How to Breastfeed Using the Laid-Back Nursing Position

Try the Biological Nurturing Position

newborn, first breastfeeding, biological nurturing, natural nursing position

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Breastfeeding is a normal reflex of a newborn. Immediately after a natural, unmedicated birth, a healthy newborn can be placed onto their mother's stomach and they will move their body up toward the breast, find the nipple, latch on, and begin to nurse all by themself.

A natural nursing position based on this reflex has been researched and described by Dr. Suzanne Colson (see more of her techniques below). She calls it biological nurturing, or laid-back nursing.

Basic Guidelines

This position is easy to learn, easy to remember, and comfortable. Since the baby latches on by themself, you don't have to try to remember how to hold your baby or your breast to achieve a good latch.

Biological nurturing allows breastfeeding to happen more naturally and easily for both the mom and her child. There is no right or wrong way to do this technique, but here are the basic guidelines.

  • Lie back in a reclined position on your bed, a sofa or a chair and get comfortable. If you would like, you can use pillows to support your back, neck, and arms.
  • Place the baby on your stomach with their belly touching yours and their head up at the level of your breasts.
  • As the baby lies on your chest, gravity will help them keep their position securely on your body.
  • They will then begin to smell and feel their way to your nipple. Once they find it, they will move their head back and forth, open their mouth wide, latch on and begin to nurse.
  • The baby can do this all by themself, but you will most likely want to get involved. You can hold and support their body, lead them to your breast, touch them or just snuggle with them.

Biological nurturing can be started with the first breastfeeding. This easy, natural position may help prevent sore nipples, and it's a good option for nursing preemies, twins and babies that have trouble breastfeeding.

More Tips

Try the following suggestions to help you and your baby get the hang of this nursing technique:

  • Mothers and babies are unique. There is no right or wrong way to breastfeed. The right position is the one that works for you.
  • A baby can latch on and feed even while they are sleeping. And, even though babies self-attach, mothers can assist them in doing this.
  • The breastfeeding position the baby uses often mimics the way the baby was in the womb.
  • Babies don't always feed because they are hungry. Nonnutritive sucking is a comfort to them and helps to increase your milk supply.
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Article Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Colson S. Biological Nurturing: Instinctual Breastfeeding. Praeclarus Press. 2019.

  2. Nursing Key Topics Review: Pediatrics. Elsevier. 2016.

Additional Reading
  • Colson, Suzanne, Ph.d. Biological Nurturing A Non-Prescriptive Recipe For Breastfeeding. October 2007.

  • Lawrence, Ruth A., MD, Lawrence, Robert M., MD. Breastfeeding A Guide For The Medical Profession Sixth Edition.  Mosby. Philadelphia. 2005.
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