how to get a deeper latch

How to Get a Deeper Latch: A Comprehensive Guide for Breastfeeding Moms

Breastfeeding is one of the most natural and intimate experiences between mother and baby, but it can also be a challenging one. One of the most important components of successful breastfeeding is achieving a proper latch. A good latch ensures efficient milk transfer, reduces nipple pain and discomfort, and helps prevent nipple trauma. In this guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about getting a deeper latch.

Understanding Latch

A latch refers to the way a baby attaches to the breast during breastfeeding. A good latch involves proper mouth positioning and suction that allows the baby to remove milk effectively. A poor latch can cause nipple pain and inhibit milk transfer, which can lead to problems such as poor weight gain in infants and supply issues for breastfeeding mothers.

Here are a few signs of a poor latch:

  • Nipple discomfort or pain during or after breastfeeding.
  • An audible clicking sound while nursing.
  • a visible gap between the baby’s lips and your breast
  • baby’s cheeks suck in with each swallow

In order for a baby to have a good latch, several factors must be taken into consideration:

  • Lips and Mouth – Your baby’s mouth should be wide open with lips flanged outward, forming a “fish lips” shape around your nipple.
  • Chin – Baby’s chin should be pressed against your breast instead of pointed upwards towards the ceiling or tucked in towards their chest.
  • Nose – Your baby’s nose should be near your breast but not touching it.
  • Tongue – The tongue should be positioned underneath your nipple, sliced over lower gum line, pointing upward towards the hard palate.

Factors Affecting Latch

Several factors can affect a baby’s ability to latch on correctly. It’s important to address these factors to ensure successful breastfeeding.

Maternal Factors

  • Engorgement – When a mother’s breasts are overly full of milk, it can make it difficult for a baby to get a proper latch.
  • Nipple discomfort or trauma – Nipples that are cracked, sore, bleeding, or blistered can make breastfeeding painful and difficult for both mom and baby.
  • Poor technique – Incorrectly positioning the baby or not supporting the breast adequately can make latching and breastfeeding problematic.
  • Inverted or flat nipples – Inverted or flat nipples can make it more difficult for babies to grasp or maintain their hold on the nipple during feeding.

Infant Factors

  • Tongue-tie and lip-tie – some infants have limited movement in their tongue due to tongue-tie or lip-tie. These anatomical variations can impede their ability to latch on properly.
  • High palate – An infant with a high palate may have trouble maintaining proper suction even with an otherwise good latch.
  • Structural abnormalities – Any structural anomalies such as cleft-lip or cleft-palate can have an impact on proper breastfeeding technique and lead to poor latching.

Preparing for a Good Latch

Before attempting to latch your baby, be sure to find a comfortable and supportive breastfeeding position. Cradle holds, football holds, and lying down on your side are all positions that can help with successful latching.

Finding The Right Position

  • Use pillows or cushions for support as needed,
  • Sit in a comfortable chair with good back support
  • Create an environment conducive for nursing: turn off screens, choose the right lighting.

Relax Before Latching On

A relaxed mother helps promote relax breastfeeding. Relaxing techniques may include deep breathing, visualization exercises, or gentle stretching. If you’re feeling stressed or anxious before nursing, it can make it more difficult to have a successful latch.

Techniques for Achieving a Good Latch

There are different techniques to achieve a good latch, including:

  • The cross-cradle hold: Place your baby across your lap, so his head is in the crook of one arm/hand while the other hand supports the opposite breast.
  • The football hold: Hold your baby at the side of your body like a football.
  • The side-lying position:Lie on your side with your baby facing you; Cuddle him next to you with their mouth in front of your nipple.
  • The laidback breastfeeding position:Layback on cushion on yoyr back and rest your baby on top of you facing you so that they can have free access to the breast while maintaining the best position considering gravity’s effect.

Troubleshooting Poor Latch

If you’re experiencing pain or difficulties with breastfeeding your baby, it’s important to recognize the signs of inadequate milk transfer:

  • Decreased frequency or duration of nursing sessions
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  • Weight loss in the infant
  • Decreased wet or dirty diapers.

If you’re experiencing any of these issues, consider the following troubleshooting tips:

  • Check for signs of proper latch and positioning
  • Offer encouragement to the baby to open wide before closing their mouth around the nipple.
  • If a baby has difficulty latching onto one breast, try switching sides and making sure that any discomfort or swelling has subsided.
  • Contacting a professional lactation consultant can help determine if there are any underlying obstacles affecting breastfeeding.

Importance of Follow-up Care

Seeking Professional Help

If you are struggling with latch despite going through all these techniques, seek professional help from a lactation consultant, pediatrician, or your primary healthcare provider. They can analyze you and your child’s breastfeeding routine and identify any potential hurdles for achieving a proper latch.

Breastfeeding Support Groups and Resources

The journey through breastfeeding is a challenging one and support groups can provide valuable help during this time. There are many local and online resources available including La Leche League, Breastfeeding USA Organizations, local hospital groups etc.. Joining such groups or attending their meetups will provide emotional and informative assistance in navigating your journey.


A deeper latch is crucial when it comes to successful breastfeeding. By understanding the mechanics of a good latch, you’re setting yourself and your baby up for a more comfortable and rewarding breastfeeding experience, while also ensuring that they receive the necessary nutrition to grow and flourish for as long as you choose to breastfeed.

7 FAQs About How to Get a Deeper Latch

Q: What is a latch?

A: Latching refers to the process of the baby opening their mouth wide and taking the nipple into their mouth to start breastfeeding.

Q: Why is it important to get a deeper latch?

A: A deeper latch helps prevent sore nipples, promotes effective milk transfer, and ensures that the baby is getting enough milk.

Q: How can I tell if my baby has a shallow latch?

  • Painful breastfeeding
  • Baby makes clicking noises while feeding
  • Inadequate weight gain or slow growth of the baby

Q: What can cause a shallow latch?

  • Poor positioning during breastfeeding
  • Ankyloglossia (tongue-tie)
  • Flat or inverted nipples
  • Baby’s mouth is too small or too large for the nipple

Q: What are some tips for getting a deeper latch?

  • Ensure that both you and your baby are comfortable and relaxed before starting the feeding.
  • Baby’s mouth should be wide open before latching on to your breast.
  • Make sure your baby’s lips are flanged outwards and not tucked in when latching.
  • If necessary, use your fingers to compress your breast gently and shape it like a sandwich so that it fits into your baby’s mouth more easily.

Q: What are some breastfeeding positions that can help get a deeper latch?

  • Cross-cradle hold
  • Football hold
  • Laid-back breastfeeding position

Q: When should I seek professional help for my baby’s latch?

A: If you have tried various positions and tips for getting a deeper latch but are still experiencing pain, or if your baby is not gaining weight properly despite frequent feedings, it is important to consult with a lactation consultant or your healthcare provider.

keys takeaways

4 Key Takeaways for Getting a Deeper Latch

  1. Positioning is key: A deep latch starts with proper positioning. Make sure baby’s head is aligned with your breast and their mouth is wide enough to encompass the nipple and a large portion of the areola.
  2. Relaxation helps: Tension can make it harder for baby to latch deeply. Take deep breaths and try to stay relaxed during feeding sessions.
  3. Don’t push baby’s head onto your breast: This can cause baby to tilt their head back, making it harder to get a deep latch. Instead, bring baby in towards the breast while keeping their neck and spine in a straight line.
  4. Persistence pays off: It may take some time and practice to get a deeper latch, but it’s worth it. A deep latch not only ensures baby is getting enough milk, but it also helps prevent nipple pain and damage.

In summary, getting a deeper latch requires proper positioning, relaxation, gentle movements, and persistence. Keep practicing and don’t hesitate to seek help from a lactation consultant if needed. With time and patience, you will be able to establish a comfortable and effective breastfeeding routine.