My baby is having a hard time latching on. Am I doing something wrong?

The trick to breastfeeding is getting the baby to latch on well. A baby who latches on well, gets milk well. A baby who latches on poorly has difficulty getting milk, especially if the supply is low. A poor latch is similar to giving a baby a bottle with a nipple hole which is too small-the bottle is full of milk, but the baby will not get much. When a baby is latching on poorly, he may also cause the mother nipple pain. And if he does not get milk well, he will usually stay on the breast for long periods, thus aggravating the pain.

A proper latch is crucial to success. This is the key to successful breastfeeding. Unfortunately, too many mothers are being "helped" by people who don't know what a proper latch is. If you are being told your two day old's latch is good despite your having very sore nipples, be skeptical, and ask for help from someone who knows.

Before you leave the hospital, you should be shown that your baby is latched on properly, and that he is actually getting milk from the breast and that you know how to know he is getting milk from the breast. If you and the baby are leaving the hospital not knowing this, get help quickly.

Latch On

The first step to a proper latch on is getting baby to open WIDE! Brush baby's lips with your nipple to encourage him to open wide, as if yawning.

Once baby's mouth is 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.

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 lips are everted. Some baby's will tighten or purse their lips, especially the lower one. If the lower lip is inverted (turned in), try simply pressing down on baby's chin to evert the inwardly turned lip.
Correct latch-on. Note how the baby's lips are correctly everted, and the mouth is open wide. Also notice how much breast tissue has been taken in, almost the entire areola is in the baby's mouth.


If you have any questions, give us a call at (801) 281-1881.