Should Babies Eat While Lying Down?

Some babies like to lie on their backs and drink from a bottle, but this is not always the best position for your baby to take her bottle, since it could increase her risk for certain health problems. It's important to feed your baby her bottle or breastfeed her in a safe position.

Breastfeeding Positions

Babies do not always have to eat in a seated or standing position. For example, most breastfeeding positions essentially involve your baby lying down on his side in your arms, but it is best if baby's head is above his feet even while breastfeeding. However, the side-lying position, which involves you and your baby both lying on your sides facing each other in bed, is okay as long as your baby doesn't have a problem with spit up or reflux disease.

Bottle Feeding

Mother holding feeding baby

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When bottle feeding your baby, she should preferably be in an upright position. She doesn't have to be sitting up straight, but don't lay her down. Make sure the nipple of the bottle doesn't have holes that are too large, or the milk may come out more quickly than she can handle.

Potential Problems

When babies drink while lying down on their backs, it increases the risk for spitting up and for ear infections. This position also increases their risk for choking, and if nobody is watching them closely, choking may go unnoticed. This is especially risky for small children that can't roll over or sit up on their own.


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To further limit issues with spit up, Family Doctor recommends you do not lay down your baby right after feeding him, and do not jiggle him after feeding. Stop to burp him every few minutes during feeding, and, if spit up is a major problem, consider feeding him less food more often.