Latching and Positioning Resources

August 29, 2011. Posted in: Breastfeeding Basics

No matter what latch and positioning look like, the true measure is in the answers to these two questions:

  1. Is it effective?
  2. Is it comfortable?

Even if latch and positioning look perfect (and, yes, even if a lactation consultant told you they were fine), pain and/or ineffective milk transfer indicate that there is a problem somewhere, and the first suspect is ineffective latch/positioning.

If baby is transferring milk and gaining weight well, and mom is not hurting, then latch and positioning are – by definition – good, even if it’s nothing like the “textbook” latch and positioning that you’ve seen in books.

“Rules and regulations have no place in the mother-baby relationship. Each mother and baby dyad is different and what works well for one mother and baby may not work well for another mother and baby. The important thing to do is to look at the mother and baby as individuals.”– Andrea Eastman, MA, CCE, IBCLC in The Mother-Baby Dance

Following are some of my favorite resources on latch and positioning:

Biological Nurturing: Laid-Back Breastfeeding from Dr. Suzanne Colson. Breastfeeding in a semi-reclined position can be very helpful for both mom and baby.

Newborn Hands: Why are they always in the way while breastfeeding? from the San Diego Breastfeeding Center

Latching handouts by Diane Wiessinger, MS, IBCLC

Breastfeeding: Off to the best start from the UK Department of Health
(Lovely latching pictures here, with simple directions.)

Deep Latch Technique from The Pump Station.
(Good latching pictures and directions.)

When Latching by Anne J. Barnes, has instructions with drawings
(The drawings and tips here are helpful.)

Latching videos by Dr. Jack Newman

Animation illustrating assymetrical latch technique by Victoria Nesterova
(Nice animation — text is in Russian.)

The Mother-Baby Dance: Positioning and Latch-On by Andrea Eastman, MA, CCE, IBCLC
(This is a longish article written for breastfeeding counselors that has some nice descriptions of latching and positioning, along with info on why some things tend to work better than others.)

Is baby latching on and sucking efficiently? How to tell from AskDrSears.com
(A useful list.)

L-A-T-C-H-E-S * Breastfeeding Assessment Tool (for the first 4 weeks) and Scoring Key by Marie Davis, RN, IBCLC
(A tool for professionals that could also be useful for moms who are wondering if breastfeeding is going fine and whether additional help is needed.)

Help for various nursing positions

Lactation yoga, or side-lying nursing without getting up to switch sides by Eva Lyford, @

Nursing Laying Down (step-by-step description with photos) from Mother-to-Mother.com

Some tips on the football & cross cradle nursing positions by Kathy Kuhn, IBCLC

Some tips on nursing while lying down by Kathy Kuhn, IBCLC

More useful information

Latching: Thoughts on pushing baby’s chin down when latching @

Taking baby off the breast by Marie Davis, IBCLC

PDF Baby-led Latching: An “Intuitive” Approach to Learning How to Breastfeed by Mari Douma, DO, from the Michigan Breastfeeding Network Newsletter, December 2003, Volume 1, Issue 3.

PDF When the Back of the Baby’s Head is Held to Attach the Baby to the Breast by Robyn Noble DMLT, BAppSc(MedSc), IBCLC and Anne Bovey, BspThy

Breast Compression by Jack Newman, MD. The purpose of breast compression is to continue the flow of milk to the baby once the baby no longer drinks on his own, and thus keep him drinking milk. Breast compression simulates a letdown reflex and often stimulates a natural let-down reflex to occur. The technique may be useful for poor weight gain in the baby, colic in the breastfed baby, frequent feedings and/or long feedings, sore nipples in the mother, recurrent blocked ducts and/or mastitis, encouraging the baby who falls asleep quickly to continue drinking.