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Attachment & Positioning

When learning how to breastfeed getting the position and attachment right will help make feeding more comfortable for you, 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.

  • Before you begin, 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. 
    • Always bring your baby to the breast… rather than bending to bring your breast to baby.
  • 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.

    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. There 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.
  • Click the infographic below to see how to correctly position your baby when breastfeeding.

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

    • 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
    • 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 is good but you feel your baby is still struggling to feed, please call Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 and 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 07520631590.

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 look again at our page on Positioning and Attachment or read the Essential Guide to Feeding & Caring for your Baby

If you would like to make connections with other parents please click on the links for our Just One Norfolk Community Forum, the Norfolk Community Directory or Early Childhood & Family Service (ECFS) below.

            

 

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