The Eye of the Lactation Professional

You might glance at this pic and think it is just a beautiful photo of a baby nursing (and don’t get me wrong, it is beautiful!) But to the trained eye of a lactation professional, there are several adjustments that could be made to be sure milk is transferring efficiently, mamas nipples are protected and baby/mama are as comfortable as they can be.

First, I would suggest taking mamas hand off the back of babys head and placing her arm around the base of babys neck. For a baby to get a proper deep latch and be able to transfer and swallow milk without difficulty, they need to be able to have free range of motion to tilt their head back. Have you ever tried sucking and swallowing with your chin down toward your chest? Not so comfortable or easy to swallow right?

Another problem is the latch. It looks very shallow. Babies should open their mouth wide before we bring them in close to the breast. Think as wide as a yawn, 140+ degree angle of the mouth. Wait for baby to make that big gape before bringing them into the breast and latching.

Babys nose is not even close to the breast as it should be. I would move her to the left so that she has the opportunity to get a proper asymmetrical latch and take in enough of the lower part of the areola. Let her chin come close to the breast first and then her head will rock forward, allowing her nose to snuggle close to the breast. This shallow latch is likely causing a piston motion with the jaw, chomping down on the nipple. When there is enough breast in the mouth, the jaw should look like it is rocking back and forth.

A proper latch is everything! If you haven’t had your baby’s latch assessed by a lactation professional, please do! It can really make all the difference in terms of comfort for mom and baby and allowing adequate milk transfer. Nursing is always a beautiful picture but it can also be enjoyable and efficient when you and baby learn and practice your latch the correct way!

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