Correct Positioning & Latching

Do you dread each time when baby need to be nursed because you winced in pain or perhaps your nipple is cracked and injured? Have you been told that nipple pain is normal and your nipple will be “toughen” once you are used to breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding should not be painful even in the early days of breastfeeding. Normally, when baby latched wrongly and nursed with incorrect technique are the contributing culprit to the pain when nursing.  Most of the time, when we improved on the positioning and latching method it helps to eliminate pain and sore nipple. There are a few breastfeeding positions that mothers can try namely:

Cradle hold

Cross-cradle hold

Football hold

Sidelying position

Regardless of which position mother choose to breastfeed her baby, here are some key points to follow:

  1. Bring the baby to the mother. Leaning over the baby may cause back aches and shoulder strain. Baby’s body should be so close to the mother’s body that it is touching and baby’s tummy should be facing mother’s tummy.
  2. Bring baby’s whole body towards the breast, approaching it with his nose opposite the nipple (same height).
  3. Hold the baby so that the head and body are in a straight line.
  4. Support baby’s whole body including the buttocks, and not just his head and shoulders.

Mothers should sit comfortably with good back support and arms are supported with pillows.

Once the baby is positioned correctly, check on the baby’s latching for signs of good attachment as below:

  1. Baby’s mouth is wide open taking the whole breast and not just the nipple.
  2. More areola will be visible above the baby’s mouth than below.
  3. Baby’s lips are flanged.
  4. Baby’s cheeks are rounded when latching.
  5. Baby’s chin touches the breast but the nose is away.

If at any time the baby is not latching correctly, detach baby gently by using your little finger to touch the corner of baby’s mouth and try again.

Once you feel comfortable with baby’s latching, sit back and enjoy this precious bonding time with your baby.

Article written by:
Madam Carrie Foo
Lactation counsellor

Edited by: Nabilla Azmi

Pictures credit to La Leche League and