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Latching On - The First Step In Breastfeeding

Successful breastfeeding depends on a baby latching on properly. It's important that you get an inch of the areola tissue surrounding the nipple or at least a good amount of it into the baby's mouth.

Here's how to do it. First, tickle your baby's mouth with your nipple. When baby opens wide, quickly pull him toward your breast and position him on your nipple. You may have to push the areola area into his mouth when open wide.

The compression of the milk sinuses beneath the areola causes the milk to be drawn out through the nipple. Baby's sucking action will cause let down, and his/her tongue resting on top of the lower gum will draw the milk out.

Protect Your Nipples

If your baby latches on to only your nipple, he/she will not get much milk and you will be very sore. If you're not sure if your baby is sucking on enough of the areola area, ask a nurse before you go home or consult with our lactation center.

Steps to Remember

Remember these basic steps to breastfeeding.

  1. Make sure you are tummy to tummy with baby. Cup your breast from underneath in a "C-shape" with your hand and gently lift the breast. Make sure your fingers are well away from the areola area.
  2. Gently move your nipple back and forth over baby's lower lip. This will elicit the rooting response and entice your baby to open his or her mouth.
  3. When the baby opens wide, quickly pull him/her toward your breast and put him/her on your nipple. Do not let baby latch on to only your nipple because that will cause soreness and cracking and baby will not get enough milk.