Baby breast feeding techniques

Breastfeeding: positioning and attachment - NHS

How to breastfeed

Breastfeeding is a skill that you and your baby learn together, and it can take time to get used to.

There are lots of different positions you can use to breastfeed. You can try different ones to find out what works best for you. You just need to check the following points:

  • Are you comfortable? It's worth getting comfortable before a feed. Use pillows or cushions if necessary. Your shoulders and arms should be relaxed.
  • Are your baby's head and body in a straight line? It's hard for your baby to swallow if their head and neck are twisted.
  • Are you holding your baby close to you, facing your breast? Supporting their neck, shoulders and back should allow them to tilt their head back and swallow easily.
  • Always bring your baby to the breast and let them latch themselves. Avoid leaning your breast forward into your baby's mouth, as this can lead to poor attachment.
  • Your baby needs to get a big mouthful of breast. Placing your baby with their nose level with your nipple will encourage them to open their mouth wide and attach to the breast well.
  • Try not to hold the back of your baby's head, so that they can tip their head back. This way your nipple goes past the hard roof of their mouth and ends up at the back of their mouth against the soft palate.

Read Start4Life's 3 common breastfeeding positions

How to latch your baby on to your breast

Follow these steps to help your baby latch:

  1. Hold your baby close to you with their nose level with the nipple.
  2. Let your baby's head tip back a little so that their top lip can brush against your nipple. This should help your baby to make a wide, open mouth.
  3. When your baby's mouth is open wide enough their chin should be able to touch your breast first, with their head tipped back so that their tongue can reach as much of your breast as possible.
  4. With your baby's chin firmly touching your breast and their nose clear, their mouth should be wide open. When they attach you should see much more of the darker nipple skin above your baby's top lip than below their bottom lip. Your baby's cheeks will look full and rounded as they feed.

See Start4Life's visual guide to latching your baby on

Video: how do I know if my baby is properly latched?

In this video, a midwife talks about how to check if your baby is latched on properly when breast feeding.

Media last reviewed: 4 October 2022
Media review due: 4 October 2025

Help and support with breastfeeding

If you have any questions or concerns about breastfeeding, you can:

  • speak to your midwife, health visitor or breastfeeding supporter
  • call the National Breastfeeding Helpline on 0300 100 0212 (9.30am to 9.30pm, daily)
  • get online NHS advice about sore nipples and other common breastfeeding problems

Visit healthtalk. org for parents' personal experience about positioning and attaching their babies at the breast

How to tell if your baby is getting enough milk

There are a number of ways you can tell if your baby is getting enough milk.

  • Your baby starts feeding with a few rapid sucks followed by longer sucks.
  • Their cheeks stay rounded out, not sucked in, and you can hear them swallowing.
  • Your baby seems calm during feeding and comes off your breast themselves when they've had enough.
  • They appear content and satisfied after most feeds.
  • They should be healthy and gaining weight (although it's normal for babies to lose a little weight in the first week after birth). Talk to your midwife or health visitor if you're concerned your baby is not gaining weight and is unsettled during or after breast feeds.
  • After the first few days, your baby should have at least 6 wet nappies a day.
  • After about 5 to 6 days, your baby's poo should stop looking black and thick and they should also have at least 2 soft or runny yellow poos.

Read tips on building up your milk supply

Breastfeeding premature and ill babies

If your baby is in a neonatal or special care unit after the birth, you'll probably be encouraged to try something called kangaroo care once your baby is well enough.

Kangaroo care means holding your baby close to you, usually under your clothes with your baby dressed only in a nappy.

This skin-to-skin contact helps you bond with your premature baby and increase your milk supply.

Find out more about breastfeeding a premature baby


Got a breastfeeding question?

Use the Start4Life Breastfeeding Friend chatbot for fast, friendly, trusted NHS advice anytime, day or night.

Page last reviewed: 10 October 2019
Next review due: 10 October 2022

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Nature provides a wonderful system for feeding babies, but there is a bit of a learning curve involved. Here are four different positions you can try when breastfeeding, plus other tips to keep in mind.

The Cradle Hold

This is the classic position where the baby lies on her side with her belly against yours and her head resting in the crook of your arm. If you’re nursing on your right breast, your right arm is doing the cradling, while your left hand supports your breast.

The Crossover Hold

Similar to the cradle hold, the crossover hold switches the roles of your arms. If you’re nursing on your right breast, your left arm holds the baby. This position might be good for small babies or those who have trouble latching on.

The Football Hold

In this position, you hold the baby tucked under your arm like a football, on the same side you’re nursing from. Support her back with your forearm and hold her to your breast face-up, with her nose level with your nipple. Gently cup your breast and guide her to it, chin first. Moms who’ve had C-sections or twins, or have large breasts or flat nipples often find this position helpful.

The Reclining Position

If you want to nurse while lying on your side in bed, this is the position for you. Support yourself well with pillows, and keep your back and hips in a straight line. Hold the baby close to you on her side, her head even with your breast. Use either your top or bottom arm to cradle her — whatever’s more comfortable. You may need to put a folded blanket under her head to position her higher and closer.

Getting a Good Latch

You’ll want to gently grasp your breast with your thumb above the areola and fingers below, and tickle baby’s mouth with your nipple until she opens her mouth wide. Then, quickly hug her to your breast. She should have areola in her mouth as well, not just your nipple itself. If she’s latched on properly, she’ll have long, slow jaw movements as she sucks, full-looking cheeks (as opposed to hollowed-out), and you’ll see small movements in her temple, lower jaw, or ear. You’ll probably hear her swallowing, too. If it’s not a good latch, ease your finger into her mouth to break the seal she has on your nipple, and start over again.

Tips for any Position

You’ll be nursing for hours each day, which is why it’s so important to find a way to make it comfortable. Here are a few tips to help make this time relaxing and enjoyable for both you and your baby.

  • Sit in a supportive chair and keep lots of pillows and folded blankets nearby to support yourself and the baby. Some moms like having a footstool, too.
  • Be conscious of how you’re holding yourself. Hunching forward toward your baby or holding our shoulders too high will quickly get painful.
  • Try to use both breasts during a feeding. If baby empties one but not the other, start with the fuller breast at the next feeding. You’ll be able to tell either by the way it looks or feels, or you can wear a reminder, such as a loose rubber band around your wrist on the side last nursed.
  • Take good care of your nipples to avoid painfully chapped or cracked skin. Use lanolin cream designed for nursing mothers, or even vegetable shortening; you needn’t wipe them off before nursing. Let your nipples air dry after nursing, and avoid getting soap, lotion or rubbing alcohol on them.

Remember to drink plenty of fluids to keep up your milk supply.

Rules for breastfeeding - Budgetary institution of the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug - Yugra

Breastfeeding Rules

The correct positioning of the baby to the breast greatly facilitates feeding, ensures the flow of milk, helps prevent inflammation, cracked nipples, and engorgement of the mammary glands.

  • - The whole body is turned towards the mother. The head and body of the child should be in a straight line, the mother should press the body of the child close to her.
  • - His face should be turned to the mother's breast, nose opposite the nipple.
  • - The baby's mouth is wide open and most of it is near the nipple in the mouth, a larger area of ​​areola is visible above the upper lip than under the lower lip. Milk for feeding each time accumulates in the area of ​​​​the dilated ducts (milky sinuses) located inside near the nipple circle, and not in the nipples.
  • - Baby's lower lip turned down.
  • - The child's chin touches the breast, and then conditions are created to capture the child not only the nipple, but also part of the breast (areola).
  • - During feeding, the mother supports a small child not only by the head, but also from the bottom of the buttocks.
  • - The baby, correctly attached to the breast, suckles effectively, as indicated by slow, deep sucking movements; you can hear the baby swallowing.
  • - The child is relaxed and satisfied, at the end of feeding a state of satisfaction sets in.
  • - The mother experiences comfort during breastfeeding, does not feel pain in the nipple area.

How to feed a baby.

  • - From birth, you should breastfeed your baby every time he needs it.
  • - Let the baby suckle as much as he wants. Most children are saturated quickly in 20-30 minutes. and for low birth weight babies about one hour.
  • - Give the baby a chance to suckle before giving him a second breast if there is not enough milk yet. You deprive him of the last servings of milk richer in fats. The first portions are more lactose and water. This can lead to growth retardation, to intestinal colic, as the child will receive a lot of carbohydrates.
  • - Do not wean the baby early, he must let go of the breast when he is sleepy.
  • - The child should be fed at night as much as he wants.
  • - The child does not need additional water, even in hot weather. Breast milk contains enough water. Artificially fed babies need water.
  • - Do not give your child a bottle or pacifier. This can reinforce improper sucking technique and the baby may refuse to breastfeed.
  • - If it is necessary to give the child additional food or medicine by mouth, use a small cup or spoon.
  • - It is not necessary to wash the breast before feeding. Since this leads to the removal of the natural protective fat produced by small glands in the areola. Changes the smell of the mother and makes the skin of the nipples thin, vulnerable, along with the incorrectly captured breast (only the nipple) contributes to the formation of cracks. The pain experienced by the mother in the presence of cracks blocks the production of oxytocin, milk inevitably flows out and inevitably engorgement of the mammary glands, a decrease in milk production.
  • - If the nipples are irritated, then lubricate them with late breast milk, squeeze out drops after feeding and keep them in the air.
  • - Even if there are cracks in the nipples, breastfeeding should be continued. Proper attachment of the baby to the breast will lead to the disappearance of pain, because the nipple, only one third of the entire "nipple" from the breast, will go deep into the baby's mouth.

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Breastfeeding for beginners | Philips Avent

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child's life. In this article, we will discuss all of its main aspects, from the basic principles of breastfeeding to the best tips for effective newborn feeding.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, seek the opinion of another specialist.

Breastfeeding Basics

Although every baby is different, newborns typically eat every two to three hours, for a total of 8 to 12 meals a day. In the first one or two days after birth, babies usually drink 25-50 ml of milk per feeding. This volume will gradually increase to 50-75 ml when the baby is about two weeks old.

More information on how much a newborn should eat can be found here.

How long does one feeding last?

Again, every baby is different, so there is no set time frame for every newborn. But in general, breastfeeding a newborn takes five minutes to one hour. This time depends on the size, age of the baby and the frequency and duration of feeding the newborn.

How to start breastfeeding?

In the very first minutes of a child's life, his mother should put the baby on her chest and ensure body contact. This time is called the "golden hour": it is at this hour that a connection is established between mother and child and the newborn's natural instinct to seek the breast manifests itself. As soon as the child begins to show signs of hunger, you need to give him a breast.

Mothers who are just learning to breastfeed their newborns should remember that comfort is key. There is no better way to ensure breastfeeding success than by creating a comfortable and relaxing environment for the mother. For starters, mom can sit comfortably on the couch, on the bed, or in a chair with pillows to support her back while feeding. Breastfeeding moms can get creative with breastfeeding and choose specific lighting, soothing music, or anything else that helps them relax.

Bring your baby to your breast, not the other way around. If you want to make breastfeeding a newborn easier, then do not lean towards the baby, but bring it to your chest. The baby's mouth should be opposite the nipple, the neck should be straight, and the shoulders and hips should be in line. Mom can also lightly touch her nipple to her baby's nose and mouth to encourage him to latch on.

Support your chest. Holding the newborn with one hand, the mother can place the other hand directly under the breast to support it. When learning to breastfeed, some mothers prefer to leave one hand free; in this case, a rolled towel can be used.

Breastfeeding can be done in different positions; experiment with them to find the one that works best for you and your baby. We list the most common breastfeeding techniques below:

  • Cradle. In this position, the baby lies on the mother's hand from the side of the breast, which he sucks. The baby's head lies on the mother's elbow during feeding.
  • Cross cradle. With a cross cradle, the mother holds the baby with the hand opposite to the mammary gland that the baby sucks. With the other hand, mom can support her breasts.
  • Underhand or Football. In this position, the mother holds the child next to her, putting her back on her arm. With the other hand, she supports the baby's head, facing the mammary gland, with which she feeds the baby.
  • Lying on the side. In this position, the mother lies on her side, and the child lies next to her, facing her chest. Mom can support the child under the back with the hand that is on top, or put a folded towel under the back of the child.

Newborn Breastfeeding Tips

After looking at breastfeeding techniques, here are some tips for new mothers:

A good grip is important for both mother and baby. With a good grip, the baby will suck out milk correctly, and the mother's nipples will not hurt. To achieve a good latch, the mother needs to find a position that makes it easier for the newborn to latch onto the breast, and to do this, she should experiment with different positions. If a mother is having difficulty feeding, she should contact a lactation consultant.

2. Maintain milk supply. Sometimes a nursing mother cannot be constantly with her child during feedings. In such cases, it is very important to maintain milk production. An excellent solution for maintaining milk production when mother and baby are not together is pumping milk.

Take a look at this double breast pump: it reduces pumping time and features a massage petal attachment to gently stimulate milk flow.

3. Breastfeeding everywhere. One of the many benefits of breast milk is that mom always has it with her. But some moms feel awkward at first when they have to breastfeed their baby in public. For such mothers, we recommend that you first practice breastfeeding your newborn in front of a mirror and choose clothes that allow you to cover your breasts during feeding. A shawl or scarf can help with this - with them, the mother will feel more comfortable when feeding the baby outside the home.

And to keep clothes dry and clean while breastfeeding, we recommend that mums use these disposable bra pads with a porous and breathable structure: they do not leak and let air through.

Be prepared for difficulties. It is important for moms not to panic or get upset when faced with a common breastfeeding problem, such as insufficient milk production, breast engorgement, clogged milk ducts, mastitis, or sore nipples. To feel calm and confident during all stages of breastfeeding a baby, mothers need a circle of support: family members, friends, and healthcare professionals. The main thing is to stay calm, but if a mother is concerned about any aspect of breast health, she should definitely see a doctor. Learn more about breastfeeding difficulties and how to overcome them.

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