Breastfeeding in the First Weeks
Latching baby onto breast
The word 'latch' describes the position of your baby's mouth on your breast. This should not cause pain or damage to your nipples.
Proper position and latch helps your baby get enough milk to satisfy his hunger and stimulates your breasts to produce enough milk.
Latching your baby may occur naturally. Sometimes extra attention may be needed to prevent difficulties for you and your baby.
The following images show different breastfeeding positions you may want to try. You can expand each image by rolling your mouse over the image.
Latching your baby:
- Choose a position that is comfortable for you and your baby taking care to support your back and arms with pillows. See the section on breastfeeding positions for possible options.
- Hold your breast like the letter 'C' by placing your thumb on top of your breast and your fingers below it away from the areola.
- Ensure your baby's mouth is wide open so that she will breastfeed well; gently tickling her mouth with your nipple may help her to open wide.
- Point your nipple towards the upper third of her mouth.
- Bring her quickly but firmly to your breast once her mouth is open wide. Try to avoid forcing your nipple and areola into her mouth.
- Check that your baby is latched well as you should see:
her mouth opened wide with her lips curled outwards, her chin pressed firmly against the lower part of your areola and her nose slightly away from your breast.
- Pull your baby’s buttocks towards your body to prevent her nose from being blocked by your breast tissue.
See Breastfeeding Video ‘The Latch’
Keeping your baby awake at the breast:
- Undress your baby leaving only his diaper on.
- Change his diaper.
- Tickle his hands, ears or feet.
- Switch your baby to your other breast.
- Use breast compressions whenever he stops sucking well.
Taking your baby off of the breast:
Put your index or baby finger gently into the corner of your baby’s mouth to break the suction. Then remove her from your breast. This will avoid her from pulling on your nipple during this process.