Breastfeeding isn’t always an easy journey. In fact, more often than not, it takes a lot of practice and patience as both Mum and baby get to know each other in the newborn days. Getting a good attachment is one of the key factors in successful long-term breastfeeding.
Hannah Willsmore is a registered/endorsed Midwife, Lactation Consultant and award-winning Hypnobirthing Australian Practitioner/ Childbirth Educator based in Adelaide, South Australia. Hannah works with driven, ambitious women who are ready to take charge of their pregnancy, birth and postnatal journey so that they can give themselves and their baby the best start to life.
Hannah explains that getting a good attachment is one of the key factors in successful breastfeeding and is sharing the two main attachment styles she recommends to her clients.
How to get a good attachment when breastfeeding
Getting a good attachment is one of the key factors in successful breastfeeding.
Poor attachment can lead to many issues including nipple pain/damage, low supply and fussing at the breast. When your baby is breastfeeding, we want them to have a large mouthful of breast tissue in their mouth – remember we call it breast-feeding not nipple feeding. When this happens, baby is able to get a good seal on the breast which in turn helps to create a vacuum to draw the milk out.
The two main attachment styles
There are two main attachment styles – baby-led or biological attachment, or hands on attachment with shaping of the breast. I recommend clients try both and see what works best.
Baby led attachment
Baby led attachment where you are lying slightly reclined with your bub on your chest. Their mouth should be directly on top of your nipple. Your baby will then bob around and do a sort of ‘breast crawl’ to find the nipple and latch on to feed. Skin to skin is also beneficial to help trigger your baby’s innate feeding reflexes. This position is often more comfortable for mums, and means that gravity helps to hold their baby in close.
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Some mums prefer the cross cradle hold with ‘shaping’ of the breast to assist their baby to attach – but always remember to hug your baby to your breast when their mouth is open wide, not bring your breast to your baby.
I know it can sometimes be tricky perfecting a great attachment but trust me it is worth it! Correct attachment is my number one goal with mums as it is crucial to successful breastfeeding. If you are experiencing nipple pain or damage, low milk supply or your baby seems to be fussing or distressed at the breast please reach out – I would love to help you.
If you’re noticing any ‘red ‘flags’ such as pain that continues or worsens throughout a feed, bleeding/damaged nipples, nipples that look squashed or misshapen after a feed, or there are concerns around low supply/slow weight gain in baby please reach out to an IBCLC for support.
As an Endorsed Midwife and Lactation Consultant I am trained to provide care to both you and your baby – my care has a holistic focus, however I am trained to provide prescriptions for medications and order blood tests if required. I work with women from preconception right through to their breastfeeding journey. I have completed 90 hours of lactation and breastfeeding specific education, and am certified as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.
Breastfeeding may be natural, but it isn’t always easy – so please don’t hesitate to reach out if you would like any support!
Registered/Endorsed Midwife, IBCLC + Hypnobirthing Australia Practitioner.