Latch on Techniques for Breastfeeding - Page 2

Flipple technique:  If you have a hard time getting your baby to open her mouth wide or just can’t get your nipple into her mouth using the traditional techniques, you may want to try the flipple technique.  It’s a variation of the asymmetric latch.  Here’s how you do it.  First place your finger above your nipple and press into your breast.  This will flip your nipple upward.  Then position your baby below your nipple.  As soon as she opens her mouth wide, use your finger to flip the nipple into her mouth.  Once she is latched on, remove your finger.

Helpful links:
Flipple technique
Flipple technique video
Nipple twist latch (a variation of the flipple technique)

More latching technique links:
The Mother-Baby Dance: Positioning and Latch-On

Baby led latch:  If you are trying to get baby to latch on and are having a difficult time with all of the techniques, you may want to read more about the concept of baby-led latching.  Pediatrician Christina Smillie discussed this idea with Today’s Parent magazine.  Dr. Smillie believes that babies were born with instincts that guide them on how to find their mother’s nipple and latch on.  Sometimes by trying to get your baby to latch a certain way, you can get in her way and keep her from figuring things out all on her own.

To try baby led latching, just relax and cuddle with your baby skin to skin.  Sit in a comfortable chair with baby in an upright position.  Let baby naturally find her way to your breast when she gets hungry.  You can help baby to get closer to your breast, but try to let baby make the moves.  When she gets close to your breast and starts rooting, let her find your nipple and latch on. 

Helpful links:
Baby led latching  
Baby led latching with pictures

How can you tell if your baby is latched on correctly?

Here are a few signs of a good latch:

  • You should not have pain.  You may feel some discomfort when baby first latches on, however.  This should only last for a few second and should go away once your baby has been breastfeeding for a week or so.  If you have pain or nipple soreness, this is likely due to incorrect latching and positioning.
  • Your baby’s lips should be flanged (or turned outward like a fish).
  • Your baby should have at least 1 inch of your areola in her mouth.
  • You should see baby’s ears wiggle when he swallows.
  • You should hear baby swallowing.
  • You should see and feel a good seal.  Milk shouldn’t leak out the sides if your baby is latched on well.

If you are still having problems with latching on:

If you have tried all of the techniques listed and are still having problems, either with refusal to latch or painful latch, you may need to work with a lactation consultant.  You can also get help from a breastfeeding peer counselor or the La Leche League. 

La Leche League  
National Breastfeeding Helpline
Find a Lactation Consultant

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