Attachment and positioning

Successful breastfeeding depends on the positioning and attachment of your baby to your breast. When your baby is positioned and attached correctly, they will feed well and you will feel no pain. As you start breastfeeding, you may feel some discomfort but you will get used to the feeling. There are a number of different breastfeeding positions, so find one that suits you and your baby.

Attaching your baby to breastfeed

The acronym CHIN explains what to do when preparing to breastfeed:

  • close
  • head free
  • in line
  • nose to nipple
    • Step 1

      Step 1 of 3

      • Bring your baby close to your body so they don’t need to stretch to reach your breast
      • Check your baby’s head and body are in a straight line facing the same way
      • Move your baby’s nose to your nipple so they can reach and get the breast underneath your nipple
    • Step 2

      Step 2 of 3

      • Support your baby’s neck, shoulders and back, making sure their head is free to move
      • Watch your baby tilt their head back and open their mouth wide
      • If your baby’s mouth doesn’t open, encourage it by gently rubbing your nipple against their upper lip and moving away until they open wide
    • Step 3

      Step 3 of 3

      • Bring your baby to your breast
      • To latch on correctly, your baby’s tongue and lower lip should make contact with your breast first

    Images supplied by Health Scotland

    Video supplied by Best Beginnings

    Signs your baby is well attached to breastfeed

    When your baby is well attached:

    • their chin touches your breast
    • their mouth is wide open
    • their cheeks are round and full, not sucked in or dimpled
    • their sucks become slower and longer
    • you can see some of your breast above your baby’s top lip
    • you feel a strong, drawing sensation

    If your baby is feeding properly from the breast, they don’t make any slurping or smacking sounds. They’re sleepy and satisfied when they finish feeding.

    Signs your baby is not well attached to breastfeed

    When your baby is not well attached:

    • feeding is painful
    • their sucks are short
    • their cheeks are drawn in and dimpled
    • they are restless and keep coming off the breast

    Breastfeeding positions

    You can try different positions to breastfeed. Use a comfortable position that:

    • lets your breast hang naturally
    • allows your baby to latch on well
    • doesn’t cause any strain
    • Positioning Natural

      Natural Position

      Sitting up with your baby across you

    • Lying back

      Lying down with your baby

    • Tuck

      Keep your baby close

      Whatever position you choose, remember to hold your baby close and support them

    Images supplied by Health Scotland

    Breastfeeding Locations