Baby Led Attachment

At Mother Baby Clinic we have an evidence based approach to our work and we like to work in ways that support and encourage what is biologically normal.

Babies who are born within a few weeks of their due date and are healthy, should be able to attach themselves to the breast to feed when held in a way that supports their feeding reflexes. Generally this is easier to achieve in a reclined position.

A reclined position can be helpful as in this position your babys body is very well supported and they feel very secure. In the reclined position their newborn reflexes enable them to get the best latch to the breast and it is easy for you to make adjustments to their latch without taking them off and on the breast. Feeding in the reclined position is good for any breastfeeding mother and baby but especially useful for young babies with feeding problems.

  • Be in a comfortable reclined position in bed, or on your couch or recliner.

  • Have your feet up if possible.

  • Don't use pillows to support baby but you can use a pillow to support your elbow if needed for comfort.

  • Bring baby to the upper part of your breast or chest. Keep the baby rolled in towards you and very close to you.

  • It is best if baby is not wrapped and you may like to feed skin to skin when possible.

  • When baby is ready to feed s/he will begin to mouth around the area and look for the nipple, your baby can make their own way to the nipple and self-attach. Give baby a little time to do this on their own. If you feel you need to help, slide baby gently down the breast to the area of the nipple.

  • If baby becomes distressed bring them up onto the upper part of your breast or chest and sooth them( a crying baby cannot attach well to the breast)

  • Make sure baby's arms are cradling the breast on either side (the lower arm can get caught between their body and the breast and this gets in the way of good attachment).

  • Baby's cheeks should be symmetrical around the breast and the nose is free.

  • If baby’s nose is pushed into the breast or baby’s cheeks are not evenly pushed into the breast reposition them slightly (without taking them off) by small movements. If baby’s nose is not free try a little pressure on your baby’s bottom and slightly relax your arm cradled underneath your babys head or it may help to move your supporting arms a little to bring baby in a more symmetrical position around the nipple.

  • Make sure you relax your shoulders and arms when feeding and have a drink close enough to reach.

If you have not yet had your baby we would encourage you to hold your baby skin to skin on your chest immediately after birth and keep your baby there until they have had their first experience at the breast. Most babies will do this within an hour, some babies take a little longer. The babies stepping reflex, rooting and sucking reflexes will help her or him to find the nipple, attach and drink colostrum. Hospital staff may be concerned that the baby will be cold, blankets can go over the two of you together and a heater can be brought if necessary. They may want to weigh or dress the baby but these things can wait. This first feed is very important and evidence shows that it is very important to future breastfeeding success.

There are quite a few videos on YouTube that show baby led attachment and in most of these the women are in a reclined position. Have a look and see if it is something you would like to try. If your feeding issues are not resolving make a time to see us at Mother Baby Clinic.