Breastsleeping has long been popular among mothers for its health benefits and convenience. Yet, not every sleeping position can be beneficial for your body.
Can you sleep on your stomach while breastfeeding? Although you can, you shouldn’t. In fact, lying on your stomach during nursing can clog your milk ducts and cause mastitis.
To learn more about this topic, continue reading the article!
Why Should You Avoid Sleeping On Your Stomach While Breastfeeding?
Although sleeping on your stomach is allowed, you should avoid doing this position while breastfeeding. It will put pressure on your breasts.
They cause blocked milk flow inside the milk ducts that connect to your nipples. Eventually, they cause clogged milk ducts.
Clogged milk ducts restrict the baby’s ability to suckle, preventing the breasts from being empty. Long-term accumulation of milk in the breasts causes breast engorgement. When this happens, the breast will be tight, painful, and often soft to the touch.
Stagnant milk will turn into lumps if you don’t treat it early. Slowly, you will get red and feel very uncomfortable. Worse, engorgement also inflamed breast tissue. It develops into an infection called mastitis.
If you’re lucky, mastitis can be treated at home by pumping more often. Some other serious cases will require the intervention of antibiotics prescribed.
How To Sleep Comfortably When Breastfeeding?
Sleeping on your stomach can cause clogged milk ducts and decrease your milk supply. Instead, it would help if you lay on your back or side. These are the best sleeping positions for breast milk.
You will need to follow the guidelines and tips below to maximize your breast milk supply.
1. Laid-Back Position
One of the reasons milk gets stuck in the breast is the slow let-down reflex. Biological postures or quick relaxation can limit this condition.
That’s because babies don’t need to work against gravity and have more control when they eat. As a result, the baby will drink more milk.
With the supine position, you can keep your back upright or tilt your back at a 45-degree angle. According to a study from Massachusetts General Hospital, lying on your back may be beneficial.
You will use pillows to create support underneath and have your baby lie on their stomach against your belly and chest. You can help your baby latch on to the nipple, or he will find it on his own.
For mothers who have had a cesarean section, this position offers greater comfort. So, you will not experience interrupted sleep during breastfeeding. This position also eases the nursing baby’s pressure on the mother’s arms, shoulders, and back. It keeps the upper part free from pain and fatigue.
Another position is lying on your back with your back straight. Although it can be inconvenient and uncomfortable at times, this position is extremely suitable for those who do not want to adjust their sleeping position.
It is suitable for mothers who have frequent sleep disruptions or are mothers of multiples. To relieve discomfort, use pillows to support certain areas of your body. For example, the neck or the knee.
2. Side-Lying Position
Try the side-lying position for moms with large breasts or an uncomfortable cesarean section. This is also the best sleeping position to avoid clogged milk ducts.
The side-lying position is extremely popular in the breastfeeding moms community. Start by supporting your head with a pillow or two. Clipping a cushion between the knees also increases support.
The key to this pose is comfort. After settling down, lay your baby on his side to level his nose with your nipple. If your breasts are small and the baby can’t reach the nipple, use a firm pillow to support the baby.
Bring the baby close to the nipple with one hand so that the head is tilted slightly back and the chin touches the skin. If the baby doesn’t suckle right away, naturally put the nipple in the baby’s mouth.
You can switch sides if you feel tired. Hold your baby tightly and roll over, then reposition for comfort.
Check out the video below for a visual look at this sleeping position.
3. Make Use Of Nighttime Feeding
Night feedings are an important time for nursing mothers and newborns. When you maintain this action, your body will produce more prolactin to encourage an increase in milk supply. Emptying the breasts also helps prevent the milk from stagnation, causing clogged ducts.
4. Create An Ideal Environment
The nursing environment also plays an important role when breastfeeding at night.
Keep your room as dark and quiet as possible, so it’s easier for your baby to fall back to sleep. To correct your posture, consider using a night light or flashlight on a low brightness setting.
You should also limit checking the time. Sometimes, realizing that you’re sleep-deprived will worsen a mother’s mood.
Another useful tip is to have the necessary tools at hand. Some good examples are wipes, diapers, and water. You don’t want to make the process cumbersome when you have to get up to get your essentials.
5. Stay Close
With new babies, let them sleep in the room with you. It will help reduce your risk of SIDS and save you from going looking for your baby every night.
You can consider bed-sharing with babies older than six months, but with some safety measures. Make sure you don’t smoke and are on a firm mattress.
This action will limit the risks to newborns while they are sleeping. It also saves a lot of energy and time for mothers.
6. Easy-To-Access Clothing
Nightgowns or pajamas that open up the front will be the most convenient clothing option for breastfeeding your baby while lying down. You don’t have to waste time pulling up or down. In addition, it will keep the body warm when the weather is cool.
Some women have a habit of wearing a bra when nursing at night. However, choosing a too-tight bra is also a major cause of clogged ducts.
It is clear that sleeping position affects breast milk supply. Furthermore, sleeping on your stomach puts too much pressure on your breasts. If you let this situation continue for a long time, it will cause milk blockage and even mastitis. No mother should endure such pain.
You can choose more suitable sleeping positions such as a biological back or side-lying. Not only are they comfortable, but they also help your baby eat faster.