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Sore nipples, positioning and attachment techniques factsheet

Breastfeeding is a skill that both mother and baby need to learn. It is worth getting advice in the early days to ensure the latch is correct. If the latch is not quite right, it can cause soreness for a new mother.

Before a feed, make sure you are comfortable. Get all your things around you that you may need: phone, remote control, book and a drink for example, and try to relax. Experiment with different feeding positions to find which ones work best for you.

Make sure your baby’s nose is in line with your breast, and when he opens his mouth wide, bring him to your breast. His chin should touch the breast first and once latched on, you shouldn’t be able to see much of the nipple below the bottom lip.His nose should be clear so he can breathe properly. This can take some practice so don’t be disheartened if at first it isn’t effortless. If it doesn’t feel right, you can put a clean finger in your baby’s mouth to break the seal and try again.

A sign that your baby may not be latching on correctly is sore nipples. Talk to your midwife or lactation consultant if this is the case as they will be able to advise you on how to improve things.

Other signs include a fidgety baby, or a baby who goes to sleep soon after the beginning of a feed. If, after a feed, your nipple is squashed, this may also be because your baby is not latched on correctly during the feed.

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