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North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS

Home > Patients and visitors > Your health > Breastfeeding > Positioning and attachment

Positioning and attachment

Breastfeeding is a skill that needs to be learnt and it can take time and practice to get the hang of it. If it feels a bit awkward at first, don’t worry and remember you can always speak to your midwife or health visitor.

How to breastfeed

There are lots of different positions for breastfeeding. You just need to check the following points:

  • Are you comfortable? It’s worth getting comfortable before a feed. Remember when you feed to relax your shoulders and arms
  • Are your baby’s head and body in a straight line? If not, your baby might not be able to swallow easily
  • Are you holding your baby close to you, facing your breast? Support their neck, shoulders and back. They should be able to tilt their head back and swallow easily, and shouldn’t have to reach out to feed
  • Is your baby’s nose opposite your nipple? Your baby needs to get a big mouthful of breast from beneath the nipple. Placing your baby with their nose level with your nipple will allow them to reach up and attach to the breast

How to attach your baby to the breast

  • Hold your baby close to you with their nose level to the nipple
  • Wait until your baby opens their mouth really wide with the tongue down. You can encourage them to do this by gently stroking their top lip
  • Bring your baby on to your breast
  • Your baby will tilt their head back and come to your breast chin first. They should take a large mouthful of breast. Your nipple should go towards the roof of their mouth.

How to tell if your baby is getting enough milk

  • Your baby will appear content and satisfied after most feeds
  • They should be healthy and gaining weight after the first two weeks
  • Your breasts and nipples should not be sore
  • After the first five days, your baby should have at least six wet nappies a day
  • After the first five days they should also pass at least two yellow stools every day