Breastsleeping isn't a new concept, but more recent research has made it a huge topic of conversation in the breastfeeding community as of late. It sounds pretty simple — you nurse your baby on demand throughout the night as they lay next to you in bed — but the benefits are what make it so great, from more sleep to maintaining your milk supply. But are there any breastsleeping positions that improve your flow, too? If it can help establish a great breastfeeding relationship between you and your baby, can it help with your let-down and milk volume as well?
When it comes to choosing a position, you're kind of stuck with two. Lactation Consultant Tera Kelley Hamann tells Romper that sidelying and biological (also known as laid-back breastfeeding) are really the only positions you can do if you're breastsleeping (including modifications to those two positions). International Board Certified Lactation Consultant Leigh Anne O'Connor agrees and says that while some moms may lie flat on their backs and let their baby sleep on top of them, side-lying is really the most common way to breastsleep. But that doesn't mean these positions can't help improve your flow.
According to Kelly Mom, your slow flow can be related to a slow let-down reflex, which can be incredibly frustrating for both you and your baby. Stressing about it obviously doesn't do you any good, but it can also exacerbate the problem. But one thing that does help? Laying down to nurse, just like you do in breastsleeping.
Dr. Cecilia Tomori, anthropologist with postdoctoral training in public health, Research Associate at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and author of Nighttime Breastfeeding: An American Cultural Dilemma tells Romper that mothers spontaneously adopt the "breastsleeping position" without realizing it. "Breastfeeding moms are attuned to their babies in specific physiological ways and they usually place their babies under their arms (their arms blocking the pillow above), with the baby facing the breast, and their bodies curved around them, creating a safe space for the baby," she says.
And that position might be able to improve your flow. While Hamann notes that laid-back breastfeeding position could also work for breastsleeping, she thinks the traditional side-lying position would be best to help your flow. "The laid-back or biological positions are often recommended for a fast let-down so babe has more control and isn't working against gravity," she says. By adopting the spontaneous position noted by Tomori, one can assume that your baby doesn't have to fight against any other factors and that your milk flow may increase due to the position of your breasts and your little one.
Kelly Mom also noted that if you massage your breast before feeding, you might be able to help your flow as well. While no one expects you to wake up throughout the night to do it, using the side-lying position and massaging when you can might be the best breastsleeping position for your sleep, your flow, and your baby.