What is A Proper Latch?

By Medically reviewed by Hello Doktor Medical Panel

Breastfeeding might be very difficult, especially for new mothers. A poor position may do you and your baby more harm than good. If you are inexperienced, take a look at this to find out what is a proper latch and how to get it:

What is a proper latch?

The proper latch involves both the nipple and the surrounding areola, which is the pinkish-brown flat circle around your nipple that became darker with goose bumps during pregnancy. It is believed that the areola gets darker as a natural clue for your baby so that she knows to suck on the areola, not just the nipple. Although breast milk flows out of the tiny openings in the nipple, the areola and the milk sinuses located underneath it need to be compressed to actually start the flow. If the areola is not stimulated, your milk will not flow out, and new milk will not be produced either.

How to get the proper latch?

Locate your baby in the right position with one hand, then hold your breast with the other hand.

Put your thumb right above your nipple and areola where your baby’s nose will probably touch your breast while your index finger positions in the spot where the chin of your baby will touch your breast.

Put light pressure on your breast to form a shape that resembles your baby’s mouth.

Pull your baby close to your breast. You need to stroke her cheek so that she will open her mouth, then turn her mouth toward your breast. Use your nipples to tickle her lips until her instinct kicks in, and her mouth opens wide enough.

Quickly put your nipple and areola into her mouth, but do it gently not to scare her off. She may not be able to grab the entire areola with her mouth at first, which is alright as long as she has the important part in her mouth.

A proper latch means your baby’s chin and the tip of her nose touch your breast. Her lips should be flanged out as a fish, ¬†not tucked in.

Finally, just let your baby do her job. As soon as you are in the proper latch, your baby will naturally know what to do.

A proper latch is the most critical part of breastfeeding. Without it, your child will not be able to get the milk she needs to grow, and your milk ducts will not produce sufficient milk for your baby. Besides, your areolas may get cracked and chapped, which is extremely painful.

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Review Date: January 4, 2017 | Last Modified: December 6, 2019

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