By Raising Children Network
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Early days: baby-led attachment

The basic breastfeeding routine is to feed from one breast, pause for an optional burp, then offer baby the other breast.
  • Baby-led attachment is when you let baby latch onto your breast by herself. Lie her between your breasts, skin to skin, supported by your arms. It’s best if she is awake but not crying. If she is crying, letting her suck your finger can calm her down.
  • Support baby behind her shoulders and under her bottom (not her head). Let her move towards your nipple. Help only if she needs it. You can encourage her to move her legs and body to one side of you. A pillow can support her feet.
  • When baby is just below your nipple, she’ll dig her chin into your breast, reach up with an open mouth and attach to your breast. This might happen very quickly. Support baby behind her shoulders and bring her bottom in closer to your body.

 

Once breastfeeding is going well: mother-led attachment

Brush your nipple from his nose to his lips to open his mouth wide; aim the nipple at the roof of his mouth; he'll suck deeply and regularly.
  • Mother-led attachment is when you put your baby onto your breast. Hold baby behind his back and shoulders (not his head), so his chest touches your chest. His nose should be in line with your nipple. Brush your nipple from his nose to lips to get him to open his mouth wide.
  • When baby’s mouth is wide open, bring baby to your breast. Aim the nipple at the roof of his mouth. Keep your hands across his back and shoulders. When he attaches, a large amount of the areola will be in his mouth. His chin will be tucked into the breast.

  • When baby is feeding well, he’ll suck deeply and regularly. You’ll hear him swallowing.

    It’s normal to feel a ‘stretching sensation’ when baby starts sucking. If it hurts, it could mean that baby isn’t correctly attached.

 

Problems

When baby isn’t correctly attached, feeding is painful; break the attachment by inserting your finger into the corner of her mouth; your baby might need to burp after feeding.
  • When your baby isn’t correctly attached and just sucks the nipple, feeding is painful, your nipples can get damaged, and your baby won’t be able to get enough milk.

  • If baby isn’t attached correctly, stop. Avoid pulling her off your breast. Instead, break the attachment by inserting your little finger into the corner of her mouth, between her gums. Gently take her off the breast.
  • Your baby might need to burp after feeding from each breast. To do this, sit her up or hold her to your shoulder, and gently rub or pat her back.
 
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  • Last Updated 31-07-2012
  • Last Reviewed 31-07-2012