Breastfeeding Techniques


Proper breastfeeding techniques are essential to master when you’re a new mom nursing for the first time. Since every baby’s different, even second- or third-time moms may need to refine their techniques, change their approach, or just refresh their memories.

One of the most important elements of breastfeeding is the latch, or how your baby’s mouth suckles on your nipple. If the latch is off, your baby may not nurse as efficiently as he or she could do, and may not get as much milk from your breast as he or she would with a better latch. An incorrect latch might also cause you a lot of pain: your nipples may become sore and chafed, or even start cracking or bleeding.

To achieve a proper latch, you need to hold baby up to your breast so that he doesn’t need to turn his head or lean forward to reach your nipple. You can do this using a variety of nursing holds: in the cross-cradle hold, you put baby across your body so that his feet are next to the breast you’re not nursing him with, making sure his belly is next to yours; his head rests in the crook of your arm, and your forearm extends up his back. In the football hold, you tuck baby’s body under your arm while you feed him, so if you’re feeding from the left breast, you’ll tuck the rest of his body under your left arm.

Next, get baby to open his mouth wide – as wide as it would open if he were yawning. You can stimulate his rooting reflex by tickling his cheek or lower lip with your nipple or finger so he turns toward your breast. As soon as he opens his mouth wide, pull him quickly (but gently) to your breast and put your nipple in his mouth. You can do this by holding your breast in one hand and guiding the nipple to his mouth. He should take at least half of your areola (the area surrounding your nipple) into his mouth: he shouldn’t just be sucking on your nipple alone. Look down as you nurse – you should barely be able to see any of your areola. If it is visible, it should be more so above baby’s upper lip than the lower lip.

Make sure both your baby’s lips are splayed outwards as he nurses: if his lower lip seems tucked in, gently pull his chin down and pull the lip out so it’s splayed against your breast. If you can’t pull his lip out, insert a finger into his mouth to break his suction on your breast, take him off your nipple, and relatch him properly. Watch him nurse – he should be taking long sucks, then pausing to swallow.

One way to judge your latch: look at your nipple after baby’s done nursing. If it’s round, the latch is good. If it’s squashed, or if it looks angled on top like a tube of lipstick, baby may be latching wrong. See a lactation consultant if you’re having latch issues.

Other great nursing positions include the side-lying position, in which you recline on your side, support your back with pillows, and pull baby to you as he also lies on his side. This is good for women who’ve had C-sections.


This information is solely for informational and educational purposes only. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, family planning, child psychology, marriage counseling and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care or mental health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of or the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, application of medication or any other action involving the care of yourself or any family members which results from reading this site. It is always best to speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Additional information contained in our Legal Statement

What does your weekly dinner look like?
The whole family dines together at home
The whole family dines together at a restaurant
Parents and children eat separately
Whoever is around eats together
Every family member for themselves!
Total votes: 5755