Positioning and Attachment

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Positioning and Attachment

Breastfeeding is something that you learn together. Good positioning and attachment are important for it to be successful.

Finding a comfortable position means you can feed for however long you wish to.


It may be useful to remember this when thinking about positioning your baby.

  • C: Close – hold your baby’s whole body close to you
  • H: Head free – place your hand along your baby’s back with your hand on their shoulders so their head can move freely
  • I: In line – ensure their head and body are in line
  • N: Nipple to Nose – your baby’s nose should be in line with your nipple so they can latch on effectively



Hold your baby’s whole body close to you.

Head Free

Place your hand along your baby’s back with your hand on their shoulders so their head can move freely.

In Line

Ensure their head and body are in line.

Nipple to Nose

Your baby’s nose should be in line with your nipple this will allow them to latch effectively


You want your baby to have a wide-open mouth. By tilting your baby’s head back slightly and brushing your nipple against the top lip you can encourage their mouth to open. When their mouth is open you can then encourage them onto the breast, making sure that their chin is leading.

Here are some signs that your baby has latched on properly:

  • You may see more of the darker skin of your nipple above your baby’s top lip
  • You will notice your baby’s cheeks appear full and rounded
  • Their chin will be indenting your breast
  • Their nose will be free
  • Their head should be unrestricted
  • Their mouth will be wide
Once your baby has attached to the breast there are often short rapid sucks to start with. This will then slow to a more rhythmic sucking pattern. This sucking pattern may not be as evident in the first few days.

Establishing a Feed

When breastfeeding, offer one breast first. Your baby will latch and begin to suck to get the milk to start to flow rapidly. As the flow starts, they will change their sucking pattern to longer sucks with swallows and pauses.

As the feed continues the pauses will become longer, and as the feed comes to an end your baby should come off the breast relaxed. Winding your baby before offering the other breast is recommended.

Your baby may not want any more milk. Sometimes they feed for 30-40 minutes and sometimes just for 5. When you come to feed your baby next time, use the other breast, even if you finished the last feed from this breast.

Feeding Positions

Depending on what makes you comfortable, you may wish to hold your baby in different positions when feeding. As long as you follow the above principles, they can all work for you. Here are some examples of positions you can try:

Cradle hold

This is the position you will see lots of people feeding in and it’s often easy to do when you are out and about. Make sure you’re sitting comfortably before starting.
Sit upright in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and hold your baby across your body.

Laid back

When you’ve had a caesarean, laid-back feeding can be a really effective way to feed. Lying in an upright position is often the most comfortable and makes it easier to guide your baby to your breast gently.


This position is used often when feeding at night. It’s a really effective way to get your baby used to latching comfortably in the first few days.

Laying on your side and getting your baby into the correct position is very important, then support their back with your arm.

Rugby hold

This is a good position if you’ve had a caesarean birth as there is no pressure on your stomach area. It is also useful when feeding twins. Many people use this position
and find it comfortable. Sitting upright, position your baby at your side.
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