What a Proper Latch Looks (and Feels) Like


A good latch is key to successful breastfeeding. Believe me, I know. A poor latch caused me to have to give up breastfeeding my first son 10 years ago and I STILL feel bad about it.

No matter what latch and positioning should look like, the true measure of a good latch is lack of pain. An improper latch usually causes excruciating pain and ineffective milk transfer.

This image has circulated the web and I believe it’s one of the best step-by-step instructions of what an effective latch looks like.

The best tip I received was to align my nipple to the baby’s nose. That’s very unintuitive and I believe it’s why so many moms have trouble breastfeeding.

Once you are pain free, here are further signs that your baby is latched on properly and sucking effectively:

  • Baby’s lips is flanged out
  • Baby has a good mouthful of breast (not just the nipple)
  • Baby’s ears are wiggling as she’s swallowing
  • Milk does not leak from the corners of the baby’s mouth
  • You do not see any dimples during sucking (this is a sign of a poor latch)

Poor latches will happen often and are not a problem if corrected soon. If you notice any painful sensations during breastfeeding, do not persist (like I did) with an incorrect latch-on. Break the latch and start again.

Be patient with yourself and your baby. It may take one week or two for moms and babies to become skilled at breastfeeding. If problems persist, make sure you contact a local lactation consultant that can help identify where the problem is and help correct it. Remember, it does get easier and you are giving your baby the absolute best!

What’s the best advice you ever received about creating a proper latch? Help other moms by sharing in the comments.