Step by Step Guide for Successful Latch & Feeding

Posted on March 15, 2015 by Charlotte Keating

Creating a good latch and good breastfeeding position are key to nursing successfully. Here's a step by step guide to ensure your baby is latching on correctly and feeding well at the breast. 

Latching on:

Charlotte Keating Nursingwear & MaternityCharlotte Keating Nursingwear & MaternityStep by step guide to latching on by NHS ScotlandStep 1 Get comfortableStep 2 Holding babyStep 3 Align nose to nippleStep 4 AttachmentStep 5 FeedingStep 6 Stopping Feeding, UnlatchingSee On


1. If you're new to breastfeeding or have a preemie baby, you may wish to hand express a little milk to initiate the flow so that baby is instantly rewarded for latching on. 
2. Hold baby close to you in a comfortable position with their head and body in a straight line facing you.
3. Support your baby's head but make sure they can tilt their head back to feed
4. Ensure your baby's nose or top lip are in line with the nipple
5. Brush baby's nose with nipple to encourage them to open mouth wide then swiftly bring baby to nipple to latch on.
6. If the latch doesn't feel comfortable, insert your clean little finger into the side of your baby's mouth to release the latch and retry.

Signs that your baby is latched on correctly & feeding well at the breast:
1. Baby has a large mouthful of breast not just the nipple
2. Baby's lower lip is curled back
3. Baby's nose is usually clear of the breast
4. Baby's chin usually pressing breast
5. You can see more areola above the baby's mouth than below
6. Baby has full rounded cheeks
7. Baby sucking rhythmically with pauses and swallows
8. Feeding should be painless
9. Contented baby who stays on the breast
10. Weight checks before and after feeding will determine if baby is nursing successfully 
11. Your baby steadily gains weight 

This video by Dr Jack Newman illustrates a baby feeding well at the breast. Whilst this video by Dr Jack Newman illustrates a baby nibbling at the breast and not feeding well. 

Remember, breastfeeding is a learning process so don't be afraid or shy to ask for help.
Both you and your baby will need to work together to create a good latch and comfortable feeding position but it's new to both of you so don't be afraid to ask your local midwife, breastfeeding support counsellor or health visitor to help you overcome any challenges.

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