How to latch your baby on to your breast
- Hold your baby close to you with their nose level with the nipple.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Help and support with breastfeeding
If you have any questions or concerns, 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 advice about sore nipples and other commmon breastfeeding problems
Visit healthtalk.org to see mums talking about positioning and attaching their babies at the breast.
How to tell if your baby is getting enough milk
- You 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 have 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 are 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.
See 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.
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