4 Positioning Tricks For Breastfeeding With High-Flow Boobs
Once your milk comes in and you start getting the hang of breastfeeding, you may notice your newborn is sputtering or choking a bit. It can help to have a few positioning tricks for high-flow boobs up your sleeves in case you’re one of those mamas who, if you wait too long between feedings, just tends to have a whole lotta milk going on. Knowing what to do while in those positions can be incredibly handy.
Roslyn Morrow, RN, BS, IBCLC, a lactation consultant at Baptist Health in Jacksonville, Florida, told Romper in an interview that some mothers naturally have a heavier flow of breastmilk than others. But many moms will experience a high flow at the beginning of their feedings, even if they don’t the rest of the time.
“Some moms do experience a faster milk flow, but there’s no scientific evidence why some moms might have a faster flow than others. We do find that some moms who have a higher milk supply, or if it has been a longer period between feedings, their milk will flow faster in the beginning of the feeding," Morrow says.
"Even in the morning, generally moms find they have more of a milk supply because hopefully they’re getting some sleep, which may lead to high flow.”
How do you know if you’re someone with a high rate of flow? Many women don’t even realize it, but there are a couple of signs.
“Some moms don’t even realize there is a quicker flow. Some moms will experience a tingly feeling about one to two minutes into the feeding once the milk starts to flow, or the baby will have a quicker suck or sort of a gulping suck,” Morrow explains.
Having high flow can present some challenges when meal times come. It also may not be something you prepare for with your lactation consultant while still in the hospital since milk tends to show up a little late to the birthday party — around three to five days after birth, Morrow says.
“They may notice baby chokes during that milk letdown or they sputter. It can be difficult for a baby, because if you’re guzzling a water bottle you can take it out of your mouth, but baby can’t yet. Initially it can make feedings harder because it can cause they to choke off and create a shallow latch,” she says.
Morrow adds that feedings with a higher flow of breast milk tend to be shorter, since baby is eating more in that time. This can lead moms to believe their little one isn’t eating enough. So, to avoid any mom-and-baby mishaps and feel more confident about how much your baby is eating, there are a few positions you can assume while breastfeeding to help with all that flow.
1. Assume The Football Position
Per the U.S. Department of Agriculture's WIC Breastfeeding Support Page, to get your baby into the football position on the right breast, hold them horizontally, facing up, at your right side. Support the baby’s back and legs with your right arm (using a pillow under the arm can help with the weight). This gets baby sitting up, while mom can lean back, which will reduce her milk’s flow.
“If mom can get more in a laid-back feeding position, that will slow the flow a little bit by letting gravity do that work for you. Also, in the football position, mom is better able to visualize that latch initially,” explains Morrow.
2. Apply Some Pressure
Don’t be afraid to express some milk while your baby is feeding like a little football. Morrow says applying gentle, even pressure to the unoccupied breast can help lessen the flow.
“If mom is feeding on the left side in the football position, she can apply some pressure on the right side to slow the flow on the left side,” says Morrow.
3. Briefly Pump
If you notice your baby is getting a little too much flow while latched to one breast, try bringing down the pressure on the other side and moving them over if need be.
“If mom feels like her supply is large and her letdown is quick, she can hand express or pump for a minute or two to get that initial milk off and then put baby to the breast,” says Morrow.
4. Avoid Leaning Over
Morrow also points out that all positioning tricks should keep you sitting upright to avoid hurting your back. No need to be uncomfortable while trying to hold a growing babe!
“Definitely avoid leaning over — leaning over hurts your back and affects milk letdown," says Morrow. "Get into bed or onto the couch, and you get comfortable first with lots of pillows propping you and baby up, then bring baby to your breast rather than leaning over to them.”
Roslyn Morrow, RN, BS, IBCLC, lactation consultant at Baptist Health in Jacksonville, Florida