Laid-Back Breastfeeding: The Magic of Biological Nurturing

Laid back breastfeeding or biological nurturing is one of the best positions for breastfeeding. This post shares some helpful information. Via Insider Mom

Overcoming Breastfeeding and Chestfeeding Struggles

Many people are taught to nurse in an upright position, in a chair with a pillow under their baby and a stool under their feet.
There is nothing wrong with this position if it works and feels comfortable, but often I find people struggle to latch their babies in this position, leading to tension in both the nursing parent and baby.
As a lactation consultant, I find nursing works best when it comes from the heart, rather than the head. I encourage parents not to look at the latch to determine if it is deep enough, but rather, to feel it. I encourage them to feel if their baby is swallowing rather than trying to see every jaw drop. When I meet a parent that is struggling with pain, difficulty latching, or trying to remember the instructions they were given on how to nurse “properly,” the first thing I ask them to do is recline and try laid-back breastfeeding or chestfeeding.

Discover the Magic of Laid-back Breastfeeding (a.k.a Biological Nurturing)

Laid-back breastfeeding (a.k.a. Biological Nurturing) is a term coined by Suzanne Colson (2008). This position
encourages nursing parents to lean back with their baby on top of them, tummy-to-tummy, so that the baby’s whole body is in contact with theirs.
Laid-back breastfeeding is one of the best positions to breastfeed in. Here is a graphic that demonstrates how. For more information on the benefits, check out this post. Via Insider Mom

The simple act of leaning back offers the following benefits:


1. Your baby’s feeding reflexes become more pronounced (ex. crawling, rooting, grasping, mouth opening) and help them crawl to the breast and latch much more deeply.


2. It takes the pressure off of the nursing parent – you are creating a responsive and supportive feeding environment, but your baby is doing to work of latching and nursing.


3. Gravity supports your baby, so your wrists don’t ache.


4. It promotes relaxation, which aids in oxytocin release and helps more milk flow to the baby.


5. It makes breastfeeding more intuitive and responsive.

A recipe for a much more enjoyable experience!

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There are quite a few breastfeeding positions, but one that's super helpful for both mom and baby is the laid-back breastfeeding position. Check out this post for more information about it and how you can make it work for you. Via Insider Mom

Laid-back breastfeeding or chestfeeding activates essential feeding reflexes in your baby

What do I mean by feeding reflexes?
Your baby is not helpless! She has reflexes that help her make her way to the breast or chest, latch-on and drink.
Colson’s research found that the act of reclining actually releases 20 primitive neonatal reflexes that help
stimulate the baby to nurse.
When we sit upright, these reflexes not only become unhelpful, but they may even be combative. Have you ever tried to nurse your baby in an upright position and find his hands are always in the way? Is he thrashing, scratching, kicking and pulling away from you? These counterproductive movements switch to helpful feeding reflexes when we recline in the laid-back breastfeeding or chestfeeding position.
Suddenly your baby who was once fighting against nursing is now crawling his way towards the breast or chest.
Breastfeeding or chestfeeding is no longer something that you do for your baby, it is something your baby is doing for himself – you are just providing support and guidance.

Laid-back nursing helps with latch

Not only does reclining help with the approach to the breast or chest, but it can help with the latch as well. When your baby is making her way to the breast on her own, she intends to feed, and thus will tend to open her mouth much wider. Additionally, gravity is pushing her deeper onto the breast, so she gets more stability and the nipple is likely to reach farther back in her mouth. Think about how sometimes through the course of a feed (especially as your little one grows and gets heavier) your baby starts to fall away from you a little bit. That distance causes a shallow latch and can cause more pain. If you recline, you can prevent this, plus you take the pressure off your wrists, neck and shoulders. It’s a win-win
The most amazing thing about laid-back nursing is that there is no series of steps and instructions for you to memorize and execute. This means you can nurse intuitively, from the heart, which helps build your confidence and helps you along your nursing journey.

Laid-Back Breastfeeding Video Demonstration

If you’d like to see how to position yourself for laid-back breastfeeding, check out the following video:

Colson, S.D. (2012). Biological Nurturing: the laid-back breastfeeding revolution. Midwifery Today, 101, 9-66.
Colson, S.D., Meek, J.H. and Hawdon, J.M. (2008). Optimal positions for the release of primitive neonatal
reflexes stimulating breastfeeding. Early Human Development, 84(7): 441-9. doi:
Colson, S.D. (2008).
Image: Wiessinger, D., West, D. and Pitman, T. (2010). The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. New York: Ballantine Books.
Liana Salvador-Watts RN, IBCLC

Liana Salvador-Watts RN, IBCLC

Liana Salvador-Watts is a Registered Nurse, prenatal educator and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant working in Toronto's West End. Liana believes in reproductive justice, a part of which is the right to chest/breastfeed. Her dream is for all parents to achieve their own lactation goals, whatever they may be. Liana became a lactation consultant so she could contribute towards making that dream a reality. She became certified as an IBCLC in 2014, and launched Rumina Lactation in 2016. Liana is also a former labour and delivery nurse and currently works as a prenatal educator in a downtown Toronto hospital.

For more information about her work you can go to: or check out her Facebook page at:

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