Sidelying nursing - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 25 Old 12-03-2008, 11:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How the HECK do you do this?!?!

I've seen pics/read descriptions, had an LC help us do it once, but for the life of me I can't figure this out on my own. We're co-sleeping, but I'm getting none of the nighttime feeding benefits b/c I'm getting up and going into the living room to nurse upright with a light on. It's exhausting!

Which arm do you use to support babe's head? Your boob? Are you both just so coordinated neither is needed?

Also, if I do happen to get her latched on, she squirms like crazy and pops off screaming within a few minutes. Any thoughts there?

I've been trying to practice this during the day, but mostly just getting sore nipples and an angry baby before giving up and sitting up to finish the nursing session.

Mama to my Addie Bug wool.gif (10/2008) and angel1.gif (6/2010); nursing student & childbirth educator
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#2 of 25 Old 12-03-2008, 11:43 PM
 
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Well, I've noticed that I'm personally better at doing it on one side than the other. But, here's how I do it: I turn on my side facing baby and baby turns on her side facing me. She's kinda low -- her head is a bit lower than my boob. She reaches up and latches on. My arm that I'm lying on either goes under my head or under my pillow; I don't have my DD rest on my arm. I put a pillow behind my back so that I can lean against it and be comfortable. It also allows my nipple to go at an angle that is best for baby. When I want her to nurse the other side, I just lean over a bit more or just change sides. Laying on the same side after several hours can get kinda tiring. But, that's how I do it.
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#3 of 25 Old 12-03-2008, 11:56 PM
 
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I don't support the baby or my breast with my arm. I just lay next to my baby and orient my breast toward his mouth. Sometimes I hold my breast temporarily until he latches on. This may not be the "text book" answer, but I BF for 3 years with my first and 10 months (so far) with my second and it seems to work fine for us!

good luck!
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#4 of 25 Old 12-04-2008, 01:41 AM
 
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Ok, lie on your side and position the baby so her mouth would line up with your nip. Usually I grab Nora by the tush and put her in the right position. Snuggle her in close, so you can rest your top hand (the free hand) on her butt. The arm you are laying on should be straight out (your body should kind of look like a capital L). Latch baby on. She should be close enough to you that there is very little effort for her to stay on, and she should be staring straight ahead, not up or down.

IME, I like to have just one pillow under my head and my bottom arm under that pillow, straight out. I also need a pillow behind my back AND between my knees.

This whole process still hurts my back. It works, and it's great once in a while, but if Nora fusses at the boob or pops off too many times, it's not relaxing for me! So while it does work sometimes, it's not foolproof. I think once they get a little older and can latch themselves on and off when they need to it will be much more convenient.

GL!

Carrie SAHM to Nora Caitlyn (5) and Finnley Dax (2) homebirthing, breastfeeding, babywearing, intactivist, doula mama!         
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#5 of 25 Old 12-04-2008, 01:43 AM
 
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I couldnt do it until my dd was a bit bigger.

Me(33), Mama to a crazy DD (6), Wife to a wonderful mountain man(32) BF my babe for 2 years
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#6 of 25 Old 12-04-2008, 02:55 AM
 
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We've just recently started side-lying. I find it easier to do if we lay on the couch. I lean against the back of the couch and the position him so he's pretty much even with my nipple. When we nurse on the other side, I just lay on my back and put him on my chest. We'll both sleep most of the night that way. I wake up briefly to re-attach him at some point in the night, then it's back to sleepy land.

Elizabeth wife to Matt , mom to Logan (2/21/01) , and little man Desmond (9/23/08)

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#7 of 25 Old 12-04-2008, 02:58 AM
 
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I agree with Lydiah; my dd was just too small to do this until she could latch on well with minimal help from me. With such a new baby, they just need too much positioning help for it to be worth it. JMHO.

Wife to dh and mommy to dd1 (3/07), ds (1/10), and dd2 (any day now)!

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#8 of 25 Old 12-04-2008, 11:37 AM
 
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This is our favorite position to nurse. We do everything the pp's have said, except I never use pillows to support my back or legs and have never had pain there (go figure). DD did need more help guiding the nipple to her mouth in the early days, but that eased off pretty quick. It took about a week for me to work into the position that worked best for us, but it has been very worth it.

Lucky wife to DH and mom to DS (10/02) and sweet DD (7/08) and DSD (3/93) and assorted animalia
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#9 of 25 Old 12-04-2008, 11:56 AM
 
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like PP said, we couldn't do this until Mr. Pants was quite a bit older than your LO (and the Panster was a big baby 9lbs 4oz at birth--so for us it wasn't a size thing as much as an ease of latch thing). i sat up in bed to nurse him. it was quite a breakthrough for us, but it didn't happen until he was almost 3 months. sidelying is a great thing but it took us quite a while to get the hang of it. good luck! it will happen!
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#10 of 25 Old 12-04-2008, 12:09 PM
 
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How big-breasted are you? I think your size/body type makes a difference to the technique. I am pretty small, so I was able to side-lie nurse from both boobs without turning over. I actually found the "top" breast to be easier as I could sort of angle myself down and "drop" (hardly dropping at my size!) my nipple into baby's mouth.

Keep trying different ways...it will get easier when baby is older and more able to sort out the latch herself. It's trickier when yu have to help them latch on. Believe me, by the time you've got a nursing toddler, you'll be nursing in all kinds of crazy positions you once thought impossible, as you child latches on whereever you happen to be!

eta: Is your partner in the bed with you too? When DS was that young (actually, I don't think I'd mastered sidelying at all that young, so maybe a bit older), I would nudge DH and ask him to help line us up/ latch on.

DS 12/22/05 and DD 5/24/09
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#11 of 25 Old 12-04-2008, 03:12 PM
 
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Just thought I'd chime in with some commiseration. It took me a long time to figure out side-lying, and my DD and I weren't able to do it until about 6 weeks old. It gets a lot easier when they get bigger and better at latching.

What turned the corner for me was placing her head in the crook of my elbow on the bottom arm. That raised her up to the right height to do it. Now, she doesn't need that anymore so I'm placing the bottom arm under my pillow.

Another thing that has really helped me is an LED colored (I like green) night-lite. This way I have some soft light so I can see what I'm doing but it's not so bright that my DH and I can't sleep. (We also co-sleep with DD.) When side-lying wasn't working, the night-lite enabled me to at least stay in bed even though I was still having to sit up to nurse.

Wife 6/2005, Mommy 9/2008 to DD and 1/2011 to DS:
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#12 of 25 Old 12-04-2008, 03:21 PM
 
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When my now 15 year old was a baby I would nurse him this way during the night and early morning. At times he would sound very congested but was fine when sitting up. One morning I realized he had milk dripping from his nose. I didn't really use that position after that - I was too afraid something would happen to him. But it was so convenient.... especially when you are exhausted from being up with baby all night.
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#13 of 25 Old 12-04-2008, 03:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks gals! I do think maybe Addie just isn't big enough or coordinated enough yet. I have to hold her head and my boob through every nursing. Guess we'll keep trying.

Any thoughts on why she'd squirm so much more and pop off angry in this position though?

Mama to my Addie Bug wool.gif (10/2008) and angel1.gif (6/2010); nursing student & childbirth educator
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#14 of 25 Old 12-04-2008, 04:01 PM
 
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My DD likes to lie on my arm, whether she is nursing or not. I found using DH as a back support helps a lot, and it's an excuse for extra cuddles.

Mama to expecting Babe 2
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#15 of 25 Old 12-04-2008, 04:21 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amber Lion View Post
Any thoughts on why she'd squirm so much more and pop off angry in this position though?
Maybe she's uncomfortable, or maybe because the latch is different, the milk isn't coming as fast and she's getting impatient?

Sidelying didn't work for us until about 3 months, when I didn't have to hold everything in place anymore

Amy, mom to E superhero.gifsince April 2008 and C babyboy.gif since October 2011, wife to P since September 2006.

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#16 of 25 Old 12-04-2008, 09:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kbond View Post

Another thing that has really helped me is an LED colored (I like green) night-lite. This way I have some soft light so I can see what I'm doing but it's not so bright that my DH and I can't sleep. (We also co-sleep with DD.) When side-lying wasn't working, the night-lite enabled me to at least stay in bed even though I was still having to sit up to nurse.
Oh, that's brilliant! I'm going to try to remember that for my next baby!

DS 12/22/05 and DD 5/24/09
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#17 of 25 Old 12-04-2008, 09:36 PM
 
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My baby is younger than yours (11/12) and we've almost got this, for the bottom boob anyway. It took some practice (and thinking bad thoughts at dh and his comment of "why don't you just sit up" but I think the main thing that helped me was ignoring the normal advice of apply baby to boob, because there are too many moving parts while side lying, and just getting him generally positioned and then guiding the nipple to him. Still takes a couple tries, but I find it much easier than spending 20 minutes in the middle of the night with nothing to do but make sure I stay sitting up. Practicing during the day helped I think, but it's different at night anyway.
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#18 of 25 Old 12-04-2008, 10:05 PM
 
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I love love love side-lying nursing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by michelle97006 View Post
I don't support the baby or my breast with my arm. I just lay next to my baby and orient my breast toward his mouth. Sometimes I hold my breast temporarily until he latches on. This may not be the "text book" answer, but I BF for 3 years with my first and 10 months (so far) with my second and it seems to work fine for us!

good luck!
This is how we do it, too. Never could get it to work until we tried it this way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by claddaghmom View Post
I found using DH as a back support helps a lot, and it's an excuse for extra cuddles.
Yeah that!

A pp mentioned nightlights; we do this too. I keep a dim light on all night (dh wears a sleepmask) so I can see for helping calla latch as well as diaper changes and just checking on her.

I hope you get the hang of it soon. It's so much more restful! I've woke a few times to find dd has latched on by herself while I was sleeping. It doesn't get any easier than that!
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#19 of 25 Old 12-04-2008, 10:07 PM
 
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Oh yeah I don't nurse from the top boob b/c I'm afraid I'll fall asleep and squish the baby. I just turn over and move her to the other side.
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#20 of 25 Old 12-04-2008, 11:06 PM
 
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We mastered this out of desperation when I was just so tired of sitting up to nurse all night long one night. I still swaddle her at night since she sleeps better that way and it also seems to help the squirmy baby thing. I just make sure her mouth is laying right in front of my nipple and pull her to me. She latches herself pretty easily. I think this is just one of those things that you have to play with a bit and find a way that works best for you. I think it's a lot of trial and error. I hope you get it soon mama! It's amazing how much better I sleep now. I don't have any idea how many times Ally Rae is up to nurse at night because I just feel her searching for my breast and wake up enough to make sure she gets it. GL Em!
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#21 of 25 Old 12-04-2008, 11:14 PM
 
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I just thought of one other thing you can try - perhaps with assistance. Sit up in bed with you bum about where you'd have it while lying down. Get her latched on nicely and snugly held with your arm(s). Then slowly ease yourself down to lying down while maintaining the latch. Tricky business, but I promise it will get easier in a few months!

DS 12/22/05 and DD 5/24/09
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#22 of 25 Old 12-04-2008, 11:22 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lydiah View Post
I couldnt do it until my dd was a bit bigger.
:

We couldn't manage it until she was 3 months old. And it totally hurts my back!

Used to be stay at home parent to our two lovely girls, survived nursing school with family intact, about to graduate and looking for a job! I low-supply nursed my bio daughter for 3 years. 

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#23 of 25 Old 12-04-2008, 11:31 PM
 
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this is almost how I always nurse. (I have overactive letdown so this latch helps) my number one tip is to become aware of your own body after the latch happens and relax areas that you may be holding tension. Sometimes, I find that I am contorting myself and holding it as I try to latch my dc. Letting go and relaxing makes this a great way to nurse and sleep.
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#24 of 25 Old 12-04-2008, 11:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hmm, ok. I think my main problem has been trying to hold her head and my boob and control everything too much, since I need to do that when sitting upright. That means I'm totally trying to contort myself and then I get her on... but I'm in a crazy position and it hurts once I relax. I just realized that I let her latch herself today when we nursed in the wrap... so I need to let her latch herself here too!

Thanks for all the replies, I think I'm getting a better mental picture of how this can work! I'll just keep trying till we get it; I'm so tired of the whole shebang of getting out of bed every time!

Mama to my Addie Bug wool.gif (10/2008) and angel1.gif (6/2010); nursing student & childbirth educator
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#25 of 25 Old 12-05-2008, 12:41 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Amber Lion View Post
Hmm, ok. I think my main problem has been trying to hold her head and my boob and control everything too much, since I need to do that when sitting upright. That means I'm totally trying to contort myself and then I get her on... but I'm in a crazy position and it hurts once I relax. I just realized that I let her latch herself today when we nursed in the wrap... so I need to let her latch herself here too!

Thanks for all the replies, I think I'm getting a better mental picture of how this can work! I'll just keep trying till we get it; I'm so tired of the whole shebang of getting out of bed every time!
I was like this for my first babe. Now after lots of experience, it's a lot easier with the second one. Ive been sidelying nursing since she was three days old. I do what many of the pps said: have her face me, lean back just a bit and support my back on a pillow.

Regarding the angry squirming, my midwife just told me that the angry squirming is an animal instinct that most newborns do. Maybe she's doing it more at night because she's not being held (?)

good luck--you will master this before you know it! (and you'll get so much more sleep!)
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