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Women and Family Care

Breastfeeding latch-on

Proper positioning is very important for successful breastfeeding. Once you know you've selected the proper position, you can look at the way your baby is breastfeeding. Here are some hints to help your baby latch-on well. 


Compress your areola slightly to make a “nipple sandwich” for your baby. This will allow baby to get a deeper latch-on. Make sure your fingers are well behind the edges of the areola (one to one and a half inches from the base of the nipple).

U hold

Support your breast with your hand in a “U” position, then squeeze gently to form a sandwich for the baby. Use a U hold for crosscradle position.

C hold

The “C” hold is used when the baby is in the football hold only. Keep your thumb by your baby’s nose and your fingers by the baby’s chin. Stroke your baby’s nose up and down with your nipple and pull her quickly to the
breast when she opens her mouth wide. Be sure to wait for her mouth to open really wide (like a yawn) and her tongue to come forward. She should get the nipple and a big mouthful of the areola (the dark brown
part of the breast) in her mouth. Listen for swallowing every three to five sucks after your milk comes in. Once your milk has come in and you have a let-down reflex, you will notice swallowing with every suck.

It will be easier for your baby if you:

  • Support your breast with a U or C hold.
  • Wait for a wide open mouth.
  • Bring baby to breast, not breast to baby.
  • Check to see if your latch-on is correct.
  • Check your latch-on

    Your baby’s chin should touch the breast, baby’s nose should be free. If the baby truly can’t breathe, she will let go. Babies can breathe easily even when pressed close to the breast because they can breathe around the corners of their noses. Do not press on the breast to make a breathing passage. This can distort the shape of the nipple and contributes to soreness. If you’re concerned about your baby’s ability to breathe, try pulling the baby’s hips in closer to you. This should help her breathe better. Some mothers describe pain with initial latch-on that eases as the milk begins to flow. This will subside over time. If it persists, use your little finger to break baby’s latch and re-attach her.

    Look for these signs:

    • The angle of your baby’s lips at the breast is greater than 140 degrees.
    • Most of the areola is in your baby’s mouth (one inch from the base of your nipple, slightly more towards the baby’s lower lip than towards the upper lip).
    • Both upper and lower lips are flanged/rolled out.
    • You feel a deep pulling sensation as the baby nurses.
    • You should not feel sharp pain or have pain that lasts more than a moment during the latch-on.
    • 10 to12 feedings daily is normal for a newborn.

    If you need to remove your baby from the breast, slip your finger between her lips and gums to break the suction. Wait for the suction to release, and remove her.

    Your latch-on is correct if:

    1. The angle of the lips is greater than 140 degrees.
    2. Lips flanged (rolled out, top and bottom).
    3. Nose and chin touching breast.
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