. It probably did take a little longer to get the hang of it with my first though. I think you've been given some good advice already, I just wanted to touch on the hour long nursing comment you made. With my first it took us a little longer for my milk to get good and established so my daughter would nurse for an hour-hour and a half and then want to nurse again in about 30 min. It was really draining but eventually my supply got established and it was much easier. Just hang in there! Also, we later found out that she had some food intolerances and thinking back she was probably nursing so much to soothe her tummy. May be worth looking into!

post #68 of 92

Try it lying on the floor before trying it in bed. This helped me figure out the logistics and get the latch right without my son rolling into me or under my breast. I would also suggest trying to lay more toward your tummy so you can bf with your right breast while laying on your left side...does that make sense? This is more manageable with larger breasts and some times gave relief to my back. Though I agree with others about having a pillow snug against your back for support when bfing on your side. Good luck!

post #69 of 92

OP, I had the same "inefficient eater" problem.  I never found out the cause, but it may have been due to my supply or how often my breasts let-down milk.  Seriously, my DD used to nurse for good 45 miuteson EACH SIDE before getting full.  I had 30 minutes of break to eat, shower, bathroom, or whatever before she needed me again.  Those were exausting days.  Until she was a good 2 months old, she often fell asleep latched on.  My LLL leader told me that I should pump after each session to get my supply going.  I think it helped a little, but never really improved the length of time DD nursed. I simply accepted that this was how my body worked or how DD nursed and didn't worry because she was gaining weight.  I was glued to that chair for what seemed like forever and ever.  In the meantime, I watched lots of movies on Netflix during the day and fell asleep in my nursing chair with DD at night.  For some people, it really may be a medical issue, so I would try to rule out those things first.


I had a hard time nursing lying down in the beginning because I wasn't comfortable lying down with my arm over or under my body.  I got pins and needles in my arm especially with how long DD nursed.  Because I have small breasts, they didn't reach her with me lying somewhat on my back.  The lying down method didn't work until my DD was about 4 or 5 months old.  That is when I started taking her to the bed at night to nurse.  This definitely helped a lot in getting my sleep.  DD is almost 3 now and she won't nurse any other way.  She always pushes my body down to the bed when she wants to nurse.  Luckily, she stopped nursing outside of the house at 1.5 years.


Good luck!  As many have already said, it WILL work in time. 

post #70 of 92

I'm on baby 5 and all of my kids have nursed this way from day one except number 4 who was over a year before he would finally do it! I was so exhausted having to sit up all night! I am flat as a pancake, fully engorged at a B cup, and the breast closest to the bed is easiest for me. The top breast I practically have to lay on top of the baby to make contact. So I either offer the top breast first so then I can fall asleep while they nurse on the bottom, or I roll over to switch sides.

post #71 of 92
Originally Posted by Marissamom View Post

with my first, she was about 2-2.5 month old when we figured it out, with my second we did when he was hours old. I have yet to talk to mom who could early on with her first. 

I would have been sunk without that position with my first. She was born in a hospital, and thanks to the advice of the doctors, I ended up with a pulled sciatic nerve and couldn'st hardly move even in bed for weeks! My next 3 were easier, but I still took the lazy way and ended up keeping them in bed with me a lot. It never occured to me that it was hard to figure out. I'm small breasted, and my babies are huge, so maybe that helped. I also did the baby on top and lying across me position. I believe that is a good one for large breasted woman. I always use a pillow inbetween the legs and behind baby with the side position too. It probably looks like I'm lying on my baby when I switch sides and lean over the baby onto my pillow with my leg bent way around baby. Probably most people just turn over and put baby on the other side of you, but I hate the transition and like him getting nice and sleepy. I've never had a sleepy medicated or small baby though, so I never worried about the sleepy baby problem.
post #72 of 92


I have a 5 month old daughter that I've been nursing in bed since birth. I learned the trick when my oldest daughter (now 13) was about a week old, & it's been a life saver! I'd be a zombie without knowing how to. I actually have 2 techniques for nursing in bed.


1) Laying on side. You can put a rolled up towel or blanket behind baby's back for support (I just wad up my blanket). The tricky part is lining up baby's mouth just right with your nipple, & you'll have to spend a min or two adjusting where baby is. You will be offering the nipple that is closest to the matress. Once you get baby latched on, you can just rest your upper arm on your side, & you can place the arm closest to the matress around baby's back if you're comfy that way or just bend your elbow & tuck your hand wherever it feels most comfy so that your arm is above baby's head. Once you get the hang of this you'll be shocked at how easy it is! My baby sleeps in a bassinet next to my bed for 5 - 7 hrs, wakes up to nurse & then comes to bed with me for the remainder of sleeping. From that point on I nurse her every 2 hrs - always on my side. As soon as she's latched on, we both doze off.


2) Sometimes I like to lean back & relax, watch tv or read, & nurse at the same time. I pile pillows up at the head of the bed, sit up & get her latched on, & then just lean back until I'm more or less laying on my back but in a reclined way (not completely flat). She's more or less laying on her side on top of me, with her body stretched across me. I only need to place one arm behind her to keep her positioned properly, & the other arm is free. I've fallen asleep like this before. It's a comfy way to nap, but I don't feel like it's as safe for baby as the side lying position.


Good luck! You can do it!

post #73 of 92

I could have written your original question a couple of months ago!


I'm pretty large up top, too, in the neighborhood of a 40H, give or take.  I had all these fuzzy romantic dreams of sidelying in bed, sleeping through those first few tough weeks, and just being glowing super breastfeeding mom.  Ummm...no.


We had some struggles at first (some really bad ones for a while, actually) and the first two weeks were full of ups and downs.  Nursing was a team effort with my husband helping, getting nursing pillows just right, sometimes propping up her head with more pillow/towel, and all sorts of various helping aides.  I tried lying down and there was just no way  I could do that early on.  People would say "oh, just put a little burp cloth under your breast to support it."  No.  I don't need a burp cloth.  I need *scaffolding*!  ;)


By two weeks we were through a good portion of the learning curve.  By six weeks, we were through the classic learning curve and doing great.  I felt confident, I NIP'd all the time, I still used pillows for support but no longer needed too many extra helpers.  I did still need a c-hold because these 40H's have a gravity of their own and my DD couldn't hold the breast in her mouth well enough against that kind of force.  ;)


I would try periodically, but it still wasn't quite right.  Sidelying involved a lot of shifting, maneuvering, setting it up just so, and so forth.  That isn't what I wanted in the middle of the night.  So, I kept up with sitting up in bed.  I would wake a good bit, but in time and with practice could almost doze sitting up in bed with her.  I keep a pillow vertical on my headboard.  Another pillow to sleep on that becomes a support for her when she wakes/nurses.  Book light on her cosleeper to give me just a little bit of lighting to help her latch.


A couple weeks ago when she was 3 months old, we started trying again and she's really getting it now!  She has essentially full head control, can support herself pretty well on her side, and all around just is bigger (actually, she's huge! :) and can handle more stuff on her own.  She latches pretty much by herself now.  I still mostly use a c-hold to help her latch onto the planetoid that is my breast, but occasionally, in some positions, I can let go.  I figure in another month or three, she'll really be able to hold the breast herself and my arms/hands will finally be completely free.


So, we've been practicing and she's been loving it as much as I.  Sometimes she lays flat on the bed and turns towards my breast.  Not the best way for swallowing, but she's old enough now that I'm not as concerned with it as she seems to be intrigued and delighted by the position.  Other times, we lay tummy to tummy.  Sometimes she can support herself there just fine, sometimes I pull my husband's pillow up behind her so she doesn't have to focus on keeping herself on her side.


I can nurse either boob (top or bottom) in those positions.  It varies which works best.  Haven't figured out the subtle differences in why it works better/worse from time to time, but I'm sure we will.


She positively loves the position and gets all excited/flappy when she sees we're about to do that.  It's adorable!  We actually both fell asleep nursing the other day in that position and it was heavenly!  She frequently falls asleep like that now, and once she's done I often fall asleep, too. 


It still takes some support on my part, holding my breast in a modified c-hold.  This can be a pain since it means my upper arm is often busy/having to work against gravity, but I'm getting better at it and have found variations that make it easier.   In another couple weeks I bet we'll be able to reduce that.  This work, though, does tend to keep me awake a bit.  And, just watching her/being fascinated with this new "trick" also delights me so much it's hard to sleep until she's done.  :)


She's now about a week away from 4 months...so it might take you a while as well.  But keep trying and I bet you'll see baby step improvements along the way.  We're only doing this during the day or for naps right now.  Not yet ready to try to do this in the middle of the night, sleepy, maneuvering in the dark.  We will be soon enough though and I know it will be wooooonderful.  Good luck and know that it probably can be done, but is another serious learning curve for many of us. 





post #74 of 92

I had DD breasts at the time, and found that putting a pillow behind my back as a brace so I was a tad on my side helped a lot with lining up the breast and nipple for my son. A friend with large breasts as well found laying her baby on a firmish pillow help the baby be next to the nipple.  Even laying semi on my tummy with one breast available for my son, worked as he could be on the bed with the nipple more like a bottle nipple in his mouth. Try new ideas and you will find what works best for you. I  wish you well.

post #75 of 92
Originally Posted by DrBrockBaca View Post

Well, my baby has difficulty latching in any position. I have to hold my breast for her and roll my nipple into her mouth while holding her head and neck with the other hand and bringing her head to my breast. She's just not nursing well generally. I've been to the lactation clinic 5 times in the last 3 1/2 weeks. They actually had me try using a nipple shield (my nipples are kind of flat and soft), which seems to be helping her latch on and she nurses longer with it. But now I'm afraid that is going to interfere with her breastfeeding on my bare breast. I'm not sure what to do. But when they weighed her before and after breastfeeding with and without the nipple shield, she got more with it than without it. So I don't know what to do! It's very difficult to get her to nurse. She has trouble latching on, and she's not an efficient eater - she will nurse for an hour and only get about half an ounce to an ounce. Part of this is because she always goes to sleep almost as soon as I put her to the breast, so she is pausing a lot and not sucking hard enough and continuously. I do everything I can to stimulate her (tickling, talking, rubbing her with a wet washcloth, blowing  on her, etc.), but it just isn't enough. I'm also struggling with juggling pumping and nursing. I want to let her nurse as long as she wants, but then I don't have time to do anything else (pump, eat, sleep, etc.). I think it would help if we could nurse lying down so at least I could rest a little. 


Not only do I have large breasts (about a 34J US) while I am nursing, I also have tiny babies. My first son was 6 lbs, my second just 5.5lbs. Due to some complications (he was in the hospital a week and I couldn't even start to try nursing for 3 days), initiated breastfeeding with my first was a frustrating, but ultimately successful event. It took a few weeks after he was home to get the hang of lying-down feeding.


With my second lying down while nursing is a must. My babes tend to awaken frequently and there is no way I'd be functional if I couldn't just pop 'em on and go back to sleep.


I want to tell you first that relaxing is the best thing you can do to get your baby eating well. There are a lot of good videos here http://www.breastfeedinginc.ca/content.php?pagename=videos that might help you get started with a latch. With great respect for lactation consultants, sometimes a mom just has to follow her instincts, realize her confidence and stop worrying. It will happen, especially if you have no milk-flow issues and don't create any.


Lying down for me can be accomplished 2 ways. If your breasts are hard and full of milk, and don't really want to go anywhere, try angling your body so that you nurse her with your TOP breast. It's a little less restful for you, since you have to be half-aware of not rolling over on her, but, especially with my first, I didn't have the easily manipulated soft breasts and it was by far easier to nurse that way until my milk regulated. I used to plant the fist of my top hand over my son and into the mattress, and sleep that way. Never had a problem. (Also, the firmer surface you sleep on, the better, for safety.)


If you have nice, soft, moveable breasts, nurse with the bottom breast, and just shove it around a bit until the nipple points the right way. At newborn, I had to lie baby (#2) on my bottom arm at breast level, since he was too small to reach my nipple if he was lying down. Now that he's a little bigger, I don't need to do that. I sleep while breastfeeding nearly every night, from about 1-3am.


Have you been doing breast compressions while feeding? If your baby has a nice mouthful of milk and is hungry, then she should be drinking instead of sleeping. From all I've read (and I read a LOT with my first) baby will sleep while nursing only if 1) she's not actually hungry and is just soothing herself; 2) she's not getting milk.


I hope everything goes well for you and you get some sleep, or rest. I hope baby latches and drinks. I understand the frustration and self-doubt that comes with a rough start to breastfeeding. It is tough - hang in there! After all the trouble I had with my first, he ended up nursing for 23 months. It will happen :)




post #76 of 92

I would wait a few more weeks and try it again.  I have breastfed both of my daughters while in bed, but I remember getting impatient with my second daughter when she was newborn because I couldn't get her to latch while I was laying down.  I think she was at least six weeks or even two months old before we got the hang of nursing laying down.  Make sure your baby is a very good nurser in the standard position (cradle or football) and has a very good latch.  Once she's mastered that, start trying to lay down.  Occasionally, I could have the baby latch sitting up and then gradually lower us both to a laying down position, but usually it worked better just to lay both of us down and then latch her on.  So be patient and keep trying -- she'll grow into it!


Bonnie (mom of Sunshine, 3, and Lilibet, 1)


post #77 of 92
Thread Starter 

We did it! Sort of. We've been using a nipple shield because of various problems, but I've been trying to get rid of it. I had only tried side-lying nursing without the nipple shield and couldn't get my baby to latch, but she did it easily with the nipple shield. So at least in the middle of the night, I'm just going to use the shield for a while until she gets better at latching without it. If we don't use the shield, I have to use the "teacup" hold on my breast and basically roll my nipple into her mouth with one hand while pushing her head to my breast with my other hand. This is of course impossible in the side-lying position. So for now, I guess we will just keep using the nipple shield for that position. :( Thanks for all the advice, though! Hopefully soon we can get rid of the shield. But I slept for an hour today while she nursed! Yay!

post #78 of 92
Originally Posted by DrBrockBaca View Post

We did it! Sort of. We've been using a nipple shield because of various problems, but I've been trying to get rid of it. I had only tried side-lying nursing without the nipple shield and couldn't get my baby to latch, but she did it easily with the nipple shield. So at least in the middle of the night, I'm just going to use the shield for a while until she gets better at latching without it. If we don't use the shield, I have to use the "teacup" hold on my breast and basically roll my nipple into her mouth with one hand while pushing her head to my breast with my other hand. This is of course impossible in the side-lying position. So for now, I guess we will just keep using the nipple shield for that position. :( Thanks for all the advice, though! Hopefully soon we can get rid of the shield. But I slept for an hour today while she nursed! Yay!

Congratulations!!! fbbf.gif


post #79 of 92

Hi --

Just wanted to add (in case this wasn't on one of the pages beyond the first one) that it was WAY easier for me to use the opposite boob for my bed-feeding. Let's say you're lying on your right side and your baby is next to you on your right (obviously). Use your left breast to feed him/her. It will be much easier to balance your body, not hurt your back, and get your nipple in the baby's mouth without contorting your neck and arms. When I finally got this advice, I was amazed by how much easier it was to side feed (I was baffled by it before that). I was all propped up with boppies before that, too!


Hope this helps! 


~Deborah winner.jpg

Mama to Alexandra (7) bump.gif

post #80 of 92

I asked the same question at my LLL meeting when dd was 2 weeks. She is now 8 week old and I started nursing laying down when she was about 6 week, I tried before that but she just didn't have the head control to do it well. At 8 weeks she does really well at it and I can nurse her from both breast laying down on the side she is laying on. Give it a few more weeks and you will be in business!!! thumb.gif

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