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Proper Latch

Latch Training Your Baby After the First Days of Life

Without a proper latch, breastfeeding difficulties are certain to develop. Here are ways to retrain your baby to latch correctly if he or she is more than a few days old.

Needed - The Proper Latch

Sometimes a mother with an older baby may experience problems due to a poor latch. This is a compromised situation. It is not too late to do latch training and correcting the latch will resolve most problems.
< br> The 8 criteria of a proper latch are listed at the bottom of this page. Usually if a baby has problems with one area, he or she will have problems in four or five other areas. It indicates the need to retrain your baby to latch.

Latch training an older baby who has been breast feeding for more than a few days can be a little more challenging for two reasons.

] First, the baby has been nursing one way, and may or may not be easily convinced to change. And he wants milk now! It's a bit difficult to teach a hungry, demanding baby anything.

In addition, the mother may be experiencing problems, such as sore nipples or engorgement, which make the nursing more difficult. While correcting the latch with latch training is of greatest importance, she also needs to treat her symptoms as well.

Once the baby’s latch is corrected, the mother is on the way to solving the other problems that may have developed, and also will have a happier baby who is now getting more milk more efficiently.

Latch Training Problems

However, some babies have difficulty re-learning the proper latch. Here are some helps.

Review the Criteria of the Proper Latch

Read our paper and brochure on the correct breastfeeding latch. Keep it beside the chair where you nurse.

Watch a Latch Video

There are, of course, numerous videos on breastfeeding and the proper latch available on the internet for free. It can be helpful to see an infant latched correctly.

A classic and comprehensive video, "Follow Me, Mum" from the Australian midwife Rebecca Glover, is available on Youtube. It is used in breastfeeding classes and support groups.

Consult a Lactation Consultant

Most communities have lactation consultants or breastfeeding support specialists. Perhaps your midwife or doctor can recommend one in your community or they are on staff at a local hospital.

You can also check the International Lactation Consultant Association to help find a lactation consultant in your community.

Consider using a Lactation Aid

A lactation aid is a device that delivers expressed breast milk, forumula, or glucose water to the baby while he or she is learning to latch.

In these situations, a lactation aid can help in several ways. Expressed milk or sugar water can be used to give a breast that has nipple damage a chance to rest. The aid can give some food to a very hungry baby so that she will be more ready to work at learning a new way to place her mouth and tongue once some of her hunger has been relieved. It can also help in suck training for the infant who does not use the tongue correctly.

8 Criteria of the Correct Breastfeeding Latch

  • 1. The chin is touching the breast.
  • 2. The flow of milk will go toward the top and back of the mouth.
  • 3. The nipple is centered in the mouth.
  • 4. The baby’s gums will compress the sinuses beneath the areola and not the nipple tissue.
  • 5. The lips are flanged fish-like around the breast.
  • 6. The tongue is cupped below the nipple so that the nipple is between the roof of the baby’s mouth and his tongue.
  • 7. The mother experiences no breast or nipple pain as the infant suckles.
  • 8. Observe the infant’s facial movements for a pattern of Close-Open-Pause- Close-Open-Pause to insure that milk is being swallowed during the pause.
More information on correct breastfeeding latch.

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By Karen Newell Copyright 2003 - 2012 Better Childbirth Outcomes - All Rights Reserved
Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, USA