Breastfeeding Latch

When your baby is positioned well at your breast it’s much easier to achieve a good breastfeeding latch. Breastfeeding is an art that is slowly perfected over time. In the beginning many mothers feel the effort of mastering the breastfeeding latch. As you and your baby get to know each other you will feel more comfortable and acquire your own techniques and nursing style.

The most common reason for sore nipples in the breastfeeding mother is a problematic latch.

Mother’s position

Back and arms supported and lap flat. Support your breast with fingers placed against your chest wall and thumb pointing up

Baby’s position

On a pillow or your lap with your nipple pointing to your baby’s upper lip or nostril

Baby’s body

Well supported and held chest-to-chest at level with your breast.

Ears, shoulder, and hips aligned, body slightly flexed.

Baby comes up to breast from below and resting against you so you can make eye contact with each other

Latching On

Move baby quickly on to your breast.

Use your forearm to bring your baby’s bottom snug against you with his body and legs wrapped around you.

Scoop baby in from his shoulders so his chin and lower jaw make first contact with your breast, supporting his head without pushing it and allowing his head to tilt back slightly.

Use your whole arm to bring the baby onto the breast, when mouth wide.

Chin and lower jaw touch breast first.

Your nipple should point towards the roof of your baby's mouth.

Baby’s Mouth

To achieve a good breastfeeding latch, your baby needs to open wide to take your breast deeply into his mouth.

Baby should be positioned below the center of your breast.

Teach your baby to gape (open mouth wide) by lightly touching your nipple, on his mouth, along his upper lip from one corner of the mouth to the other. Wait for your baby to open up VERY wide. touch top lip against nipple again, move away again. Repeat until he opens wide and has tongue forward

Aim baby’s lower lip far from your nipple to allow him to draw in a mouthful of breast.

His chin should touch your breast first when you bring him to your breast. Your nipple should still be pointing to the roof of his mouth. When the baby opens up his mouth, use the arm that is holding him to bring him straight onto the breast. Pull baby in close so his chin is pressed into your breast.

Signs of a Good Breastfeeding Latch

When your baby is properly latched, his upper lip should be close to your nipple, covering more of the areola with his lower lip than with the upper lip. Baby’s lips should be flanged out, relaxed, and open wide at a large angle of over 150 degrees.

Baby’s chin should be close against your breast.

You hear baby swallowing milk. Long drawing high-flow sucking (after your milk comes in). Swallowing can be heard after 3-4 sucks and you may feel a tingling or a tugging, yet pain-free, feeling as milk lets down.

There is no "normal" length of feeding time. Let your baby finish nursing on one side. Observe your baby’s active sucking and wait for signs that your baby has finished eating. Babies either fall asleep or come off of the breast on their own when they are finished. Some babies nurse longer and some shorter however the average time is a total of 20-30 minutes.

If you decide to take your baby off of your breast for any reason, first break the suction of the breastfeeding latch, by inserting your finger into the corner of your baby's mouth, to prevent injury to the sensitive breast tissue.

breastfeeding latch and relief from engorgement