Breastfeeding,  Infant and Toddler Nutrition,  Newborn Phase,  Pregnancy

Getting a Proper Latch

                If you have read my blog before, you already know that I have a passion for all things breastfeeding and babies! My goal through this information is for you to have a comfortable and meaningful journey with breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is a sensation like no other, and can take some getting used to for a first-timer. You may feel some discomfort at first, because it is new for you, but it should not be painful. If you feel pinching, chomping, or burning it is best to make a visit to a trained Lactation Consultant for an in-person evaluation. Before any thoughts of quitting enter your mind, understand that the first month of breastfeeding (along with being a new Mom) is the hardest. Your hard work WILL pay off, and every day will get easier.

                Getting a proper latch will ensure that your breastfeeding experience is both comfortable and effective. Your body will continue to make more milk as long as your breast empties with each feeding, and to effectively remove the milk your baby needs to have a good latch. If baby is only taking milk from the nipple, he is not effectively transferring milk, and will not continue to gain weight.

Below is a guideline for achieving a proper latch:

  • Before you get started have a supportive place to sit, sit up straight
  • Hold baby by putting the palm of your hand between baby’s shoulder blades, and supporting his head with your fingers. Do not push on baby’s head, as he will react by pushing back
Bring Baby Up and In to Breast with Palm of Hand
  • Belly to belly-put baby’s belly directly against yours
  • Line up your nipple between baby’s top lip and nose
  • With your opposite hand, place your thumb and forefinger about 1/2 to 1” behind your areola, and compress to form a “sandwich” out of your breast
Correct Hand Placement
Incorrect Hand Placement
  • Stroke your nipple from baby’s nose to chin to entice baby to open his mouth
  • Once baby opens his mouth nice and wide, take your supporting palm and push baby into your breast, chin first. This process is a split second, so you will need to be quick. Always be sure to bring baby to breast, not breast to baby

Once baby has established getting a good latch over and over this will become much easier, and he will know that he needs a good latch for more milk.

Baby should have:

  • Flanged (outward) lips
  • Wide mouth
  • Nose free
  • Chin at breast
  • Most, if not all, of areola in mouth
  • Deep, rhythmic pull with consistent sucking
  • Audible swallowing

Mom should have :

  • Back straight, and not hunched over
  • No pain on nipple
  • No creasing to nipple after feeding

Once baby has finished feeding, your nipple should be round and extended, not creased or compressed. You should not feel any type of pain or pinching (If your nipples are cracked or blistered you may feel pain until this area heals). If you are following the steps above, and still struggling, it is best to make an appointment with a lactation consultant. Do not struggle alone when there is access to good help that will make breastfeeding much easier for you. Breastfeeding should be a special time for you and your baby, not something you dread doing every couple hours.

For more information, check out this video on proper latching. And, if you’re looking for fabulous breastfeeding supplies to make feedings easier, check out my blog on my favorite feeding products here!

Welcome! I’m Brittany. I’m a mom of two toddlers living in Northwest Ohio with my husband, Chris, and our two cats, Simon and Oliver. I’m a labor and delivery nurse, and an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant. I love finding new ways that make parenting easier, while providing a fun learning atmosphere for my girls at the same time. In my blog you will find tips and tricks for dealing with pregnancy, labor, and parenthood. My favorite part about being a nurse (besides getting to welcome little miracles into the world, obviously) is being able to educate new Moms (and Dads) on how to care for their little ones at the very start. Parenthood is such a complex and exhausting journey that we need to have support from others who make us feel like we’re not alone. You are not alone here!

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