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How to help your baby latch on for breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is a learnt skill, and attachment or latching on key to it being effective and comfortable.   Your baby needs latch on effectively to feed well without causing you pain or discomfort.

What does this look like?

  • Baby’s chin is touching the breast
  • Baby’s mouth is wide open so they can breast feed rather than nipple feed
  • Baby’s lower lip is curled out (don’t worry what the top lip is doing!)
  • More of the areola (the darker skin area around your nipple) is showing above the baby’s top lip which indicates the nipple is at the top of the latch
  • Baby’s cheeks are full and rounded, not pulled in or hollow

Your partner can help with this as they can sometimes see better than you can, or you can try feeding in front of a mirror. Whatever it looks like, it should feel comfortable.

You may feel a pulling deep in the breast and, while this may feel strange at first, you’ll soon get used to the sensation. If it’s painful throughout the feed, seek support from your midwife, health visitor or peer supporters.

Examples of good latch

Examples of poor latch

Here is a helpful video about attaching your baby at the breast:

This video was not produced by Health for Under 5’s and may contain adverts.

Useful links

National breastfeeding helpline

Page last reviewed: 18-01-2021

Next review due: 18-01-2024