Skin to skin and latching

Skin-to-skin contact encourages both breastfeeding and bonding in baby’s first days​

  • Relax in a comfortable position and lay baby on your bare chest in the first hour for skin-to-skin contact if possible.​

  • Cover baby with blanket to keep warm​.

  • Make eye contact, talk, sing and enjoy your time together​.

  • It can be discouraging if your baby doesn’t latch immediately, give them time, they are learning too.​

  • Continue skin-to-skin contact during your hospital stay and when you get back home. The more time you spend in skin-to-skin contact, the easier it will be for your baby to find the nipple and latch-on. Babies learn to breast/chestfeed by being at the breast or chest.

Learning to latch takes time

  • Place your hand under your breast.

  • Use your nipple to tickle baby’s nose and lips.

  • Aim your nipple just above your baby’s top lip​.

  • Baby should lean into the breast/chest chin first and then latch onto your breast/chest.

  • Baby's mouth should be wide and take in some or all of the areola (the darker area around your nipple), and not just take in the nipple.

  • Listening for swallowing sounds can be helpful, but they are not always heard. Look for swallowing movements in your baby’s chin. 

  • If you feel pain, break the suction with your finger and start over​.

Visit Droplets for information and watch videos on feeding your baby in the first hour, latching, hand expression, hands-on pumping, and maximizing milk supply.

Visit the Institute for the Advancement of Breastfeeding & Lactation Education for videos on paced bottle-feeding, asymmetrical latch/sandwich hold, fitting breast pump flanges, cup feeding, and finger feeding.

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