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  • Breastfeeding
How to



How to Breastfeed




There are many ways to breastfeed. The individuality of each baby means it can take time to learn the technique suited to them and their baby. Each mum and baby develop their own unique feeding style which changes as baby develops.


What position is best?


There are many different positions for breastfeeding but all you need to remember is the acronym CHINS:

  • Close – is your baby’s body touching yours?
  • Head free but supported –support the baby’s neck, shoulders and back and ensure nothing is on your baby’s head
  • Inline – baby’s nose, knees and bellybutton facing the same way
  • Nose to nipple – touch the baby’s nose to your nipple as your baby should have to reach to attach themselves to your breast.
  • Sustainable – although it is ok to change position slightly during a feed it is best to get comfortable before as your baby could be feeding for a while.





This is how the baby’s mouth attaches to your breast to feed.

You can help for a successful attachment by following SOCAN.


  • Stimulate - the baby to open their mouth wide
  • Open mouth - as wide as when they cry
  • Chin leading - bring the baby’s chin quickly to the breast to encourage attachment
  • Aim – bottom of baby’s lip away from the base of the nipple
  • Nipple – at the back of the roof of the baby’s mouth.


Using ON/CAN/TOO can check whether your baby is attached properly.


  • Open mouth (wide)
  • No pain for you (after first couple of sucks)
  • Chin touching the breast
  • Areola (dark area around nipple) should be more visible above top lip of baby
  • No other noises (clicking or clacking)
  • The feed changes (see feeding pattern)
  • Only full, rounded cheeks
  • On the breast the baby stays on for the entire feed.


Feeding Pattern


Feeding Pattern


How to know whether you baby is feeding correctly?


You will be able to see if your baby is feeding well during the first 6-8 weeks if they have:


  • At least 6-8 feeds in 24 hours
  • At least 6 wet nappies in 24 hours (once milk comes in)
  • At least 3 dirty nappies coloured bright yellow and size of a £2 coin.


During the feed, there should be a change in sucking and swallowing which applies to all ages of babies


  1. At first there should be fast sucks with some swallows (“suck, suck, suck, suck, swallow” repeated)
  2. Then the sucks and swallows will become more regular (“suck, suck, swallow” or “suck, swallow”)
  3. Finally, the sucks become slower with pauses and softer swallows
  4. Once finished, the baby will either let go or come off if breast is gently lifted.


If the baby is swallowing, then the baby is feeding. The end stage is vital for the feeding process as it is the fatty milk that will fill them up and help the baby to settle.


Cluster Feeding


This can be one of those moments that if happening to you, you think “is this normal and why didn’t they tell me about this before?”


Cluster feeding is where your baby will feed numerous of times within a few hours with only short interval between each feed. It is common for the baby to fall asleep on the breast, refuse to let go and want to be nursed during this period.


One of the most important things to know is that this behaviour is entirely normal and should only be a temporary. Many mums worry that their baby is not getting enough milk during cluster feeding. But, as long as you keep an eye on the baby’s weight and nappy usages, it should be fine. Cluster feeding isn’t just about providing milk, but also providing comfort. It’s normal and critical for babies to need comfort. A general feeding pattern for babies who cluster feed is:


  • Normally feeds a lot
  • Often early evening
  • Usually decreases after eight weeks.


Growth Spurts


Just as you get into the swing of things and are used to your baby’s feeding pattern, a growth spurt comes along. This will affect their feeding pattern, making them feed more and seem fussy.


During this natural phase your body will produce the extra milk that your little one is demanding, so don’t give up on breastfeeding thinking that your baby isn’t getting enough milk. If you are worried, just keep an eye on the weight and nappy usages. If they’re wetting 5-6 nappies a day and putting weight on, then they are doing just fine!


Feeding pattern is affected by growth spurts and will result in your baby:


  • Being hungrier and needing more breastfeeds for 24-48 hours
  • Growing every 4-6 weeks
  • Appearing more restless including the night.


Last Updated: Thursday, 03 November 2016 11:41

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