Last updated on Jun 21st, 2021 at 11:04 am

Positioning and attaching your baby to the breast in the correct manner is essential in ensuring that the feed is successful and that your baby receives enough milk.

There are three main parts to look at in terms of positioning and how the baby is held for breastfeeding.

The baby’s body position

The baby should be close to the mother with the whole body facing her. Ensure that the face is close to the breast with the tip of the nose opposite the nipple and the chin touching the breast. The baby’s bottom must be supported by the mother and not resting on her lap.

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The baby’s head

The head should be facing the breast and should not be twisting to one side as this is uncomfortable for the baby. It is important to ensure that the neck is also not extended or stretched and that the baby’s head and body are in a straight line.

Mothers position

As it is the baby that determines the length of the feed it is important that every mother is seated somewhere comfortable for a feed and that she remains relaxed. Using pillows to support the back is a good option for comfort.

Attachment is the way the baby takes the breast into his or her mouth. Feeding cannot occur effectively unless the baby is correctly positioned and attached to the breast. Incorrect attachment can lead to nipple tenderness, engorged breasts, apparent poor milk supply and reduced milk production.

Your baby is attached correctly when

  • The mouth is wide open
  • There is more areola visible above the breast rather than below
  • The chin is touching the breast
  • The lower lip is curved outward

Poor attachment can occur if bottle feeding is started before breastfeeding has been established as the difference between the nipple and the teat of the bottle can result in nipple confusion.

Successful breastfeeding can be extremely tough on first time mothers and seeking advice from a lactation consultant can prove to be beneficial in ensuring success and peace of mind for both mother and baby.