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Nipple Monologues: Part 4: A Latch-on Makeover

Your Baby’s Latch-On


I critiqued the latch-on from a visual perspective in  Nipple Monologues: Part 3:  What’s Wrong with This Picture?    

As promised, I will now fine tune the written directions that accompanied that photo essay.  (read them here).

Step 1:  Get baby to open mouth wide.  Use nipple to encourage him to open wide.

  • Although this has been the party line for years, it is not good advice to use your nipple as bait.  If you position your baby at an incline with your nipple opposite his/her nose they open wide without need of any prompting.


  • You just need to be patient as they may open and close their mouth a few times before holding it open wide with a long pause.  Wait for this to happen and notice that the tongue is forward and down.


Step 2:  When mouth open wide, quickly pull him onto the breast by pulling the baby toward you with the arm that is holding him.  Make sure you move the baby towards you and not move yourself towards the baby.

  • To ensure a deep, pain-free latch you need to put your baby on your breast with a firm hugging action.  Compact the breast slightly and stabilize with a C-hold or U-hold being careful not to block area above the milk sinuses. Follow-through deeply so that his/her jaws will land farther onto the body of the breast.


  • The chin will be deeper than the nose because your baby is fitting snugly into the crook of the supporting arm at a 10-15 degree angle to the plane of your body.  (It would be like pledging allegiance to the flag with your baby inside your arm.)  The energy starts in the elbow and the whole arm hugs him deeply onto your breast.


Step 3:  The baby’s gums should completely bypass the nipple and cover approximately one inch of the areola behind the nipple.  Make sure the baby’s lip are everted (rolled out) 

  • This advice makes mothers typically bend the baby onto the breast.  By worrying about covering a certain amount of the areola and/or seeing if the lips are rolled out they create conditions where the baby can focus their gum action on the nipples.  (They either bend them in too much or pull them back down onto the nipple to see their lips.)


  • The focus should be to have your baby with his/her head to bottom aligned, at an incline (not level or parallel to your body) inside the supporting arm which will put him/her on the breast.  You do not lift your baby.  You hug him/her deeply against your body.


  • Key is to move the baby, not the breast.  Be patient waiting for a wide open mouth with tongue forward and down.  Your baby needs to come on as a unit.


 Mother and baby should be calm and comfortable throughout the breastfeeding session.   If there is a shift in comfort, slide your index finger into the mouth beneath your baby’s nose, covering your nipple as you detach him/her from the breast.   A conscious, deep latch puts the mother-in-charge and should always pain-free.

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1 Tweets that mention Nipple Monologues: Part 4: A Latch-on Makeover — ConsciousBreastfeedingConnections.com -- Topsy.com { 06.23.10 at 10:50 am }

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