a young mother feeds her little baby

Ways to Know if Baby Isn’t Latching

When breastfeeding, getting a good latch is critical to ensure that your baby gets the most milk for their nutritional benefit. An improper latch can be uncomfortable for you and can impair your baby’s weight gain as they struggle to get the nutrients they need. Figuring out what works best for you and your baby takes practice. When babies latch on properly, though, they will feed safely and contently. The Pediatric Partners of Augusta sister facility and newborn care center Bella Bambino is equipped to help you make sure your baby gets the most out of breastfeeding.

If your nipples are sore while breastfeeding or your baby continues to show signs of hunger or frustration after feeding sessions, these may be indicators of an improper latch. Some other things to look for are:

  • Baby’s lips are tucked in
  • Sucking in cheeks and smacking noises
  • Low breast milk
  • Baby not gaining enough weight

When your baby first latches on, you may experience some pain for a few seconds, but it should subside quickly. If your baby is sleepy and full afterward, this may indicate an effective breastfeeding session. Some signs of an effective latch are:

  • Seeing and hearing swallowing
  • Jaw movement
  • Nipple and breast in baby’s mouth
  • Chin against or near breast
  • Lips puckered out

Figuring out which breastfeeding techniques work best for you and your baby may take some practice. To break an improper latch, gently stick your finger in your baby’s mouth and try again. Some adjustments that you can make are:

  • Ensuring a calm, relaxed environment
  • Changing positions (i.e., side lying, football hold, cradle/front hold)
  • Supporting your baby’s neck, head and hips, but let baby lead

Getting the hang of latching may require some help, so visit our clinic specifically for newborns and mothers. Our breastfeeding and lactation experts are ready to assist you at Bella Bambino.

Pediatric Partners has three locations to better serve our patients. The Evans office is at 411 Town Park Blvd.; the downtown Augusta office is at 1303 D’Antignac St., Suite 2600; and the new Grovetown office is at 5135 Wrightsboro Road. For more information about Pediatric Partners, call the office at 706-854-2500, visit PedPartners.com, or follow the Pediatric Partners of Augusta Facebook and Instagram pages.

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