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5 Steps to a Good Latch:

If you like to learn step-by-step, here are more detailed instructions for helping your baby latch on properly.

  1. 1. Make Yourself Comfortable
    • You can breastfeed sitting up or lying down. You may find it easier to breastfeed if you are sitting in a chair with a foot stool, to lift your feet. Lying on your side is helpful if you had a cesarean birth.

      Try different positions and see what works best for you and your baby.
    • Your baby needs to be very close to you, so remove any clothes, hats, mittens or blankets between you and your baby.
    • If you have pain from the birth, you may need to take pain medication. It is important to be comfortable while breastfeeding.

  2. 2. Hold Your Baby Close for Feeding
    The pictures show different ways to hold your baby for feeding. In all positions, your baby's tummy should be against you.

    Wrap your baby's body and legs around you. This is called 'tummy to tummy'.

    In this position, your baby will be at your side, with his head higher than the rest of his body. His tummy touches the side of your chest.

    In this position, your baby is tucked in close to you, tummy to tummy. Lying on your side may allow you to get more rest.

  4. 3. Support Your Breast

    When you are learning to latch your baby, it may be helpful to shape your breast to fit the oval of your baby’s mouth.

    Cup your breast with your free hand. Gently squeeze your breast from top to bottom, or side to side, to shape it. This will depend on how you are holding your baby. Do not pinch your breast.

    Make sure your bottom fingers are away from the areola (the darker circle around your nipple) and out of the way of your baby’s chin. Once your baby is latched on and feeding well, you may not need to continue holding your breast.

  5. 4. Support Your Baby's Neck
    With your other hand, support the base of your baby's head. The palm of this hand should be supporting your baby’s shoulders.

    Your baby’s head should be tilted back slightly. Be careful not to push your baby’s head into your breast. Your nipple should point towards your baby's nose.
  6. 5. Wait for a Wide Open Mouth and Pull Your Baby Close

    Tilt your baby's head back slightly so his chin touches the underside of your breast. Your nipple should be sitting slightly above your baby's upper lip.

    Wait for your baby to open his mouth wide with his tongue forward and down. Your baby's mouth should look like he is yawning.

    As soon as your baby's mouth is open wide, aim your nipple to the roof of his mouth and quickly pull him towards you. Move baby's head and body together in a straight line. Your nipple and areola should be in his mouth. His chin should be touching your breast.

    If your baby does not open wide, it may help to express a few drops of milk down to the end of your nipple. Be patient.

    Keep your baby’s body, including his hips, close to you. Your baby will be able to breathe easily while breastfeeding.