How can I improve my baby's latch? Breastfeeding

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baby breastfeeding
iStock/evgenyatamanenko
A deep latch is key to making sure baby's nursing efficiently and not causing you pain. Here are some tips on how to get the perfect latch.

Talk to a Lactation Consultant

"Lactation consultants are highly trained, and can provide personalized tricks and tips for a proper latch. This can greatly reduce stress for mothers. I met with a lactation consultant the day after my son was born. I am still so thankful for all her advice and support!" -- Skyler Gardner, RN, BSN, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA

Look for Fish Lips

"Both of baby's lips should be flared out like 'fish lips,' her cheeks should be rounded, her chin should be touching the breast, and you should hear her swallowing." -- Emily Silver, MS, NP-C, certified family nurse practitioner, co-owner of Boston NAPS, Boston, MA

Position Baby Properly

"When you position her, keep her nose lined up to your nipple. If she is too high up or too far over to your armpit or mid-chest, she won't get a deep latch as easily."

Slant Your Nipple Slightly

"Slant your nipple towards your arm, so baby has to put the whole areola and nipple in her mouth. She may cry, but keep trying."

Try the Football Hold

"Sit down comfortably and hold your baby so his back is supported by your right arm, with his head in your right hand (while offering right breast). This should give you a good view of whether or not he's opening wide enough, as well as where he's trying to latch on."

Lie on Your Back

"Try the biological nurturing position. Lie on your back with the baby skin-to-skin and follow her lead. It can take a while to get there and get comfy but that is okay."

Check for a Tongue Tie

"If you're having trouble getting her to latch, I recommend looking for a tongue tie. If she has one, consider having it clipped. You may have to insist, because doctors don't always see them as necessary to fix, but for nursing they are!"

The advice on CafeMom aims to educate, inform, and provide a range of solutions to the issues moms care about. It is not a substitute for consultation with a medical professional or treatment for a specific condition. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without consulting a qualified professional. Please contact your health-care provider with questions and concerns.