The milk drains via ducts into the lactiferous sinuses. Removal from the sinuses is effected by rhythmical pressure exerted by the baby’s tongue. The sinuses are positioned in the area behind the nipple, which explains why the baby has to open his mouth wide to compress the breast, and not the nipple. The baby’s tongue produces waves of compression rather than actual movement.
The majority of common breastfeeding problems can be overcome by a clear understanding of the importance of achieving correct positioning and attachment of the baby to the breast. It enables pain-free and effective feeding with good weight gain and a satisfied, contented baby.
Nipple trauma, pain on feeding, poor weight gain, continued frequent feeding, an unsettled baby, non-infective mastitis and poor milk supply are all linked with less than optimal positioning and attachment.
Positioning and attachment is a vital skill for mothers to acquire and, in a society in which breastfeeding has not been the norm in recent generations, they may need skilled support from healthcare professionals to help them do so.