Baby-led attachment

Baby-led attachment

Print Baby-led attachment

Baby-led attachment is when you let your baby move themselves towards your breast to feed.

Babies are born knowing what to do. They will:

  • start mouthing
  • move their hand to their mouth
  • lick their fingers
  • touch your nipple which makes it erect and easier to attach to.

Encourage your baby to self-attach for the first feed. Keep taking this approach over the first few days or even weeks:

  1. Hold your baby close to your body in a way that is comfortable for you both. It might help to put your baby upright on your chest and between your breasts. This allows your baby to move and find your breast.
  2. As your breast touches baby’s cheek, baby will turn their head towards your breast. Baby will then open their mouth wide and poke their tongue out over the bottom lip to lick your nipple.
  3. When your baby is ready, they will attach to your breast and begin to suck.

Remember babies breastfeed, they don’t nipple feed. It is important baby takes a good mouthful of your breast not just your nipple. Your midwife is there to guide you.

Your breasts will change after birth as they prepare for feeding your baby. They are soft in the first few days while you produce colostrum. As your milk comes in your breasts will change.

It is important during this time that your baby is offered breastfeeds as often as they demand it. Every baby is different. Your midwife will help you recognise when your baby needs to feed.

How to recognise your baby’s hunger signs

Signs that your baby is ready to feed:

  • hands up to mouth
  • sucking movements
  • soft cooing, sighing sounds
  • head movements and stretching
  • crying is a late sign of hunger – don’t wait until then.

For more information about baby feeding cues (signs)

Ask for help - in hospital

Remember your midwife will be there to help guide you and answer any of your questions.

Ask for help – at home

Call the Breastfeeding Helpline on 1800 mum 2 mum (1800 686 268)

Call the Parent Line on 1300 808 178

Book an appointment with your local Child and Family Health Nurse, call 1300 064 544

This information has been adapted from ‘Maternity Information Package – Your guide to Pregnancy, Birth and Early Parenting’, Tasmanian Health Service, Department of Health, 2017.