Breastfeeding jargon explained! - Little Lullaby
Little Lullaby

Breastfeeding jargon explained!

Little Lullaby
Little Lullaby

As new parents, (especially as a new mum), you may have heard a lot of breastfeeding jargon that you haven’t heard before. From mastitis to cluster feeding, we’ve put together a guide of common breastfeeding terms you will most likely hear if you breastfeed your baby.

Cluster feeding

Cluster feeding is when your baby feeds very often or in some cases, continuously for a few hours. A common concern for mums when this happens is a decrease in your milk supply, but don’t worry, cluster feeding can be linked to growth spurts.[1]


Colostrum is the first milk your breasts produce during pregnancy. It contains a mixture of proteins and vitamins that helps protect your newborn baby against infection outside the womb. It’s yellow and creamy and often referred to as ‘liquid gold’.


This is when your breasts swell and feel very full, heavy and hard as your milk ‘comes in’. The swelling tends to affect both breasts at the same time but don’t panic, they will settle.

Feeding on demand

Breastfeeding your baby on demand simply means feeding your baby whenever they show you they are hungry. Common signs that your baby is hungry include:

  • Sticking out their tongue
  • Licking their lips
  • Sucking on their hands
  • Rooting around
  • Crying

Latching on

Latching on is the way your baby takes your nipple in their mouth to feed. If your baby latches on well, they will be able to feed better and it will also be less painful for you, which is a plus!

Remember, breastfeeding is something that you and your baby need to learn together and it may take you both a while to get the hang of it. If you’re struggling to breastfeed or have any questions, don’t be scared to ask your midwife or health visitor.[1]

There are also breastfeeding groups and cafes that can also offer help. Find out more about finding breastfeeding support here.


Sometimes your milk ducts get blocked and if they’re not cleared it can cause very painful inflammation of your breast tissue. Signs of mastitis may include flu like symptoms as well as a hot, lumpy and painful breast. If you think you might have mastitis, we advise that you see your GP or a health professional. [3]


Tongue-tie is where the skin connecting your baby’s tongue to the floor of their mouth is shorter than usual. The condition is also known as ankyloglossia and, according to the NHS, it can affect between 4-11% of newborn babies. [4]

Your baby may have tongue-tie if they:

  • find it difficult to latch or stay latched on
  • feed for a long time, take a short break and then feed again
  • seem unsettled or hungry all the time
  • don’t gain weight as quickly as they should
  • make a ‘clicking’ sound as they feed

Tongue-tie can sometimes cause problems for some breastfeeding mums too, including:

  • sore or cracked nipples
  • low milk supply
  • mastitis

Research shows that breastfeeding can reduce the risk of SIDS by up to 50%. Find out more about how breastfeeding your baby can reduce the risk of SIDS.

You can also read stories and watch vlogs from other breastfeeding mums for experiences, tips and advice, here.