What is correct attachment? We’ve broken the process down into simple steps with photographs to help you – there's also a video showing incorrect and correct attachment at the bottom of the page.
Step 1: Bring your baby in close
- Your baby shouldn't have to stretch to reach your breast.
- Their head, neck, chest and hips should all face the same direction – it's difficult for your baby to swallow if their body is twisted. Their head should be tilted back slightly.
Step 2: Baby's nose to your nipple
- Their nose should be level with your nipple, so that when they attempt to attach your nipple they can safely reach the back of their mouth.
Step 3: Make sure their head is free to move
- Support your baby behind the neck and shoulder, making sure they can move their head freely.
- Watch your baby instinctively tilt their head back and open their mouth wide.
- Bring your baby swiftly to your breast (not the other way round). Their tongue and lower lip should make contact with your breast first.
Step 4: Watch for a wide open mouth
- Their chin should be touching your breast and their cheeks should be full and rounded.
- If any of your areola (the darker area around your nipple) is visible, more should be seen above your baby's top lip than below their bottom lip.
- Your baby should be calm.
- Your baby should be sucking rhythmically, swallowing and pausing during the feed.
- Any discomfort you feel should only be for the first few seconds. If breastfeeding is sore for you throughout a feed, you may need to ask for help, as the attachment may not be quite right.
Still feeling some discomfort?
Watch this video to see if you can pinpoint where the problem might be and ask your health visitor or breastfeeding counsellor for their advice. You can find out more about getting support here.