Ask the Lactation Consultant:

How do I know my baby is latched correctly?

You can avoid many common breastfeeding problems if your baby is latched onto your breast effectively. Sore nipples, inadequate infant weight gain and a low milk supply can often be traced back to latch problems.

The most common problem with latch is a shallow latch, which means the baby does not have enough of the breast in his mouth or he's too close to the tip. Here, signs of a good latch:

No nipple pain.
The most important indication that your baby is latched well is that you don't have pain during feeding. For the first few days up to about a week after your baby is born, you may have some slight tenderness at the start of the feeding, but if your baby is latching well, you shouldn't have pain. When a baby is latched well, mothers often describe the sensation as a "strong pulling." When the baby is latched too shallowly (meaning she doesn't have enough of the breast in her mouth or she's too close to the tip), the sensation is often described as a "pinching."

No nipple damage.
Your nipples should not be cracked, scabbed, blistered or bruised. The skin should not be broken.

Sustained sucking.
When your baby is latched well, he will usually sustain a nice rhythmic suck. His jaw will move up and down with a very wide movement. He'll take short pauses from sucking and then resume sucking spontaneously or with very little encouragement. Pauses typically last only about 5 to 10 seconds throughout most of the feeding. Toward the end of the feeding, he may take longer and more frequent pauses, which usually signals that he's nearly done.

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