Attachment & Positioning
Before you begin, make sure that you and you baby are both comfortable.
Here are a few things you can do before you start to breastfeed to make it as easy as possible for you and your baby;
- Try to get everything you need, like a drink, food, change of breast pads or muslin, to hand before you start.
- Let your head and shoulders become as relaxed as possible.
- Make sure your babies head and body is in a straight line. Check your baby doesn’t have to turn their head to feed. This will make it difficult for them to swallow.
- Breastfeeding skin to skin at first will help to create a stronger bond between you and your baby
- Always bring your baby to the breast… rather than breast to baby.
For your baby to feed properly, they need to have a good latch onto your nipple. You can do this by;
- Lining your baby’s nose in line with your nipple. This will allow them to tip their head back to get a good attachment to the breast.
- 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 top of your baby’s 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.
It can be hard to tell if your baby is feeding properly, but there a few signs that will indicate they have a good latch;
- Their chin is pushed against your breast, rather than pointing down. There head should be slightly tipped back.
- There 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.
You may find that you need to get more support if you see some of these signs;
- A lot of pain when baby feeds.
- Pain that lasts through a feed or continues after the feed.
- Damaged nipples
- Flattened, creased or pinched nipples after a feed.
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 are good and your baby is still struggling to feed, it would be good to have a full feeding assessment at one of our infant feeding clinics as there may be a restriction due to a tongue tie.
Who Can Help?
Your Midwife or Health Visitor may have given you details of local support available already. If you have any other questions or concerns, you can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.
We have weekly infant feeding assessment clinics across the county and trained staff who are available to help at home when needed.
If your baby is less than 28 days old you can also contact your local Midwifery team.