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Breastfeeding Latch

baby breastfeeding

Latching is a critical component to breastfeeding. If your baby is not properly latched on to your breast, feedings could be painful.  There are specific techniques when latching your baby to your breast.

The following techniques plus proper positioning can help ensure a good latch:

  • A comfortable chair with great back support to feed your baby. Using a stool to rest your feet on will help with good posture and prevent you from straining your neck and shoulders.

  • Use your breastfeeding support pillow if you have one or any pillows you need to help support you and baby.

  • Make sure your baby is tummy-to-tummy with you at all times.

  • Make sure you bring your baby to you.  You do not want to lean into the baby so that you may avoid strain to your back neck and shoulders.

  • You might need to hold your breast to help guide the nipple to your baby’s mouth. Grasp the breast on the sides and make sure to keep fingers away from the nipple so you are not interfering with how your baby is trying to latch on.

  • The baby’s head should be tilted slightly back. You do not want his chin to his chest.

  • When he opens his mouth wide with the chin dropped and tongue down, he should latch on to the nipple. If he does not open wide, do not try to shove the nipple in. It is better to move back and tickle the lip again with the nipple and wait for a wide open mouth.

  • Try to get as much of the areola (the area around the nipple) in the baby’s mouth.

Signs Of A Good Latch

  • Tongue is seen when the bottom lip is pulled down

  • Ears wiggle

  • There is a circular movement of the jaw rather than rapid chin movement

  • Cheeks are rounded

  • You do not hear clicking or smacking noises

  • You can hear swallowing

  • Chin is touching your breast

  • When your baby comes off the breast, the nipple is not flattened or misshaped

  • Any discomfort ends quickly after getting the baby latched on

  • Your baby ends the feeding with signs of satiety/satisfaction. These signs include: the baby looks relaxed, “falls” off the breast, has open hands, and/or falls asleep.


While you are in the hospital, a breastfeeding consultant should stop by and be able to answer questions about latching and help you if your baby seems to be having difficulty.  However, sometimes these issues appear after you have gone home. If you need assistance, contact your baby’s doctor or call a lactation consultant.  

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