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How to Get a Good Latch When Breastfeeding: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Get a Good Latch When Breastfeeding: A Step-by-Step Guide

breastfeeding Apr 24, 2024

Breastfeeding can be a beautiful and rewarding experience for both mother and baby, but it's not always easy, especially in the beginning. One of the most common challenges new moms face is achieving a proper, deep latch. A shallow or incorrect latch can lead to sore nipples, low milk supply, and frustration for both you and your little one. In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through the steps to get a deep, comfortable latch every time.

Why is a Deep Latch Important?

A deep latch is crucial for effective breastfeeding because it allows your baby to take in a good mouthful of breast tissue, including the areola and nipple. When your baby latches deeply, they can compress the milk ducts more effectively, promoting better milk flow and transfer. Additionally, a deep latch minimizes nipple trauma, reducing the risk of cracked, bleeding, or painfully sore nipples.

Step 1: Get Comfortable

Before attempting to latch your baby, find a comfortable position for both of you. You can try the cradle hold, cross-cradle hold, or laid-back position, whichever feels most natural. Use pillows to support your baby at breast level, eliminating the need to strain your neck or back.

Step 2: Prepare for Latching

Gently massage your breast to encourage milk flow and express a few drops of colostrum or milk onto your nipple. This will entice your baby's interest and make it easier for them to latch on. Additionally, ensure your baby's mouth is wide open before attempting to latch – you can tickle their upper lip with your nipple to encourage this.

Step 3: Position Your Baby

Once your baby's mouth is wide open, bring them toward your breast with their nose level with your nipple. Ensure their head is tilted back slightly, allowing them to take in a good portion of the areola, not just the nipple.

Step 4: Aim for the Upper Lip

As your baby's mouth opens wide, aim your nipple towards its upper lip, allowing the lower jaw and tongue to drop below the nipple. This will encourage a deep, asymmetric latch, with your nipple pointing towards the roof of your baby's mouth.

Step 5: Wait for the Wide-Open Mouth

Resist the urge to push your nipple into your baby's mouth. Instead, wait patiently for them to open their mouth wide, like a yawn. When their mouth is open as wide as possible, quickly bring them towards your breast, allowing them to take in a generous portion of the areola.

Step 6: Check for Signs of a Deep Latch

Once your baby has latched, look for the following signs of a deep, proper latch:

  • Their chin is pressed into your breast
  • Their lips are flanged outwards
  • You can see more of the areola above their top lip than below their bottom lip
  • Their cheeks look full and rounded, not sucked in
  • You hear swallowing sounds

If you experience pain or see signs of a shallow latch, gently break the suction with your finger and try again.

With patience and practice, you and your baby will soon master the deep latch, ensuring a comfortable and rewarding breastfeeding experience for both of you.

If you are struggling with pain while breastfeeding or have concerns over milk supply, reach out to a lactation counselor for support. 

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Hey mama,

I'm Brooke Miller,

Before becoming a mom, I chronically dieted & thought "eat less, move more" was the healthiest option. I dealt with exhaustion, mood swings, hormone imbalances (not getting a regular cycle), high cholesterol and weight cycling. I felt like something was wrong with me.

Before I got pregnant with my first son, I discovered the balanced nutrition approach I teach inside The Postpartum Shift. Once I implemented the framework, I was energized, gained strength, got my period back, lowered my cholesterol & maintained my healthiest weight. I continued this during my pregnancies & postpartum periods and recovered quickly after birth, made more than enough milk for my babies, had energy (even with the sleep deprivation) & stable mood. Postpartum was really enjoyable.

With a decade of experience as a Registered Dietitian and Certified Lactation Counselor, I created The Postpartum Shift to help moms boost energy, mood, metabolism & milk supply to have a stress-free & enjoyable postpartum experience.

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