Breastfeeding: getting started

Breastfeeding is a skill that most mothers can master easily, but sometimes it can take a while to establish the best position for your baby on your breast. Our step-by-step guide will help.

Step-by-step guide to attachment and suckling

Position your baby’s head and body in a straight line.

Hold your baby’s body close to yours at right angles to your body, chest to chest.

Your baby should face your breast, with their nose to your nipple.

Make sure you’re in a comfortable position.

Your baby’s head should tilt back and their mouth open wide.

Bring your baby to the breast, not the breast to the baby.

Your baby will take your nipple, areola (the areola is the darker skin around the nipple) and some of the surrounding tissue into its mouth, depending on the size of the areola. You’ll know your baby has successfully attached to your nipple if more of the areola is visible by their nose than by their chin.

Once properly attached, your baby will suckle quickly to stimulate the let-down reflex and then slow down as milk begins to flow.

If your baby isn’t correctly attached to the breast the milk won’t be effectively removed and you could get sore nipples. Nipple soreness can be caused if your nipple is too close to the front of your baby’s mouth, and not well back near their soft palate. If you continue to find it difficult to attach your baby you may suffer from sore nipples and swollen breasts if they’re too full of milk. Also, your baby may not get enough milk.

Quick video answers

Please be aware that the information given in these articles is only intended as general advice and should in no way be taken as a substitute for professional medical advice. If you or your family or your child is suffering from symptoms or conditions which are severe or persistent or you need specific medical advice, please seek professional medical assistance. Philips AVENT cannot be held responsible for any damages that result from the use of the information provided on this website.

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