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Baby Bliss Quick Guide: 10 Keys to a Successful Breastfeed

Key 1: Preparation:

  • Empty bladder
  • Water bottle close by
  • Cloth at the ready

Key 2: Your positioning:

  • Sitting comfortably with your back straight & lap, flat (footstool if needed)
  • Pillows: for behind your back and feeding pillow (great for while you are learning to breastfeed)


Key 3: Baby’s positioning:

  • Full control of baby’s head with one hand across their shoulder blades
  • Thumb just under baby’s ear and middle finger along jaw line
  • Index finger as extra support for baby’s head
  • Bring baby to the breast not breast to the baby
  • Nose to nipple
  • Tummy to tummy
  • Baby hugging you with one arm and the other arm tucked in between you
  • Ear, shoulder and hip in straight line

Key 4: Breast

  • Use other hand to support the breast, keeping it in its natural position
  • U hold – thumb and index finger at 3 & 9 O’clock, not covering areola
  • Compress breast tissue to get a deep latch


Key 5: Latching

  • Stimulate your baby by brushing breast against their bottom lip & chin
  • Bring baby’s chin into breast first
  • Wait for a wide open mouth – Be gentle, but quickly latch your baby to the breast by using a hinge movement, with their chin as the fulcrum – Remember hamburger!

Key 6: Effective latch?

Does it feel right?

  • It can feel tender but not painful with the tenderness reducing within 15-30 seconds
  • Feel pain – break the suction and try again

Does is look right?

  • Baby’s lips turned out like a fish against the breast
  • Nose and cheeks gently touching the breast.
  • Chin is pressed firmly into breast
  • Little or no areola visible
  • Head in natural ‘sculling’ position – straighten wrist if required
  • No clicking sounds or dimpling in baby’s cheeks 


A Shallow Latch is ' Nipple Feeding'

  • Babies cannot transfer milk from the breast effectively
  • Get frustrated at the breast
  • Are more unsettled
  • Feed for longer
  • Your breast gets less stimulation so you will produce less milk
  • It can be very painful and can cause damage to your nipples

A Deep Latch is 'Breastfeeding

  • Your baby will use their jaw, cheeks, lips and tongue to transfer milk effectively from the breast, by massaging it with their whole mouth.


Establishing a deep latch is vital for breastfeeding success

Key 7: Your baby maintains their deep latch

  • Baby has a deep latch throughout the whole feed
  • If something changes or it does not feel right – break the suction and reattach your baby


Key 8: Effective sucking and milk transfer?

  • Sustained rhythmic suck/swallow/breathe pattern with brief pauses
  • Audible swallowing
  • Baby’s mouth is moist after their feed or milk around mouth
  • Let-down sensations may be felt – tingling, sudden thirst, milk leaking from other side, feeling drowsy/relaxed, uterine contraction

Key 9: ‘Relax’

  • Release your hand that is supporting your breast and bring it around your baby
  • Consciously think – ‘Relax’ – take a big breath in and drop your shoulders
  • Keep your guiding hand in place while you and your baby are learning


Key 10: Was it an effective feed?

  • Your nipple should not look misshapen, flattened, ridged or blanched when your baby comes off the breast
  • Your breasts will feel noticeably softer after the feed
  • Your baby will appear full and satisfied


Please feel free to get in touch if you would like to know anything more about breastfeeding or would like some support with your breastfeeding journey. 

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