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Goodness Me is your source for useful health, wellness and lifestyle information. We cover an interesting and comprehensive range of topics, tapping into the knowledge and expertise of staff and doctors at Epworth HealthCare, the leading private not-for-profit hospital group in Victoria, Australia.

Introduction to breastfeeding attachment

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Introduction to breastfeeding attachment

Dion Van de Kamp

To give babies the best start and to support their health, it's recommended that they're breastfed for the first year of their life. A whole 12 months of breastfeeding is a long time, so let's make sure it's a comfortable and meaningful experience for both you and baby!

By following these steps, you'll be able to try the 'cradle' nipple attachment technique and know where to get help if you'd like to explore other attachment techniques or feeding options.

Although it's a completely natural process, breastfeeding isn't always easy. It's something a lot of people struggle with, so if you're facing some challenges you're definitely not alone!

Breastfeeding helps to create a bond between mother and baby. It has many benefits as it’s easier for baby to digest and is often always available.
— Epworth Freemasons midwife, Deborah Alexander

Once you’re all set up and comfortable in a chair with your feet supported, you’re ready to go:

  1. Bring your hand that’s farthest away from baby’s head and place it behind their shoulder blades to support their neck. Use your forearm to support their back.
  2. Use your other hand to cup your breast in a ‘c-hold’.
  3. Bring your baby’s mouth around to face your nipple and place your nipple under your baby’s nose. Slowly move it toward their mouth for them to attach.
  4. Once you’re both comfortable, feel free to relax the hand that’s cupping your breast.
Once you get to the end of the feeding, they’ll either do a little fluttering reaction or they’ll pull themselves off. Let them suck for as long as they want to.
— Epworth Freemasons midwife, Deborah Alexander

After you finish feeding your baby, have a check over your nipple to make sure it’s still in a normal shape. If it's pinched or striped it could mean that baby hasn’t had their mouth open wide enough. Every family is unique, so the cradle attachment method may not be the best fit for you - that's okay. If you have questions or need any assistance please contact your Epworth lactation consultant, midwife or local health professional.


FAQ's

How long should a feed take?
You really don’t need to time feeds. We’d recommend letting baby feed for as long as they like on the first side. Give baby a quick nappy-change if need be, then offer them the second side.

Are there other techniques I can use?
Yes, there are many different techniques you can use depending on what you and your baby prefer. 

Should breastfeeding hurt?
In the early weeks it's normal to have some nipple tenderness, but it shouldn't be hurting. If you're in pain then you can try reattaching by placing baby back on again or try a different technique.

Where can I get breastfeeding support once I leave hospital?
Epworth HealthCare offer the support of lactation specialists and midwives if you need them, there’s also a breastfeeding clinic that you can attend.

Otherwise, we’d recommend you contact your local health care professional like your GP or primary care doctor.