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Ages & Stages

A Breastfeeding Checklist: Are You Nursing Correctly?

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Congratulations on your new baby and your decision to breastfeed! Use this checklist to help ensure that nursing is productive and comfortable for you and your baby.

7 signs of correct nursing

  • Your baby's mouth is open wide with lips turned out.

  • Their chin is resting against the breast.

  • They have taken as much of the areola as possible into their mouth.

  • Their mouth is slightly off-center, with more of the areola visible by their upper lip and less by their lower lip.

  • They are suckling rhythmically and deeply, in short bursts separated by pauses.

  • You can hear them swallowing regularly.

  • Your nipple is comfortable after the first few suckles.

Signs of incorrect nursing

  • Your baby's head is not in line with their body.

  • They are sucking on the nipple only, instead of suckling on the
    areola with the nipple far back in their mouth.

  • They are sucking in a light, quick, fluttery manner rather than taking deep, regular sucks.

  • Their cheeks are puckered inward or you hear clicking noises.

  • You don't hear them swallowing regularly, especially after your milk production has increased.

  • You experience pain throughout the feed or have signs of nipple damage (such as cracking or bleeding).


Don't hesitate to talk with your baby's pediatrician if you have any questions about feeding your baby.

More information

Last Updated
American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Breastfeeding (Copyright © 2023​)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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