The Mechanics Of Breastfeeding

How does breastfeeding actually work?

While each mom and baby’s breastfeeding adventure is unique, the way your baby gets food directly from your breast is universal. Here’s how it goes down:

  • When you touch your nipple to your baby’s lips, they will open their mouth and bring their tongue out to scoop up the nipple.
  • With their lips creating a seal against your breast, your baby will begin to squeeze with gums, jaw and cheek muscles.
  • Your baby’s tongue will move from front to back in a wave-like motion, pressing the nipple against the roof of his or her mouth.
    • This undulating motion will make the milk flow from your breast into their mouth and will cause a swallowing reflex.
  • Watch for this pattern: suck, swallow, breathe; suck, swallow, breathe; over and over again.
  • Breathing pauses are 10-60 seconds before the next suck/swallow sequence begins.



Your body needs plenty of nutrition to make breast milk for your baby. Eat healthy foods, drinks lots of fluids including water and 100% fruit juice. Get plenty of rest between breastfeeding. Take care of yourself, both mentally and physically.


Still baffled by the basics of breastfeeding? Looking for more personalized help? Send a message to our healthcare professionals and we’ll share our nursing expertise with you today.

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