Resources Learning to Breastfeed

Learning to Breastfeed

Learning to Breastfeed

Positioning and latching well during breastfeeding is important for both mom and baby. A good latch helps prevent sore nipples and allows for better milk flow. When mom and baby are both comfortable and relaxed, mom will make more milk and baby will feed better. Here are some simple steps:

Step 1: Get comfortable

If you are in bed or on a couch, use pillows to support your back, neck and shoulders. Lean back and relax. If you are in bed, you may also find lying down on your side a comfortable way to breastfeed. Use pillows behind your back and between your knees for comfort and support. If you are seated in a chair, a pillow can be placed on your lap to support your arms. Place a footrest, stool or thick book under your feet.

Step 2: Bring your baby to the breast

Once you are leaned back and relaxed, bring baby to your breast. Avoid bending forward. Baby’s mouth and nose should face your nipple. Baby’s ears, shoulders and hips should be in a straight line, not twisted or turned.

Step 3: Shape your breast

Place your thumb and fingers just outside the areola, the dark area surrounding the nipple. Your thumb will go on top of the breast and your fingers will go under the breast in the same direction as your baby’s mouth, forming either in the shape of a “C” or the shape of a “U”. Shaping your breast may help your baby get a better latch.

Step 4: Latch on

  • Tickle baby’s chin so that his mouth is open wide.
  • Bring baby’s chin and lower lip towards the areola.
  • Once on the breast, check to see that baby ’s mouth looks wide open, both of baby ’s lips are rolled out, baby’s nose is facing the breast and most of the areola is in baby ’s mouth (not just the nipple).

Step 5: Make adjustments

Keep trying different positions until you both are comfortable.


A PDF of "Learning to Breastfeed" is available to download