What Is A Breastfeeding Latch?

The Definition of Latching On

Breastfeeding Latch
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What Is the Definition of a Breastfeeding Latch?

In regard to breastfeeding, latching on is the term used to describe the way your baby attaches to your breast to nurse. How your baby latches on can determine how successful you will be at breastfeeding. A proper latch will deliver breast milk to your baby, allow your baby to grow at a consistent rate, help you to build and maintain a healthy supply of breast milk, and prevent some of the common problems of breastfeeding such as sore nipples, engorgement, plugged ducts and mastitis.

Two Types of Latch Techniques

The Traditional Latch: The traditional latch is the most common latch technique. With a traditional latch your baby's mouth is centered around your nipple and areola. You should be able to see an equal amount of your areola showing around your baby's mouth.

The Asymmetrical Latch: When using an asymmetrical latch the baby is placed off-center on your breast. The baby will have less of the areola in his or her mouth on the top side of your nipple so you will see more of your areola showing near your baby's nose. On the underside of the nipple, your baby will take in more of the areola so near your baby's chin you will see less of your areola.   

See Also: Breastfeeding, Latch, and The Size of The Areola


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.

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