nursing from both sides - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 19 Old 03-03-2009, 03:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My baby is due any day now and I'm trying to imagine side nursing the easiest way. We are using a side-carred crib on my side of the bed and I'm more comfortable with baby just next to me, not me and daddy, since he's a very heavy sleeper.

Since I've been sleeping on my side so much being hugely pregnant, I've been experimenting with positions and how to line up my breasts to baby. It seems like it could be possible to nurse from both breasts facing the same direction-- leaning towards baby a little for the top breast and putting a pillow under my back and leaning away for the bottom breast. My breasts are very big, if that makes a difference. Has this worked for anyone, or is only one side comfortable? We're going to be nursing a lot at night and I need to get both breasts stimulated b/c I will be working full time from a very young age and will need that time to keep up my supply.

Also-- how soon were you able to learn side nursing? In the newborn co-sleeping stage before you had it down did you just prop up a bunch of pillows and sit up? Then thrown all the pillows on the ground so you can co-sleep with just one pillow? Just trying to imagine every detail now b/c I know I'll be so tired to figure it all out then.

When you first learned how to side nurse, did you need to prop anything behind baby to keep him in the right position, or was your arm enough?

Thank you!
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#2 of 19 Old 03-03-2009, 03:59 PM
 
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I can't answer your questions about side nursing in the beginning as we had difficulty with latching and my daughter was such a slow sucker that I would have to nurse for over 2 hours and she would still be hungry. She's two now and stopped having the latching problem after she was 9 months old. I can nurse from both breasts while remaining on the same side. I feel a little pull when it's the top breast, but nothing uncomfortable, otherwise I just switch my side on the bed.
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#3 of 19 Old 03-03-2009, 05:15 PM
 
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I had to side nurse the very first night as I had a c-section, but after that fed sitting up which I found much easier during the difficult first weeks. I got the hang of side-lying nursing at around 8 weeks. Before that I was getting up and sitting in a nursing chair, which I found more comfortable than feeding sitting up in bed with pillows - I did do that occasionally but the chair was better. Also for the first few weeks she poo'd at every feed so I had to get out of bed anyway to change her. Now I nurse sidelying, it's possible for me to feed from both breasts on the same side but really uncomfortable, but my breasts are not very big. I often think if they were a bit bigger I could do it though.
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#4 of 19 Old 03-03-2009, 05:55 PM
 
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I originally tried to side nurse in the hospital when no other positions were working- bad idea! He was too little and I had know idea what I was doing. When we got home I would go out to a comfy chair and nurse with him there, he would always nurse a little and doze off and getting out of the bed would help keep him up eating a little longer. He is now 9 months old and I need my sleep way too much to ever move from the bed at night to nurse, but my breasts could never reach far enough to nurse from top breast, I have to move him to which ever side I am going to nurse him. Just a quick question that popped in my head, I never had a side sleeper, so what do you do when you want to lay on your other side, do you have your back to the baby? I've always just moved my son to the other side with me.

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#5 of 19 Old 03-03-2009, 07:21 PM
 
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Like others mentioned, at first it can be kinda hard. It took us both a few weeks before we both got it down. But, to make it easier, I put a pillow behind me to lean into (still do) and I would put something behind DD to keep her on her side. When she finished, I would remove the rolled up blanket from behind her and let her roll onto her back to sleep. As she's gotten older (7 months now), I no longer need to prop her up and it's generally much easier.
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#6 of 19 Old 03-03-2009, 07:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you!
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#7 of 19 Old 03-03-2009, 07:53 PM
 
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I have baby snuggled right up against me. Baby facing me on their side and me facing baby on my side. Both breasts exposed and laying one one top of the other so baby has access to both. My head is on a pillow with my arm under or over my head.

Difficult in the early days. We were on the sofa for about 4 weeks in the beginning. Effortless after that

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#8 of 19 Old 03-04-2009, 12:38 AM
 
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My second son is five weeks old, and we've been nursing lying down for about a week now, I think. I tried it earlier, but he was just too small and he slipped off (ouch!) too often.

I'm not particularly large-breasted, so it might be different, but I find it easiest to just have the baby nurse on one side for one feeding, and then the next feeding just move him over to the other side. I have nursed from both breasts while lying on the same side, though, especially when I'm very, very exhausted, and that works all right, it's just not what I'd prefer.

I agree with everyone else that it will probably take some time before you're able to do this, especially with the first one. With both babies, I had to nurse sitting up for a while. I just used pillows to prop me up, and then just scooted down - at that age, the baby just slept on my chest. It was not ideal for sleep, though! It is so nice when you can finally start nursing lying down!
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#9 of 19 Old 03-04-2009, 01:00 PM
 
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We sat up to nurse at the beginning. I would just keep a second pillow next to the bed so I could prop myself against the wall. As soon as Ophelia was big enough we started side nursing while laying. She was 3.5 weeks early and I have smallish breasts, so at the beginning she couldn't reach my nipple if we were laying down. But now she can. I have often thought it would have been easier if my boobs were bigger I have been able to nurse from both breast on one side, as you said I just lean over her a bit. But I wouldn't recommend this until your LO really has nursing down because it increases the flow and if you have a heavy let-down to begin with (I do) it can be overwhelming for baby and they'll sputter and choke.

We sleep me in the middle of baby and papa because he's a very heavy sleeper and when it's time to nurse from the other side I usually just climb over her and lay on the other side. When she's done I flip back into the middle. You said you are using a side-car crib, would you be able to flip her to your other side (in between you and papa) just for her feeding and then flip her back into the side-car? I find that I need to switch sides as opposed to leaning over her because I get uncomfortable always laying on the same side.

Good Luck, and don't worry it will come more naturally than you think and you'll quickly find what works for you both!
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#10 of 19 Old 03-04-2009, 06:08 PM
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My daughter and I sleep just like Ivan's mom.

For the first few weeks she always wanted to sleep on her side facing me, and now she sleeps more often on her back, but always turned in my direction. Because of that I switch sides of the bed a few times a week so that she's not always sleeping turned to the same side. That wasn't something I realised I needed to consider at first!
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#11 of 19 Old 03-04-2009, 06:22 PM
 
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I just had the baby on my arm while I slept and whenever I'd wake up, I would turn over so he could nurse from the other side. After awhile, I wasn't even fully waking up. We nursed laying down from the beginning and had no troubles.
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#12 of 19 Old 03-04-2009, 09:54 PM
 
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We have a Tempurpedic, so rolling over in bed is often an adventure in and of itself. Since I have a whole collection of milk-soaking pads/towels/etc. under us, plus spare prefolds, a nightlight, her EC bucket now that we're doing that, etc... it's much easier for me to stay on one side all night!

Thus, yes, I've perfected the art of nursing both sides without rolling over. I generally put my arm under her head and lean into her a little bit if I'm going to have her nurse the "top" boob. If she's nursing the bottom boob, I sometimes leave my arm under her head, sometimes lay her flat, sometimes have my arm cradled around her while I'm flat on my back (boob kinda flops off the side... thank goodness they're big enough for that one ) - whatever works.

But yes, it definitely is possible to nurse both sides, if your boobs are big enough!
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#13 of 19 Old 03-05-2009, 01:48 AM
 
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My son has a terrible latch still at 4 weeks, but side nursing is the first position that worked for us and is still the easiest. I lie down on my side and lie him down on his side facing me and let him find my nipple and latch on. Once he's on I snuggle him in close to me. I've only mastered feeding him from the bottom breast. When it is time for the other side I hold him against my chest and roll over and position my body on the edge of the bed because my husband was initially very reluctant to have our son in the bed with us.
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#14 of 19 Old 03-05-2009, 02:10 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kitty kat View Post
I hold him against my chest and roll over and position my body on the edge of the bed because my husband was initially very reluctant to have our son in the bed with us.
I thought I was the only one who did "the roll"
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#15 of 19 Old 03-05-2009, 12:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laurelg View Post
We have a Tempurpedic, so rolling over in bed is often an adventure in and of itself. Since I have a whole collection of milk-soaking pads/towels/etc. under us, plus spare prefolds, a nightlight, her EC bucket now that we're doing that, etc... it's much easier for me to stay on one side all night!

Thus, yes, I've perfected the art of nursing both sides without rolling over. I generally put my arm under her head and lean into her a little bit if I'm going to have her nurse the "top" boob. If she's nursing the bottom boob, I sometimes leave my arm under her head, sometimes lay her flat, sometimes have my arm cradled around her while I'm flat on my back (boob kinda flops off the side... thank goodness they're big enough for that one ) - whatever works.

But yes, it definitely is possible to nurse both sides, if your boobs are big enough!

that sounds promising! That's how I've been picturing myself doing it. Like I said, I'm not crazy about flipping to the other side too much because I don't know if I want baby in between me and my partner. If I want to lay on my other side, I have the side-carred crib next to me to put him in if he'll let me.
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#16 of 19 Old 03-06-2009, 04:31 PM
 
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We side-lie nurse from top and bottom breast & I hold the tail of his swaddle when I need to keep him from rolling one way or the other! It is cute & works great!

BTW, OP, since you are thinking about all of this ahead of time ---- you might consider experimenting with how close to you your LO sleeps best. We started out snuggling but my babe was squirmy all night, night after night, with non-stop rooting. When I rolled a few feet away from him he slept really well and still woke to nurse just as much. I was sad b/c I love holding him all night but he is very sensitive & I think he does best at close range but not feeling my breathing all night.

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#17 of 19 Old 03-06-2009, 04:40 PM
 
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Oh and I forgot to mention that it did take a month for him to be able to latch side lying.

And...I have SMALL boobs, so you can do top & bottom without big ones! (Although mine are pretty pointy maybe that helps...and they are getting pointier with each nursing session LOL....)

We also have a sidecar crib and love it - we put foam mats under the crib mattress so it is exactly the same height as our mattress & the babe sleeps on a thick folded quilt that I can scoot over for nursing and then scoot back onto his crib. So, no lifting him up, which had REALLY helped his sleep. DP and I can toss and turn without waking him up but I can also sleep inches away from him if I want to be close. On rough nights I can even lean one boob over the crib and nurse him that way if I don't want to risk waking him by scooting him over.

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#18 of 19 Old 03-07-2009, 11:03 PM
 
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i had to get out of bed and sit in the rocking chair with a boppy (football hold for the right boob, cradle for the left) for the first 2 months!

after that, though, we figured out side lying you probably shouldn't get too attached to any specific ideas of how it's going to work for you. from what i've heard you have to figure it out from scratch with every baby.. even if it's your sixth!

i think it's pretty common to have it down by about 8 weeks though.

one thing that really helped me was to have my amazing lactation specialist help me latch on the baby in different positions. that way i knew what it *should* feel/look like-- even if i wasn't able to get it right by myself right then.
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#19 of 19 Old 03-07-2009, 11:23 PM
 
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My first (and only) child nursed while laying down right from the start. The very first way we nursed was with me laying on my back and him laying on top of me, face down. He lifted up his little head to try to find the nipple, but I had to help him find it. He didn't even have his eyes open, but he sure had his mouth open! Then he would tilt his head a little so that it rested on my arm a little. I propped my arm up with a pillow so that it would be at the right position. We nursed like that quite a bit for the first few months. It helped him whenever he had gas or an upset tummy to nurse in that position. I think in some way, that position took more of his concentration and would distract him from other things like if he was upset about something. It also was a great tummy time experience for him, because he soon could lift his head up and find my nipple on his own. He would sleep like that on me a lot.

We also nursed on our sides, as others have described. I prefer to nurse only the breast on the side I am laying on (laying on right side, nurse right breast, then switch sides and breasts). It took me a few weeks to adjust to sleeping while nursing. I learned to sleep nurse much faster than my baby learned to sleep by himself, so we started co-sleeping. Now, I treasure sleeping with my snugly little nursling.
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