Asymmetrical Latch: How to decrease pain when latching an infant


Don’t line that baby’s mouth up with your nipple, truuust me




It would seem to make sense that you’d put a baby’s mouth directly across from the food source. But no...


Instead

  1. Have baby further down, with their 👃 across from the nipple.

  2. There should be nothing between you two—you should be tummy to tummy with baby’s ear, shoulder and nose in a line vs. their hips twisted out and away from your body.

  3. Baby’s neck extends as they approach the nipple, they plant their chin into breast tissue.

  4. Baby’s rooting reflex is stimulated when proximal to breast if hungry (so long as reflex is intact), but be picky and wait for a big gaping mouth (like a yawn) before assisting baby to latch.

  5. Bring baby to you vs. you sticking breast in baby’s mouth.

  6. Ideally, upon latching the nipple would land where the soft palate meets the hard palate, at the roof of babies mouth. This is why we want that asymmetry—as the nipple isn’t centred in the mouth, it’s at the roof of baby’s mouth!

  7. The tongue grooves underneath the nipple and breast tissue and with a bit of suction creates a teat.

  8. A combo of suction and a rhythmic peristalsis of the tongue compresses the ducts around the areola and beyond and “milks” out the ducts.

🌈 the more ya know


N.B. Breastfeeding positions are hard to learn from a set of instructions. You learn from doing, and watching others. This is why peer support is so awesome/pandemic sucks so hard.

Learning feeding positions isn’t a left brained thing. Your instincts to latch your baby may be stronger than you give yourself credit for. However, how you start off might affect yours and baby’s own reflexes and instincts.

Instead of sitting on a chair and having baby on a pillow and cradling baby:

get in bed topless, lean back like 40 degrees-ish on a couple comfy pillows, put baby (in only a diaper) on your upper chest, facing you. Your body will hold their weight. Let baby bob towards the breast with only a bit of postural support. This “biological nurturing” position helps reflexes come out and often baby latches beautifully, on their own and ends up hanging out in the crook of your arm, slightly upright as they feed.

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