How To Breastfeed Using An Asymmetrical Latch

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Latching your baby onto your breast correctly is one of the most important parts of breastfeeding. A good latch will allow your baby to get enough breast milk to grow at a healthy and consistent rate. It's also necessary to help you to build and maintain your supply of breast milk. This article explains the steps to latching your baby on to your breast using an asymmetrical latch. Unlike a traditional latch, when you breastfeed using an asymmetrical latch, your baby will be not be centered around your nipple and areola.

 

Here are the steps to latching your baby on to your breast using an asymmetrical latch:

  • Get into a comfortable breastfeeding position. If you have a nursing pillow and/or a nursing footstool, use them to bring your baby up to the level of your breast.  These helpful nursing accessories promote a proper latch and can also prevent strain on your back, neck and arms while you're nursing.
     
  • Use your free hand to hold your breast in a C-hold by placing your fingers under your breast and your thumb on the top. Keep your fingers behind your areola so that they do not get in the way of your baby's mouth.
     
  • Bring your baby toward you. Your baby's head should be tilted back a little bit so that her chin can come forward first. The baby's mouth should be lower than your nipple, and your nipple should line up with your baby's nose.
     
  • Gently stroke your child's upper lip with your nipple to get her to open her mouth.
     
  • Wait until your child's mouth is open very wide and her tongue is down. Quickly bring your baby's chin to your breast, then bring her mouth up and over your nipple so that her upper lip rests above your nipple. The baby should have your entire nipple in her mouth as well as a large portion of the areola on the underside of the nipple and a smaller amount of areola on the top of the nipple. Her chin will be resting in your breast and the tip of her nose will be off of your breast or just slightly touching it at the tip.
     
  • Check your baby for the signs of a good latch vs. a poor latch.
     
  • If your baby is not latched on well, or if you are in pain, break the suction of the latch with your finger, remove your baby from your breast and repeat the steps above.

    If you have any concerns or questions about your baby's latch, talk to your doctor, a lactation consultant, or your local La Leche group. 

Sources:

American Academy of Pediatrics. New Mother’s Guide To Breastfeeding. Bantam Books. New York. 2011.

Lawrence, Ruth A., MD, Lawrence, Robert M., MD. Breastfeeding A Guide For The Medical Profession Sixth Edition.  Mosby. Philadelphia. 2005.

Newman, Jack, MD, Pitman, Theresa. The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers. Three Rivers Press. New York. 2006.

Riordan, J., & Wambach, K. Breastfeeding and Human Lactation. Jones & Bartlett Learning. 2010.

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