Baby Led Attachment – The Big Benefits And How To Do It

Baby Led Attachment – The Big Benefits And How To Do It

Baby led attachment is where your baby uses her instincts to find your breasts, attach, and start feeding.

Baby led attachment gives your baby the most natural start possible to breastfeeding, and helps lay down the foundation for breastfeeding.

A baby who has had many opportunities, particularly in the early weeks, to do baby led attachment, quickly becomes orientated to breastfeeding.

This can make breastfeeding easier for both you and your baby, no matter which position you use to breastfeed.

If baby led attachment is done often, especially in the early weeks, it can reduce the likelihood of sore nipples and other attachment problems.

Ideally, baby led attachment occurs soon after your baby is born, when she is placed skin-to-skin on your chest. This helps get breastfeeding off to the best possible start. Skin-to-skin contact between you and your baby encourages your baby to use her instincts to seek your breasts.

Skin-to-skin contact also helps your baby regulate her heart and breathing rates, blood sugar levels, and temperature, and it also helps you learn to recognise her feeding cues.

Sometimes, birth interventions can dampen your baby’s instincts to find your breasts, and occasionally a mother and her baby might be separated after birth, for medical reasons.

The good news is your baby’s instincts to find your breast don’t disappear soon after birth. In fact, they are easily reproducible for at least the first few months.

How To Do Baby Led Attachment

#1: Start when your baby is calm. When she is calm, she can follow her natural instincts more easily. For example, you might start when she is showing early feeding cues, when she is in the light phase of sleep, or just as she wakes up.

#2: Find a comfortable position. Many mothers find a semi-reclined position, with pillows behind for support, works well.

#3: Place your baby on your chest, facing you, between your breasts, with her head just above your breasts. Have as much skin-to-skin contact between you and your baby as possible.

#4: As your baby instinctively moves towards a breast, she will start to lift and bob her head around.

#5: As she moves towards a breast, allow her to lead the way. You might find it helps to hug her bottom in close to you, and to support her neck and shoulders with your hand and wrist. Avoid putting pressure on her head. She needs it free, so she can move it instinctively into an extended position, to help her attach and feed well.

#6: When she gets close to your nipple, she might nuzzle around to find it and start to lick.

#7: When she finds the right position, she will dig her chin in, open her mouth wide, attach, and begin sucking.

Sounds amazing doesn’t it? So why don’t you give it a go? You won’t regret it.

Reference: Colson S 2010, An Introduction to Biological Nurturing, Texas: Hale Publishing

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Renee Kam is a mother of two daughters, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), a physiotherapist, author of 'The Newborn Baby Manual' and an Australian Breastfeeding Association Counsellor. In her spare time, Renee enjoys spending time with family and friends, horse riding, running and reading.

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