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Helping Baby to Latch

Sometimes babies need help latching onto the breast to begin feeding:

  • get comfortable and put baby skin-to-skin with mother (baby's tummy on mom's and their face to mom's breast)

  • support baby's shoulders and neck and position baby's nose to nipple with their head tilted (chin to breast)

  • tuck baby's bottom and legs close to mom's body

  • mom should support her breast with four fingers below, resting their thumb on top

  • stroke baby's lower lip until their mouth opens wide, then bring baby into breast with chin first and nipple pointing to baby's nose

  • there should be more of the breast below the nipple (rather than above) in baby's mouth and their nose should be clear of the breast

  • when baby has a deep latch, mom's nipples are protected, baby gets milk easily, and more milk is made!

Signs Baby is Latching Well

  • breastfeeding is comfortable for mother (a gentle pull on the breast that does not hurt)

  • baby's mouth is open wide

  • lips are curled out

  • chin is pressed into the mother's breast and their nose does not touch the breast

  • there will be a slow, rhythmic suck with regular pauses when baby is swallowing

  • swallowing will be heard (after day three or four)

  • the mother's nipple does not look pinched after feeding

To learn more about latching, contact the Health Unit toll-free at 1-866-888-4577 and speak with a Family Health nurse.