The DEEP LATCH SECRET

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If you have SORE NIPPLES or your BABY ISN'T GAINING ENOUGH WEIGHT, chances are that someone out there is telling you your baby needs a deeper latch. Okay... but how do you do that? You have read all the books on breastfeeding basics and even the MILK lady blog article on sore nipples  but they all say the same things: Stroke the nipple nose to chin to get the baby to open wide, Put the baby nose to nipple and chin to breast, Watch for asymmetrical latch >140˚ with lips flanged and chin deep in the breast. 

Reading these tips are one thing but applying them is a whole new ball game. Now, I am not big on rules with latching and positioning baby but getting a deep latch is something all moms should know how to do. Let me show you step-by-step, how can you really make this work for you.

The SECRET is to think of getting a DEEP LATCH as more of a scooping action rather than pulling your baby straight to the breast. The "scoop" is pulling the baby up and over the nipple to put the baby's lower jaw on the breast first.

Here is the scoop on getting THE SCOOP:

  • First, hold your baby in a nursing position that is comfortable for you. Make sure your hand is holding the baby's head on the neck behind the ears (not at the back of the head so the head can't move easily). The heel of your hand will touch between her shoulder blades.
  • Now, lets make a breast sandwich! Don't worry your baby thinks it sounds tasty :) Depending on how your baby is positioned, you will either make a slight "c" shape or a "u" with your hand but just think about what a sandwich looks like and you'll know which way to do it. Your thumb will be placed just above where the baby's nose will touch.
  • Using the heel of your hand you can put gentle pressure on the shoulders and slightly tip your baby's head forward then up and over the nipple.
  • This allows the lower lip to first touch outer edge of areola and then the nipple rolls in after. Now you should have a nice deep latch!
  • You may not be able to see it without a mirror but your partner or support person can likely confirm that the lower jaw is more deeply positioned than the upper jaw and that more of the lower areola is in mouth than upper.
  • After 10-15 seconds you can release your breast. The babies chin will be buried deep into the breast with the babies nostrils still touching the breast.
  • If her nose is obstructed, pull baby’s hips in close and lift up on the breast just slightly.

There you have it! I hope these tips gave you success in getting a deeper latch but if you are still having trouble breastfeeding your baby, please contact an IBCLC for assistance.

Breast of luck,

the MILK lady