Breastfeeding – How to get your baby to latch

Breastfeeding is one of the most intimate moments between a mother and child. As the source of vital nutrients, it’s of the utmost importance that mothers are properly educated on breastfeeding. Breastfeeding should not be a painful experience, but one of the moments that enhance the bond with your child.

Improper latching during breastfeeding can cause quite a few issues. Aside from painful cracking and dryness of the nipples, your child may also not get enough nutrients to sustain themselves. In the long run, this could influence your child’s rate of growth. You may experience minor soreness in the nipples at the beginning of a feeding, but the act itself should be pain-free. There are a variety of over-the-counter nipple creams that will ease your discomfort. Improper latching may also have a lot to do with the position that you’re holding the baby.

Prior to even attempting the latching process, it’s essential that you pay attention to early hunger cues. If your baby has resulted to crying, it will be more difficult to get them to latch on.

The following steps can help to ensure a quality latch:
  • Get in a comfortable chair. Avoid using a stool or any other chair that does not support your back well.
  • Have a pillow nearby to support the baby.
  • Make sure both of your tummies are in constant contact.
  • Remember to keep the baby’s ear, shoulder, and hip in alignment for easier swallowing.
  • You might need to firmly hold the breast to guide it into the baby’s mouth.
  • Begin by rubbing the nipple across the top of the baby’s mouth. If they reach for it, it’s an indication that they are ready to eat.
  • The baby’s head should be slightly tilted back, and their mouth should be wide with their chin dropped and tongue down.
  • Try to ensure that the lowest part of the areola is in the baby’s mouth.

Your baby could give a series of indications that they have a good latch. Are their cheeks rounded? Can you hear swallowing instead of smacking? If their ears are wiggling and the jaw is moving in a circular motion, rather than a rapid chomp, you’ve achieved latching.

If you’re still having a hard time getting your child to latch, you can contact Pediatric Partners to speak with one of our skilled lactation consultants.

We now have three locations to better serve our patients. The Evans office is located at 411 Town Park Blvd., the downtown Augusta office is located at 1303 D’Antignac Street, Suite 2600, and the new Grovetown office is located at 5135 Wrightsboro Road. For more information about Pediatric Partners, please feel free to call the office at 706-854-2500, visit, or follow the Pediatric Partners of Augusta Facebook page.


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