Watch babies drinking beautifully

Baby drinks milk beautifully from a generous breast

Notice in this video:

  • The lower half of baby’s is deeply buried in the breast
  • Baby’s nostrils rest lightly on the breast
  • You can’t see baby’s lips
  • Baby’s head is tilted back a little
  • The jaw drops down beautifully
  • Soft ‘k’ sound of swallows

The baby’s jaw drops in a reflex response to being up close to the breast and nipple. The tongue does not act independently but follows the jaw as it drops down and comes up. A vacuum is created inside the baby’s mouth, so that more and more nipple and breast tissue are drawn up into the mouth as the suckling continues, until the little one’s mouth is wide open and full of breast tissue. If we can see the baby’s lips, we known the baby doesn’t have a nice deep face-breast bury, and this may cause problems like nipple pain or fussiness at the breast.

Baby drinks milk beautifully from a delicate breast

This baby is less than a week old but is drinking happily. You will see that although she has delicate breasts, this mother is producing lots of milk. She has been feeding her baby frequently, to cue, since his birth. This tiny one manages high volumes of milk during the letdown very well, because of his excellent positional stability. When babies pull off the breast, it is not typically because they can’t manage the letdown, but because they aren’t stable enough

Baby drinks large volume of milk beautifully from a delicate breast

It’s worthwhile looking at a number of videos of a baby transferring milk efficiently. Not all of a breastfeed goes like this, and some babies take time to get started with the feed. They need pauses at the breast to catch their breath, and we don’t want to hurry them. Some feeds there is lots of milk transfer, in feeds very little. Some feeds are longer, others much shorter. What matters is that you offer the breast frequently and flexibly (perhaps 12 times each breast in a 24-hour period, without looking at the clock!).

Another baby transfers milk beautifully

In this video, the newborn is drinking well. If there had been any problems at all, he could have been snuggled back a few millimetres in the direction of his feet, so that his upper lip was even more buried in and less visible, with less gap between the breast and his nose. Then his jaw would have dropped even deeper with the chin buried into the breast, and even more breast tissue would have been drawn up into his mouth. Notice that the ratio of sucks to swallows is unpredictable and irregular, which is normal. Never worry about counting sucks and swallows!

Growing joy in early life

  • Getting ready to breastfeed
    • Hand expression of breast milk
    • Soften an engorged areola
    • What to look out for if you have pain or baby fusses at breast
    • Why you don’t need to burp or hold baby upright after feeds
  • What are frequent flexible breastfeeds?
    • You can’t overfeed a breastfed baby
  • The way baby fits into your body really matters
    • Fitting you and baby together – no pain, no baby fuss with the gestalt method (2018)
    • The gestalt method ebook 2022
    • The gestalt method 2016 – mini’s
  • Side-lying breastfeeds and other positions 
    • Side-lying breastfeeding (gestalt method)
    • What about the koala or ‘baby-led’ position?
  • Bottle feeds (expressed breast milk or formula)
    • Dealing with good mother/bad mother judgements
    • Paced bottle feeds
    • Frequent flexible bottle feeds
    • My baby won’t take a bottle
  • Baby fascia: tongue and upper lip-ties
    • Tongue and lip ties and frenotomy: discussions with mothers (2018)
  • Breast inflammation
    • Blocked ducts and mastitis
  • Worried that you don’t have enough milk?
    • How to keep baby safe but minimise formula use in the first week of life
  • About pumping
    • A discussion about the benefits and downsides to pumping  
    • Breastfeeding and returning to work
  • When there are breastfeeding challenges 
    • Women share stories of breastfeeding challenges and what helped
    • Identifying fit and hold challenges
    • Women discuss what they wish had been different when they faced breastfeeding problems 
  • Return to paid work
    • My baby won’t take a bottle
    • Breastfeeding and returning to work
  • Podcasts
    • What’s normal for breastfed babies in the first days of life?
    • The baby who fusses at the breast
    • Getting breastfeeding to work in the pandemic
    • Pumping breast milk for your baby 
    • Tongue and lip ties: new science challenges the status quo
    • Surgical correction of tongue-tie 
  • Articles
    • For parents
    • Research publications