Correctly positioning your baby is a huge part of breastfeeding success—a good latch should be pain-free for you, and will help make sure your baby is getting milk as easily as possible for them (if your baby is struggling to drink, they can waste the valuable calories your body is working so hard to make for them!). Here is our cheat sheet for making sure you have a good latch. Pro-tip: screen-shot this checklist so it’s always easily accessible on your phone while nursing!
- Be tummy-to-tummy: your baby should be rotated towards your body, so that your stomach is making contact with theirs.
- Baby’s ear, shoulder, and hip should be in one line: a nursing pillow can help you position your baby this way— when they’re on their side, their whole body should be on one level. Their head can be slightly tipped up, but it should still be in one plane.
- Line up nipple to nose: Your baby’s nose should be level with your nipple, with their lower jaw below your nipple.
- Get your baby’s mouth open as wide as possible before you try and latch: This one is super important! They should be practically yawning. You can try flicking your nipple onto the skin above their top lip (below their nose)— this should cause a reflex where they open wide.
- Go for fish-lips: Once your nipple is in baby’s mouth, their top and bottom lips should be open (like a fish) rather than tucked in.
- Do the sniff test: Your baby’s nose should be pointing upward, like they are sniffing your breast, with their chin tucked in. More of their chin should be in your breast than their nose, to make sure they can breathe.
Swallowing sounds and slight ear movement are all good signs.
If you’re struggling to feed your baby, you’re not alone— and you deserve support. Don’t hesitate to reach out to Nannie Reinert, one of our certified pediatric sleep consultants and a lactation education counselor— you can schedule a 30 minute lactation phone consultation with her HERE.