Attachment & Positioning

When learning how to breastfeed, getting the position and attachment right will help make feeding more comfortable. It will support you to establish a good milk supply and help your baby to thrive.

For some mums and babies, breastfeeding may appear easier and more natural, but most will find it challenging at some point.

With the right support, you and your baby can figure out how to do it together. Many challenges can often be overcome if you and your baby can achieve good attachment and positioning.

Dive Deeper

Getting Ready

Before you begin feeding, make sure that you and you baby are both comfortable. Here are a few things you can do when you are getting ready to breastfeed your baby; 

  • Try to get everything you need, like a cold drink, food, change of breast pads or muslin, to hand before you start.
  • Sit in a chair with your back well supported. You may want to use a footstool to raise your feet to help support your baby.
  • Let your head and shoulders become as relaxed as possible.
  • Make sure your baby's head and body is in a straight line with baby's tummy facing your tummy. This will mean baby doesn't have to turn their head to feed and make it easier for them to swallow and feed for longer.
  • Breastfeeding skin to skin at first will help to create a stronger bond between you and your baby and encourage the release of oxytocin for you both. 

Remember - Always bring your baby to the breast… rather than bending to bring your breast to baby.

Getting a Good Latch

For your baby to feed well they need to have a good latch onto your nipple. You can do this by;

  • Making sure your baby’s nose in line with your nipple. This will allow them to tip their head to open their mouth widely.
  • Gently touch their lips with your nipple as this can help them to open their mouth wide, ready to feed. Your baby needs to get a big mouthful of breast from underneath the nipple. Placing your baby with their nose level with your nipple will allow them to reach up and attach to the breast well.
  • When they open their mouth wide, bring their whole body closer towards you while supporting their neck. 
  • Your nipple should enter the baby's mouth and touch the back of the roof of their mouth. Their head may tip back slightly to take help them get a better attachment.

If your baby is not attached properly they may not take enough breast into their mouth. This can become painful and they may not take in enough milk.


Knowing When You Have a Good Latch

It can be hard to tell if your baby is feeding properly, but here are a few signs that will indicate they have a good latch.

  • Their chin is pushed against your breast, rather than pointing down. Their head should be slightly tipped back.
  • Their mouth is open wide.
  • Their nose is not pressed into your breast.
  • Deep jaw movements and rounded cheeks while sucking.
  • You can hear the sound of milk being swallowed.
  • It feels like they have a firm grip on your nipple.

C.H.I.N Principles

CHIN principles help you correctly position your baby when breastfeeding

C: Close

Baby needs to be close to his mother so he can scoop enough breast into his mouth.

H: Head Free

When attaching to the breast the baby will tilt his head back to allow his chin to lead as he comes onto the breast. Even a finger on the back of the baby's head will prevent this important movement.

I: In Line

The baby's head and body should be in alignment so that he does not have to twist his neck, which would make feeding and swallowing difficult.

N: Nose to Nipple

With mother's nipple resting below baby's nose he will begin to root. As he tilts his head back the nipple will slip under hi s top lip upwards and backwards to rest between the hard and soft palate.

Unicef Breastfeeding Masterclass Video


You may find that you need to get more support if you see some of these signs;

  • Damaged nipples.
  • Flattened, creased or pinched nipples after a feed.
  • If you are feeling any pain when breastfeeding your baby please ask your midwife, health visitor or call Just One Number for advice. Particularly if the pain lasts through a feed or continues after a feed has finished.

If you feel that something isn't right, ask a midwife or breastfeeding champion for help if you need to. 

If you are confident that your baby’s positioning and attachment is good but you feel your baby is still struggling to feed, please call Just One Number on 0300 300 0123. You can ask for one of our infant feeding champions to contact you.

Who can Help?

If your baby is less than 28 days old you can contact your local midwifery team or you can contact the Healthy Child Programme at any time following your baby's birth by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590.

Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

Norfolk Healthy Child Programme has a team of infant feeding champions who can contact you by video call/telephone initially to discuss your questions and refer you to further help if required. All of our staff are trained to Unicef standards to provide you with the best possible breastfeeding support and advice.

It may help in the first instance to read the Essential Guide to Feeding & Caring for your Baby

Norfolk’s Early Childhood and Family Service (ECFS) offers support for all parents and carers with children aged 0 to 5 years.

To speak to other Norfolk parents and carers, you can join our online community forum below.

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