Latching

LATCHING IS THE WAY IN WHICH THE BABY ATTACHES TO YOUR BREAST TO FEED.

This is the biggest battle in nursing.  If you get it right, you're all set. If you don't, you've got some work to do, but it'll be worth it!

LET'S TALK ABOUT WHAT A GOOD LATCH LOOKS & FEELS LIKE.

A good latch looks like:

  • A wide mouth and splayed lips
  • Free range of movement of the lower jaw
  • Free range of movement of the head
  • The majority of the areola (dark part of the breast around the nipple) inside the mouth

The nipple should be pulled way into the back of your baby's mouth, so it sits on the soft palate part of the mouth. 

Tips & tricks

#1 Squash it in

Sandwich your breast with your hand to make easier for the baby to take a large amount into their mouth.

#2 Make space

Check your baby has space to move their bottom jaw, which will move up and down visibly when nursing correctly.

#3 Check yourself out

Have a quick look at the shape and colour of your nipple when your baby comes off.  If it's flattened, misshapen or white, you need work with your bub on getting a better latch.

#4 Express a bit

Removing some milk from over-full boobs before you nurse will make them softer and easier to attach to.

#5 Check for tongue-tie

And check again. Tongue-tie is when the thin piece of skin under a baby's tongue is too short. It's often missed by healthcare staff at birth, and can make a good latch impossible. Many mothers have suffered for months before a new set of eyes finally diagnoses her baby. Tongue-tie is usually solved with a simple snip, and you'll never look back.

Ultimately, if it hurts and you're trying everything listed above, it's time to call in some expert help. A certified lactation consultant will give you hands-on help and put a stop to painful nursing.

Nursing is part instinct and part learned, so hang in there - your baby's mouth will get bigger and their latching technique will only get better over time.