Getting a great latch every time

by Kaiser Permanente |
Breastfeeding baby.

One of the most important parts of breastfeeding/chestfeeding is the latch. A good latch helps your baby get the most milk possible during each feeding. It also helps breastfeeding be more comfortable for you.

Tips for a good latch

First, position yourself so that you’re comfortable. You might want to sit upright, or you can lay on your side or back. A reclining position can feel more natural for your baby. It also allows you to have more skin-to-skin contact.

To get a good latch, support your breast with the arm that’s opposite from the one you’re using to hold your baby. Place your thumb slightly above your areola, the darker skin that surrounds your nipple. Your fingers should be placed under your breast.

With your baby’s head at the level of your breast, gently tickle your baby’s upper lip with your nipple. This encourages your baby to open their mouth widely. When your baby opens wide, bring your breast gently into their mouth. Your baby’s lips should flare out around your nipple.

The latch shouldn’t hurt at all — if it does try lifting the breast tissue with your finger underneath to the level of the baby’s chin and tilt the baby into the breast with their cheeks touching the breast. If this doesn’t work you’ll want to safely de-latch your baby and then latch again. It’s a good idea to change positions from time to time to prevent problems like sore nipples.

This article has been created by a national group of Kaiser Permanente ob-gyns, certified nurse-midwives, pediatricians, lactation consultants and other specialists who came together to provide you with the best pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and newborn information.

Some of the content is used and adapted with permission of The Permanente Medical Group.