Breastfeeding - Once you have had your Baby

Breastfeeding is a skill that takes time to get the hang of. Lots of mums wonder if their baby's feeding well and getting enough - especially in the first few days. But once you've mastered it, you'll probably find it's the easiest and most satisfying way to feed your baby.

Apart from the fact that breast milk is tailor-made for your baby, contains vitamins and minerals and is always available, it also offers protection from certain infections and helps improve your baby's long-term health. Breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), childhood diabetes and leukaemia.

We're here to provide lots of helpful information and advice on breastfeeding. If you have any breastfeeding worries or concerns, the best thing to do is speak to your midwife or health visitor, or join a local breastfeeding support group Hounslow Baby Cafés – supporting parents to feed their baby | About us | NCT or visit Hounslow Family Service Director for more information on local services.

 ​​​​​Bonding with your baby

Communicating and responding to your baby helps build a secure attachment and bond with your baby, from the moment your baby is born and even during pregnancy the interactions you have help to make them feel loved and secure.

Meeting baby for the first time video - Baby Friendly Initiative (

The Importance of relationship building video - Baby Friendly Initiative (

Breastfeeding and relationships in the early days video - Baby Friendly Initiative (

Breastfeeding – Positioning and Attachment

How to Breastfeed

Stage 1 - Latching

Latching on is how your baby attaches to your breast to feed. Lots of people assume that this comes naturally, but in reality it's more of a skill that you and your baby need to learn together. Good attachment also helps prevent sore and cracked nipples so it's important to get it right.

If possible, try to feed your baby when you are both relaxed and comfortable. Your baby will let you know they are hungry by doing things like:

  • sucking their fists
  • licking their lips
  • wriggling and opening their mouths, as if they're searching for your breast


Encourage your baby to feed fully from each breast, this will help them get the fattier milk that comes towards the end of the feed.

Step-by-step guide to latching on

This guide shows you how to latch your baby onto your breast:

  1. Hold your baby's whole body close with their nose level with your nipple.

2. Let your baby's head tip back a little so that their top lip can brush against your nipple. This should help your baby to make a wide, open mouth.

3. When your baby's mouth opens wide, their chin should be able to touch your breast first, with their head tipped back so that their tongue can reach as much breast as possible.

4. With your baby's chin firmly touching your breast and their nose clear, their mouth should be wide open. You should see much more of the darker nipple skin above your baby's top lip than below their bottom lip. Your baby's cheeks will look full and rounded as they feed.

Here is a great video on positioning and attachment - Positioning and attachment video - Baby Friendly Initiativ (

Frequency of Feeds

Your newborn will want to breastfeed frequently throughout the day and night. It might seem as though you're feeding them all the time, but this is totally normal. As they get better (and more efficient) at feeding, they'll need to do it less often. Let your baby guide you as to how often and how long they should feed.

Do not worry about feeding your baby too often – it's impossible to breastfeed your baby too much. Newborns tend to breastfeed at least 8 times a day (24 hours) for the first few weeks. And your baby may want to feed more and for longer at night – that's because this is when you produce more prolactin (the hormone that produces milk).

When your baby is hungry they may:

get restless

suck their fist or fingers

make murmuring sounds

turn their head and open their mouth (rooting)

It's best to try and feed your baby during these early feeding cues as a crying baby is difficult to feed.

Breastfeeding positions 

Before you breastfeed your baby, have a drink beside you – something thirst quenching like a big glass of water. There are a few different breastfeeding positions you can try, these are 3 of the most popular: 








Cradle Hold 

This is the probably the most popular breastfeeding position. However, if you've had a caesarean, this may be uncomfortable as your baby lies across your tummy near the scar (try lying on your side or the rugby hold instead). For the cradle hold, sit in a comfy chair with arm rests, or a bed with cushions or pillows around you. 

  1. Lie your baby across your lap, facing you. 

  2. Place your baby's head on your forearm – nose towards your nipple. Your hand should support the length of their body. 

  3. Place your baby's lower arm under yours. 

  4. Check to make sure your baby's ear, shoulder and hip are in a straight line. 

Here is a top tip… 

If you're sitting on a chair, rest your feet on a stool or small table – this will stop you from leaning forward which can make your back ache. 

Lying on your side 

This is a good position if you've had a caesarean or difficult delivery, or if you're breastfeeding in the middle of the night. 

  1. Start by getting comfy lying on your side. Your baby lies facing you, so you are tummy to tummy. Check to make sure your baby's ear, shoulder and hip are in a straight line – not twisted. 

  2. Put some cushions or pillows behind you for support. A rolled up baby blanket placed behind your baby will help support them - remember to remove it after you have finished feeding. If you've got a pillow under your head, make sure it's not too close to your baby's head or face. 

  3. Tuck the arm you're lying on under your head or pillow (ensuring your baby's position isn't altered by the pillow) and use your free arm to support and guide your baby's head to your breast. 

Laid-back nursing 

Laid-back breastfeeding, also known as "biological nursing", is when you lie back in a comfortable semi-reclined position on a comfy sofa or bed. If you have had a caesarean section (c-section), your baby can lie across you and away from your incision. 

  1. Lean back (but not flat) on a sofa or bed. 

  2. Prop yourself up with cushions or pillows so your back, shoulders and neck feel supported. 

  3. When you are comfortable, place your baby on your front. Their tummy should be resting on your tummy – but if this is uncomfortable, lie them to one side. 

  4. Make sure you are upright enough to look into your baby's eyes 

  5. While supporting your baby, gently guide your baby to your nipple. For more information, have a look at this video on laid back nursing.

Rugby hold (or the ‘clutch’) 

The rugby hold is a good position for twins as you can feed them at the same time, as well as caesarean babies as there's no pressure on the tummy and scar area. 

  1. Sit in a chair with a cushion or pillow along your side. 

  2. Position your baby at your side (the side you want to feed from), under your arm, with their hips close to your hips. 

  3. Your baby's nose should be level with your nipple. 

  4. Support your baby's neck with the palm of your hand. 

  5. Gently guide them to your nipple. 

Further help 

Have a look at this video on breastfeeding positions for more help and guidance. 


Burping your baby 

Winding, or burping your baby, is an important part of feeding. When your baby swallows, air bubbles can become trapped in their tummy and cause a lot of discomfort. Some babies find it easy to burp, while others need a helping hand. 

When should I burp my baby? 

There are no rules on when you should burp your baby, some babies need burping during their feed, some after. Look for clues – if your baby seems uncomfortable while feeding, have a little burping break. If they seem fine while feeding, wait until they've finished. Your baby will let you know! 

Did you know? 

Your baby may bring some milk up while burping, so have a burp cloth or muslin square ready (this is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about). 

What's the best position to burp my baby? 

Support your baby's head and neck, make sure their tummy and back is nice and straight (not curled up), and rub or pat their back gently. You don't need to spend ages burping your baby, a couple of minutes should be enough. 

There are a few ways to burp your baby. Try them all out and see which works best – or use a combination: 

Over your shoulder 

With your baby's chin resting on your shoulder, support the head and shoulder area with one hand, and gently rub and pat your baby's back. It might help to walk around as you are doing this. 


Sitting on your lap 

Sit your baby on your lap facing away from you. Place the palm of your hand flat against their chest and support their chin and jaw (don't put any pressure on the throat area). Lean your baby forwards slightly and with your free hand, gently rub or pat your baby's back. 


Lying across your lap 

Lie your baby across your lap face down. Supporting their chin (don't put any pressure on the throat area), use your free hand to gently rub or pat your baby's back. 

What if my baby won't burp? 

If these methods don't work and your baby shows signs of trapped wind (crying, arched back, drawing legs into tummy, clenched fists), try lying them on their back and gently massaging their tummy. Also move your baby's legs back and forth – like they're riding a bicycle. If this doesn't work, talk to your health visitor, they'll be able to advise you on the best thing to do. 

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