Improving Latch By Improving Positioning: Side-Lying Position (Part 6 of 7)

This is the sixth in a series of posts and videos describing how effective positioning promotes effective latching. In this video I describe the side-lying position. This position can be helpful for nighttime feedings because often the mother can doze or even sleep while her baby breastfeeds. This position can be helpful for mothers with a fast flow or heavy milk ejection reflex. It can work for very young and older babies, although many first time mothers need a few weeks to a few months before they feel confident with this position.

In the side-lying position, all of the aspects of an effective latch should be in place:

  1. The baby has full tummy contact with the mother's body.
  2. The baby feels stable.
  3. The baby's head is aligned with his spine, not turned or tilted to the right or left.
  4. The baby reaches up to take the breast.
  5. The baby is in a good drinking position with 2 finger-widths between the chin and chest.
  6. This (and any) position can be enhanced by trying it skin-to-skin, with baby wearing nothing but a diaper and mother with no shirt or bra. If the room is cool, both mother and baby can be covered by a light blanket and this will keep the baby warm.

With all unfamiliar positions, I suggest trying the position several times, and trying it when the baby is in a good mood and showing early hunger cues. If the baby doesn't seem to like a position the first time, continue to offer it once or twice a day as an option. However, it is not necessary to be able to do all breastfeeding positions. If one position is working well and you prefer to just use that position, that is fine too.

Stay tuned for the next video in the series: Troubleshooting.