How to feed newborn baby video

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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Breastfeeding with pierced, flat or inverted nipples

The shape and size of nipples can vary greatly from woman to woman. Our practical tips will help you make breastfeeding easier, no matter what your nipples are.

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Most women's nipples protrude, enlarge and swell when touched, but some have flat or even inward nipples. In addition, some women pierce one or both nipples. Usually flat, inverted or pierced nipples do not cause problems when breastfeeding, but in some cases additional help may be needed.

“Don't panic if you have flat or inverted nipples. As a rule, this does not interfere with breastfeeding in any way,” says Shawnad Hilton, a lactation consultant, health visitor and newborn care specialist who has worked with Medela in the UK for more than a decade. “Remember that your baby takes into his mouth not only the nipple, but also part of the breast.”

However, in the early days, when the baby's mouth is still very small and suckling skills have not developed, inverted or flat nipples can make feeding difficult, especially if the baby is unwell or born prematurely.

“Flat or inverted nipples may not reach the baby's palate and therefore not trigger the sucking reflex,” Schoned explains. “That is, the baby may have trouble grasping and holding the breast in the mouth, and the baby will not get enough milk.”

How to tell if you have flat or inverted nipples

Flat nipples 1 do not protrude much from the areola (the darker
area surrounding the nipple) even when stimulated.

Inverted nipples seem to be recessed in the center. They may look like this all the time or only if they are stimulated. Sometimes inverted nipples are on the same level with the areola, and sometimes even sink deep into the breast tissue.

This feature may occur on one or both nipples. It is estimated that approximately 10% of nulliparous women have at least one retracted nipple. 2 If you're not sure what type of nipples you have, try a simple pinch test: Gently squeeze your breast with your thumb and forefinger on both sides of the areola. The nipple should come forward. If your nipple hides inside, creating a depression, then it is retracted.

Preparing inverted and flat nipples during pregnancy

You may have noticed that during pregnancy your breasts have changed and your nipples have become more protruding. If this does not happen and you are worried that the shape of your nipples will make breastfeeding difficult, try using nipple formers* in consultation with your doctor. These are soft and flexible silicone discs that are discreetly placed in the bra and slightly squeeze the nipples, helping to pull them out.

“In a normal pregnancy, nipple formers can be worn from 32 weeks,” advises Schoned. - Start wearing them for an hour a day, gradually increasing the time to eight hours. If you have an incompetent (weakened) cervix or are at risk of preterm labor, check with your healthcare provider about when you can start using shapers, as nipple stimulation can trigger contractions.”

“Nipple formers can continue to be worn after childbirth,” adds Schoned. “Try to put them in a bra 30 to 60 minutes before feeding.”

“I have inverted nipples, and after two or three weeks of constantly trying to latch on, I almost switched to formula,” recalls Nina, a mother from Germany. “I turned to La Leche Liga for help, and one nice woman came to me and supported me to continue to feed. She suggested trying nipple shapers and they really helped me. Somehow my baby began to understand what to do! Breastfeeding went well and I nursed him until he was 21 months old.”

How to help your baby latch on to flat or inverted nipples

If your baby enjoys sucking on your thumb but isn't as interested in your breast, chances are your nipple isn't reaching the palate. The baby may become nervous, push off the breast and cry or even fall asleep on your chest. If this happens, ask a lactation consultant or healthcare professional to check the grip.

There are several tricks you can use before every feed to make your nipples more comfortable to latch on to. Schoned recommends the following:

  • twist the nipple between thumb and forefinger so that it protrudes better;
  • place fingers in a "V" or "C" shape and squeeze the breast just behind the areola to push out the nipple;
  • apply a cold compress or ice cube to the nipple to push it forward;
  • Express milk manually or with a breast pump for a couple of minutes before feeding so that the nipple comes out more.

“I had a flat nipple, but I only found out about it when I noticed Austin was having trouble suckling on that side,” says Jennifer, mother of two in the UK. “From an anatomical point of view, there is nothing abnormal in this, it’s just that my nipple does not protrude so much, and this requires some skill when feeding. Before giving this breast, I always pinched and squeezed the nipple a little and tried to put it into the baby's mouth. It was a little difficult at first, but over time I learned.”

Using nursing pads

If none of the above work and your baby still has difficulty latch-on, your lactation consultant or healthcare professional may recommend that you breastfeed with a nursing pad*. They are thin and flexible nipple-shaped silicone funnels with holes at the tip through which milk will flow.

It is easier for the baby to put the feeding pad in his mouth, as it is larger and more rigid. In addition, such an overlay will reach him to the sky, causing a sucking reflex. Do not use nursing pads for a long time. If you experience pain or other problems, contact your lactation consultant or healthcare professional to check that your baby is latching on properly with a breastfeeding pad. You will also need to monitor your baby's weight gain to ensure that milk production is meeting his needs. 3

Over time, as your baby learns to suckle properly and your nipples get used to breastfeeding, you will be able to breastfeed without breast pads.

“My nipples are rather flat. The doctor advised me nursing pads, and I was successfully able to feed my two babies,” says Ann-Sophie, mother of two from Sweden. “My secret is to make them adhere better to the skin, I lightly wet the edges before use.

Breastfeeding with pierced nipples

Many women with pierced nipples find it does not affect their ability to breastfeed. However, jewelry must be removed before feeding, as the child may choke on them or injure their tongue, gums or palate.

“I had a nipple piercing, but I got it off a year later when I got pregnant because my breasts were very sensitive,” says Kelly, mother of three from the UK. “I breastfed my daughter exclusively, and then her two younger brothers, and never had any problems. And the pierced nipple was my favorite!”

Some women report that milk can leak from piercings, while others believe that piercing scars reduce milk production 4 - but this has not been well researched.

“You can't predict how a piercing will affect breastfeeding until milk production begins,” Schoned explains. - If you are concerned, talk to a lactation consultant or healthcare professional. And remember that one breast may be enough for babies to get the nutrition they need if there are problems with the second.

What to do if you can't breastfeed with flat or inverted nipples

If you've tried all the options and still can't breastfeed, you still shouldn't deprive your baby of breastmilk.

“Mom and baby's health is the most important thing,” says Schoned. “Maybe you should switch to full pumping and feed your baby only expressed milk. You can also try the supplementary feeding system** where the baby continues to feed at the breast while receiving additional expressed milk through a tube. That is, the baby will still suck on the breast and stimulate the production of milk, which, in turn, will help you pump even more.

“I have inverted nipples. After the disastrous experience of breastfeeding my first son with my second, I decided to get my way after all,” says Babettli, mother-of-two from Italy. - On the advice of experts, I tried nipple formers and nursing pads, but everything was unsuccessful. In the end, pumping with the Medela Symphony*** Double Electronic Clinical Breast Pump proved to be the best solution for us. I fed exclusively on expressed milk for up to four months.”

Care for different types of nipples

Flat or inverted nipples may require extra care as the baby may squeeze them harder and they may become inflamed at first. Tips on how to care for sore nipples can be found in Nursing Nipple Care.

If your nipples become inverted after a feed, any moisture can lead to inflammation and increase the risk of infections, including thrush. Blot your nipples dry after each feed before they have time to hide inside.

With swelling of the mammary glands, when even protruding nipples can become flat, flat or inverted nipples can be difficult. Read the helpful tips in the article on breast swelling.

The good news is that continuous breastfeeding or pumping can change the shape of your nipples and breastfeeding will become easier over time. With the arrival of the next child, you may not have to face this problem at all, as happened with Leanne, a mother of two from the UK.

“The second feeding was like a fairy tale,” she says. “After almost four months of pumping for my first son, my flat nipples were so extended that with my second son I no longer had to use breast pads - he was able to suck directly from the breast. The youngest is now nine months old and I still breastfeed him.”


1 Pluchinotta AM. The Outpatient Breast Clinic. Springer International Publishing ; 2015. - Pluchinotta A.M., "Treatment of breast diseases on an outpatient basis". Springer International Publishing. 2015.

2 Alexander JM, Campbell MJ. Prevalence of inverted and non-protractile nipples in antenatal women who intend to breast-feed. The Breast . 1997;6(2):72-78. — Alexander JM, Campbell MJ, "Prevalence of inverted and intractable nipples in pregnant women who intend to breastfeed." Ze Brest (Chest). 1997;6(2):72-78.

3 McKechnie AC, Eglash A. Nipple shields: a review of the literature.Breastfeeding Medicine. 2010;5(6):309-314. — McKechnie A.S., Eglash A., "Nipple Covers: A Review of the Literature". Brestfeeding Medicine (Breastfeeding Medicine). 2010;5(6):309-314.

4 Garbin CP0106 , Rowan MK , Hartmann PE , Geddes DT . Association of nipple piercing with abnormal milk production and breastfeeding. JAMA, Journal of the American Medical Association. 2009;301(24):2550-2551. - Garbin S.P., Deacon J.P., Rowan M.C., Hartmann P.I., Geddes D.T., "Nipple piercing and its impact on abnormal milk production and breastfeeding", JAMA (Journal of the American medical association). 2009;301(24):2550-2551.

Read instructions before use. Consult a specialist about possible contraindications.

* RC No. FSZ 2010/07352 dated 07/19/10

** RC No. FSZ 2010/07353 dated 07/19/10

*** RC No. FSZ 2010/06525 dated 03/17/2003 9002 general advice and advice doctor Those. support

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Breastfeeding: general advice and medical advice

Breastfeeding is the most important function of the mother's body, able to provide the newborn child with everything necessary for its development. Breast milk is the most ideal mixture for the baby, suitable for his gastrointestinal tract, its protective properties promote the development of the child's immunity, block infectious agents, and the balance of nutrients and hormones contributes to the harmonious growth of body tissues. Despite the fact that breastfeeding is the easiest and most convenient way to eat, without knowing the rules of feeding, it is difficult to ensure the full nutrition of the child, as well as the comfort and health of the mother.

The first rule of breastfeeding is the early attachment of the baby to the mother's breast. Previously, in the 50s and 60s, the baby was brought to the mother two days later, as it was believed that colostrum (a thick liquid released from the mammary glands in the first days after childbirth) is useless. At present, studies have been carried out, as a result of which data have been obtained that children fed on colostrum during the first days of life are more resistant to infections, especially given the lack of independent full-fledged immunity of the newborn.

Now, in all maternity hospitals, in the absence of contraindications, the mother and the child are in the ward together, only then the mother can ensure the feeding of the child at his request. With the regimen of feeding "according to the regimen", the formation of lactation occurs much more slowly, not to mention the possible risks of lactostasis, in addition, it is stressful for the baby, because he constantly received food from the mother's body during pregnancy from the placenta. The more the baby suckles, the faster the connection between mother and baby will be established, and the body will begin to produce as much milk as the newborn needs.

Thus, the first main principle of breastfeeding is feeding on demand.

The second key to successful feeding is proper attachment. This is important for a mother, in order to prevent pain and, as a result, cracks in the nipples, when there are no cracks, the breast is well emptied, there are no congestions or lack of milk. For a baby, this is necessary for good weight gain and harmonious development - he eats up, emptying his chest as much as possible.

How can this be ensured? Mom should choose a position that is comfortable FOR HERSELF so that the body is relaxed, since it is in the calm position of the mother that the hormone “oxytocin” is produced, which contributes to the “ejection” of milk; the child is deployed to the mother and pressed tightly, the child's head is in line with the body (ear-thigh control). With one hand, mom fixes the line between the shoulder blades and the sacrum. The baby's head is free, the mother's hand holds the head no higher than the level of the ears, the baby's chin, thus, is pressed against the chest below the areola - this is the correct fulcrum. The child in this position has only one choice: to throw back his head as far as possible, thereby opening his mouth wide.

Now the mother’s task is to give the baby a breast: with the second hand we take the breast like a sandwich: the thumb is at the border of the areola, the other four are below it, while the nipple is at the level of the baby’s nose, we roll the breast into the baby’s mouth - the thumb relaxes, four make a slight pressure .

Most mothers fail to do it right the first and even the second time, and this is absolutely normal.

As far as breast hygiene is concerned, it is enough to take a shower every day, just like any other time for a woman. Do not wash your breasts with soap before each feeding, any soap contains alkali, which dries the skin and favors the appearance of cracks.

A separate topic is the nutrition of a nursing mother, the main thing to consider is that a mother's diet is not unique and has nothing to do with her subjective feelings about the fat content, color and density of milk. The most important thing in mother's nutrition is variety and quality. You need to eat not for two, but for two, this is the golden rule, both during pregnancy and during the feeding period, thanks to which the baby will not have a metabolic syndrome, nor will the mother have excess weight.

Now every modern mother understands that breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed a baby, but given that breastfeeding is not the easiest thing to do, there are feeding consultants. Counseling is necessary for all novice mothers who want to provide their child with everything necessary from birth, while maintaining their health. It is important to overcome the fear of pain, lack or, conversely, excess milk, cracks and other troubles. Every woman can feed a child, only the right preparation for this process is necessary. Milk is not enough in most cases, due to improper attachment of the baby, feeding is a big science, help in which and the right advice suitable for each specific woman, according to her personality, can only be a qualified doctor who has the necessary knowledge about the mother's body.

Remote consultation on breastfeeding

As you know, any mother does not have time to visit the clinic to learn how to feed, this must be done at home, in which the woman feeds the child. In such cases, video consultations with a doctor come to the rescue. This is the most convenient way for the mother, she is in comfortable conditions for herself, while the doctor can check the correct attachment of the child directly with a glance. You should prepare in advance all the questions and problems that interest you, and solve them together with the doctor. The specialist can give all the necessary advice on care, feeding regimen, comfortable attachment to the breast, mother's nutrition and mammary gland hygiene.

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