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Baby-led breast feeding attachment By Dr (Mrs) E.O. somefun

The best way for you to learn about breast feeding is to let
your baby teach you! This is called ‘baby-led attachment’, and it’s when you
let baby follow his instincts to find your breast and latch on.
Baby-led attachment can help you avoid many common problems,
such as sore or cracked nipples and poor attachment to the breast by your baby.
Getting started with baby-led breastfeeding attachment
Baby-led attachment can be done skin to skin or with your
baby lightly dressed. It’s best if you take off your bra. This means you might
need a fair bit of privacy in the early days as you and your baby learn.
Here are the basic steps for this technique:
Make sure you’re comfortable and well supported with
pillows. Lean back rather than sit upright.
Place your baby on your bare chest between your breasts,
facing you. Gravity will help keep her in position. It’s best if your baby is
awake but not crying – if she’s crying, calm her first, perhaps by letting her
suck your finger.
When calm, your baby will begin to follow his instincts. He
will start to move towards one breast. Support your baby behind his shoulders
and under his bottom (hold his head only if he needs it). Let him move to where
he’s trying to go – towards your nipple. He knows where to go! Your job is to
keep him calm. You can help him by moving his whole body a little if necessary.
Your baby will most likely position herself on an angle,
with her mouth near your nipple and her feet supported by your thigh or lap.
When your baby is just below your nipple, he’ll dig his chin
into your breast, reach up with an open mouth and attach to the breast.
Things to note
If you’ve had a caesarean section, gently encourage your
baby to move her legs and body to one side of you, so she doesn’t kick or lie
on your wound. Use a pillow next to you to support her legs and feet.
You can provide support behind your baby’s shoulders and
bring his bottom in closer to your body if you need to.
For more information, you can also print out our illustrated
guide to breastfeeding techniques and illustrated guide to breastfeeding
Mother-led attachment
The more traditional technique of ‘mother-led’ attachment
works for many mothers and babies. This technique can also be used once
breastfeeding is well established.
Here are the basic steps for this technique:
Sit upright, and support yourself well with pillows. If your
breasts are small, you might need a pillow on your lap to bring your baby to
the right level. But take care not to raise your baby higher than the natural
fall of your breasts.
To start the feed, hold your baby behind her back and
shoulders (not her head), so her chest is touching your chest. Her nose should
be in line with your nipple. Gently brush your nipple from her nose to her lips
– this will encourage her to open her mouth wide.
When his mouth is wide open, bring baby to your breast.
Direct the nipple at the roof of his mouth, and keep your hands across his back
and shoulders. When he attaches, a large amount of the areola will be in his
mouth and his chin will be pressed into the breast.
When a baby is feeding well, she’ll suck deeply and
regularly (sometimes with short pauses), and you’ll hear her swallowing.
Checking the breastfeeding attachment
When your baby is correctly attached to your breast, you’ll
notice that:
breastfeeding feels comfortable, not painful
your baby takes the whole nipple and a large amount of the
areola into his mouth, more on the chin side than the nose side
your baby’s chin is pressed into your breast
your baby’s lips are turned out over your breast (not sucked
your nipples stay in good condition, and don’t show any
signs of damage
your baby is draining your breast properly, so that it feels
floppy after a feed.
If your baby hasn’t attached correctly, stop, take her off
the breast and try attaching again.
It’s normal to feel a ‘stretching sensation’ when your baby
starts sucking. But if attachment hurts, it might mean your baby isn’t
correctly attached. If you want to double-check whether your baby is attaching
correctly, contact your child and family health nurse or lactation consultant.
Breaking the attachment and burping
If you need to take your baby off your breast to try
attaching again, avoid pulling your baby away from your breast. Instead, break the
attachment by inserting your little finger into the corner of your baby’s
mouth, between his gums, and gently remove him from the breast.
Your baby might need to burp after feeding from each breast.
To do this, sit her up or hold her to your shoulder and gently rub or pat her
Basic feeding routines and times
Newborns need to be fed 8-12 times every 24 hours. Once
you’ve got the hang of it, most feeds take 20 minutes or so. But in the early
days and weeks, they might take up to an hour.
As your baby grows, the time baby takes to feed will reduce,
as will the number of feeds.
The basic routine often changes depending on the baby. Some
babies might feed from one breast, need a break and a nappy change, then finish
with the other breast. Other babies might have a nappy change first, then feed
from both breasts. And others will feed from only one breast. 
If you’re using baby-led attachment, you can gently
encourage your baby to go to a particular breast. Or you can place your baby
close to the breast and let him attach by himself from there.

Dr (Mrs) E.O.Somefun


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