BE03: Positioning and Latch of the Breastfeeding Infant

In this course you will learn about the specific anatomy of suckling and the infant's innate reflexes that facilitate breastfeeding. The physics of sucking and milk transfer will also be studied. Being aware of the principles of positioning and latch will allow you to apply this knowledge to any situation and be proficient at assessing a breastfeed for effectiveness.

Access Time:
1 month (starting from time of purchase)
Enrolling in more than 1 course? Time is cumulative ie buy 2 courses, have 2 months access to both courses
IBCLC: 12 L CERPs or 12 pre-exam education hours
12 CH
This course is tutored by an experienced Lactation Consultant

Well-constructed online learning gives you the best of both worlds - quality content that you can work through at your own pace, in your own place, but with a level of personal attention that even rivals face-to-face programs. And, you guessed it, Health e-Learning programs are the BEST of online learning with all these great features:

  • Log in when it suits you 24/7/365
  • Study at your own pace within your enrolment period
    • no formal deadlines, stressful exams or assignments
  • All reading provided or linked
  • Periodic testing of knowledge with fun self test activities
  • Course facilitation by highly experienced IBCLC tutor
  • Gain valuable support and network with students from all over the world
  • Immediate feedback for final online assessment
    • certificate of completion issued immediately
  • Administrative and technical support available online


  • A good understanding of anatomy and physiology of the lactating breast. Completion of BE02 Anatomy and Physiology of the Lactating Breast would be appropriate.
  • An understanding of oral anatomy is recommended: the bones, muscles and nerves of the face and mouth. A quality anatomy and physiology textbook would support your knowledge.
  • Good observational skills
  • The ability to listen to what the mother is saying, then apply evidence-based theory to the practical siuation.
  • A Mentor: This course will help you to learn the theory of good positioning and latch and give you practical tips. However, it is essential that you observe a competent practitioner assisting a mother to breastfeed, and have that person observe your skills.


  1. Introduction
  2. Relevant anatomy for breastfeeding
    • Breast Anatomy
    • Infant Cranial Anatomy
  3. Sharing the Skills
    • The Breastfeeding Environment
    • Good Positioning
    • Good Latch
  4. Milk Transfer
    • Milk Ejection Reflex
    • Physics of Sucking
    • Factors affecting milk transfer: Baby
    • Factors affecting milk transfer: Mother
  5. Breastfeeding Consultation
    • Observation and Assessment
    • Breastfeeding Assessment Tools
    • Breastfeeding Consultation
  6. Problems of Latch and Suck


An active forum, where topical issues may be raised, case studies discussed, questions posed and answered, links to additional information provided, etc, is facilitated by an experienced Lactation Consultant and is an integral part of the course. Reading this forum and contributing to it will enhance your learning and that of your colleagues.

Reading Material

  • All required reading materials and resources are available online.
    • A quality, current lactation text is advisable to augment your studies. Please see our list of recommended resources for further information.
  • Participants are permitted to print one copy of their course for personal use only.
    • If you do wish to print, please be aware that some courses are over 60 pages in length. Please be advised that links to articles and interactive activities are not available in the printed version.

Quality Assurance

  • Primary Author: Denise Fisher, MMP, BN, IBCLC; Co-author: Bridget Ingle, RN, IBCLC
  • Reviewed by: Barbara Ash IBCLC Trudi Szallasi IBCLC
  • Courses are reviewed annually as well as being updated as new information becomes known.


The aim of this course is for you to learn the principals of good positioning that facilitate effective latch and milk transfer avoiding preventable breastfeeding problems.


On successful completion of this course you will be able to

  • Describe the features of the lactating breast that facilitate and enhance milk transfer.
  • List the cranial bones, cranial nerves and facial muscles of the infant relevant to breastfeeding.
  • Describe the neurobehavior of the newborn infant that leads to breastfeeding.
  • State the most important clinical practice that should be implemented immediately following birth.
  • Describe the maternal position that best facilitates breastfeeding.
  • Define the principles of infant positioning that facilitates breastfeeding.
  • List the sequence of actions that lead to correct latch.
  • Describe the placement of the breast teat in relation to the infant's tongue and oral cavity.
  • List the individual roles of the mother and the baby in milk transfer.
  • Describe the neurohormonal sequence of the milk ejection reflex.
  • Describe the sequence of events in the suck cycle.
  • List 10 infant causes of poor latch and 10 causes of un-coordinated suck and how to recognize them.
  • Describe maternal reasons causing poor milk transfer in terms of maternal anatomy and milk ejection.
  • Describe 3 observational stages employed during a breastfeeding consultation.
  • Demonstrate to a mentor how to teach a mother to position and latch her baby correctly herself
  • Recognise when and why problems of latching and suck are occurring and describe the process


Achievement of the learning objectives is assessed by automatically graded, online, multiple-choice questions. A passing grade is 85%.

A Workbook, downloaded from the course, is not required to be submitted, but completion will aid learning and provide an excellent resource.

On successfully completing this course you will be able to download, save and print your Certificate of Completion. Your Certificate will note ongoing education accreditation points.


On successful completion of this course you will be awarded:

  • 12 L CERPs*
  • 12 CHs*
*Please see our Accreditation table for the most up-to-date accreditation numbers

For IBLCE examination preparation this course provides 12 pre-exam education hours.

Do we offer CEUs? Need other types of accreditation? Please see our Accreditation FAQ for more information.


  1. This course is facilitated by an experienced International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.
  2. The course is available as a one month subscription commencing on the day of notification to you of your username and password.
  3. The subscription time is cumulative - for example, if you purchase 8 courses - you receive 8 months access to all 8 courses.
  4. The subscription time may be extended by purchasing extensions, but must be purchased before the subscription expiry date.
  5. The average time taken to complete this course and the assessment is 12 hours.
  6. On successful completion your Certificate will be available to you in pdf format from the course website.
  7. Replacement certificates can be obtained for a fee, however we maintain an official transcript that is available free for all customers to download at any time.

Fees and Payments

  • Enrollments are accepted online, or upon receipt of a faxed or mailed enrollment form (available on request).
  • Payments online are available using either PayPal or WorldPay gateways.
  • The cost is US$135.00 per course.
  • Additional fees, that are out of our control, may be charged by your bank to convert this to your local currency.
  • Please see our Payments FAQ for more information.

Refunds and Privacy

Please see our Terms and Conditions for more information regarding refunds and our Privacy Policy is also available.