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Nipple Monologues: Part 3: What’s Wrong with This Picture?

I found multiple references that led back to this  photo guide  for proper latching technique.   I will address the accompanying directions in the next post.  

What is wrong with this picture? 

Plenty.  I’ll list a few of the issues.  There are limits to any two-dimensional portrayal of a baby latching onto a breast. You are literally getting only snapshots of an activity which often looks similar to the untrained eye. 

www.breastfeeding.com/helpme/helpme_images_latchon.html

Frame 1

Looks like the baby here in Frame 1 is taking the breast as if it were a bottle.    

  • It should be noted that most people would not point a bottle nipple down into a baby’s mouth as it would cause him/her to gag.  They may go in centered, but immediately aim the artificial nipple toward the palate. 
  • This is one of the most common mistakes made by new mothers initiating breastfeeding.  They aim the breast as if it were a bottle and end up putting their nipple on their baby’s tongue. 

The mother’s posture is unclear throughout this photo essay.  

Frame 1 looks like she is upright and in frames 2-4, it looks like she could be lying on her back or side.  Is it even the same baby in all of these shots?  The first baby looks different from frames 2-4. 

Frame 2

Frame 3

Frame 4

The impression is that the nipple should be centered in the baby’s mouth for latch-on.  

  • If it is done this way the nipple will be captured by the tongue and gums causing pain and trauma. (Frame 2 & 3)
  • The breast should be stabilized during the latch.  Nose, not mouth opposite the mother’s nipple.   Move the baby, not the breast.

The angles of the baby to the mother’s body are all wrong. 

  • The nose is in deeper than the chin. The baby is barely past the nipple. (Frames 2-4)
  • Baby should not be parallel to the  mothers body, but rather at a 10-15 degree angle to the plane of her body.

 A well-positioned baby should be tucked in very close to the mother’s body.

  • The chin should be deeply planted on the cleavage side of the breast around ~7 o’clock; the top lip would be around ~1 o’clock. This deep mouth position would tip the nipple up into the palate and there would be no contact with the tongue.
  • The lips would automatically evert or fan out if these angles were corrected. You cannot see the phlanging of a newborn’s lips if there is a good latch. (Frame 2, 3, & 4)

The saying goes…A picture is worth a thousand words.   However, a latch photo series is never as simple as it looks and much can get lost in translation. 

As a conscious breastfeeding coach, I remind you that it is all about perspective.  Ideally, a breastfeeding latch taught  through the eyes of the mother and evaluated by the sensation of her nipples.

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1 Tweets that mention Nipple Monologues: Part 3: What’s Wrong with This Picture? — ConsciousBreastfeedingConnections.com -- Topsy.com { 06.22.10 at 12:02 pm }

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