Breastfeeding while lying on your back

This was a search term someone used to find my website, so I decided to write about it, because, yes, I’ve done it.

While many women worry about not having a sufficient milk supply, many women have too much milk, or it lets down too fast. Both of my children were affected by this — they would choke or gag when starting nursing. By that I mean, when they would latch on and my milk would let down, they would choke or gag. This happened most feedings (especially in the morning) sometimes lasting even a couple of months.

Although if you do have an over-active supply, you may prefer to donate your milk to a milk bank. You will have to be tested to make sure you don’t have any diseases, so if you’re at all curious about this, it’s best to start the process as soon as possible. Since the amount of breastmilk you produce is based primarily on supply and demand, even if you currently just have an “adequate” supply, you can build up your supply by pumping extra and donating it. When my second son was a few weeks old, one of my friends adopted a newborn baby, and I pumped for several weeks for her.

There are some things you can do to reduce your milk supply, and La Leche League has numerous breastfeeding resources on this and other questions. For instance, some herbs can build up your supply while others can diminish it. While there are several things you can try for the long term, here are a couple of things that may offer immediate help.

One thing you can do if your baby is gagging because of milk letting down too fast, is to breastfeed while lying on your back — this way, the flow of milk has to fight against gravity, and won’t be able to flow so fast and set off your baby’s gag reflex. You can typically assume this position at the start of a feeding, and then as the flow diminishes, you can get into a more “normal” breastfeeding position.

Another thing to do is to pump or hand-express your milk at the beginning of each feeding. What is easiest and neatest (if you don’t have a breast-pump) is just to stand in the shower and express it by applying pressure on either or both breasts, letting the milk just leak down into the tub. You don’t want to express so much milk that you keep increasing your supply — just enough to get rid of that initial spurt of milk that makes your baby gag.

These are just very elementary things you can do, and I am certainly not an expert. If you have breastfeeding questions, contact your local La Leche League leader, or a certified lactation consultant for the best and most accurate information.

One Response

  1. How lovely that you expressed for your friend’s baby!

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