Proudly Australian Owned & Operated
Proudly Australian Owned & Operated

Everyone talks about correct positioning and attachment but I’m not sure what they mean.

Positioning and correct attachment means everything in breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is a natural function and most babies know what to do intuitively. Chances are, your child will be eager to begin suckling soon after birth. But don't be surprised if you both need a little help getting started, especially if you've had a long and difficult delivery or baby is not hungry right after being born. Learning to latch on may take a bit of time and patience, but you'll both soon get the hang of it. There are a number of positions you can use to feed your baby; the favourite three are cradle hold, football hold, and lying down (described in detail in the next section).

Let's talk about how to latch on properly (using the cradle hold). Get comfortable in bed with pillows to support your back, or in a chair. Place baby in the crook of your arm, rotating his entire body toward you. Bring baby's head up to your breast. Check to see that he is facing straight toward you and that his head, chest, and abdomen are all aligned. Using the opposite hand, take one of your breasts and tickle baby's lips lightly with your nipple. Stroking his lips with the nipple stimulates the rooting reflex, and he is inclined to open wide to get the breast in his mouth. Use your other arm to cradle baby and support his head.

Now comes the tricky part! Once baby's mouth is fully open (should look like he is yawning), swiftly bring him to the breast. Your baby's instinct will tell him to latch on and begin nursing. Avoid the urge to lean closer to baby to get the breast in his mouth. It's tempting to go to baby, rather than bring baby to you, but it causes you to hunch over, which could lead to back strain.

How do you know baby's on the breast the right way? Pain can be your guide. It shouldn’t hurt! The goal is getting baby to compress the areola (the dark area around the nipple) to get milk, not to nurse from your nipple. In fact, your nipple needs to be in the back of baby's mouth during nursing in order for him to correctly compress the areola and activate milk flow. The correct latch will be fairly tight, and you can check correct positioning by looking to see whether most of the areola is in baby's mouth. If nursing hurts, chances are your baby is latching on to the nipple. This is a sign to remove the baby and reposition. Gently insert your pinkie finger into the corner of your baby's mouth to break his grip on the breast and begin again.