How to breastfeed in the early days: baby-led attachment
Baby-led attachment is when you let your baby attach to your breast on their own. Lie baby between your breasts, skin to skin, supported by your arms. Lean back so baby can lie on your chest without support. If baby is upset, let baby suck your finger to calm down.
Let baby move towards your nipple. Help only if baby needs it. Your baby can lie at an angle down your body. If you’ve had a caesarean, encourage baby to move their legs and body to one side of you. Use a pillow to support baby’s legs and feet.
Once breastfeeding is going well: mother-led attachment
Mother-led attachment is when you put your baby onto your breast. Hold your baby behind their back and shoulders (not head), so their chest touches your chest. Your baby’s nose should be in line with your nipple. Brush your nipple from baby’s nose to lips to get baby to open their mouth wide.
Bring baby to your breast. Aim your nipple at the roof of baby’s mouth. Keep your hands across baby’s back and shoulders. When your baby attaches, a large amount of the areola will be in their mouth. You’ll see more areola above baby’s top lip than below their bottom lip.
Breastfeeding problems: what to do
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. Break the suction by inserting your little finger into the corner of your baby’s mouth, between the gums. Gently take baby off the breast.
Your baby might need to burp after feeding from each breast. To do this, sit your baby up or hold them to your shoulder. Gently rub or pat baby’s back.