Breastfeeding is a very crucial part of motherhood. 

Apart from promoting the bonding between mother and child, it goes a long way to sustain the good health of both the mother and baby.

But to get enough milk to satisfy your baby physically, the baby needs a good and proper latch to facilitate the production and expression of breast milk when suckled by the baby.

Is this achievable?, the answer is simply Yes. So let's quickly distinguish between signs of a good latch and a bad latch during breastfeeding so that you'll know what you've been doing rightly or wrongly. 


Differences between a good latch and a bad latch During breastfeeding.

The following are the differences between a good latch and a bad latch,

1 Position of the chin and nose of the baby during feeding

When the baby doesn't gouge the areola while nursing but instead gnaws on your breast due to the position of the chin and nose, this is a sign of a bad latch. However, if the baby's chin and the tip of her nose are touching your breast, this is a sign of a good latch because it will encourage the flow of milk for breastfeeding.

2. Licking sounds by the baby 

If your baby is fussing, gnawing, gaping, turning red, or making clicking noises, it's likely that she's getting a mouthful of breast and air instead of milk as a result of a poor latch. 

Once you've got the right latch, though, your baby will naturally fall into the gentle suck-swallow-breath pattern of feeding.

Read also: How to breastfeed properly: Avoiding Bad latch (Pictures)


3. Shape of baby's lips during feeding 

Your entire nipple and at least an inch of your areola should be in your baby's mouth for a good latch. 

Additionally, your baby's lips should be turned out (fish lips) and flat against your breast. 

If, however, they are not turned out like fish but instead have their lips tucked in and under the mouth, then it shows the latch is not working properly and that's a bad one.

4 Sore nipple 

Your baby should be sucking and swallowing, and you should be able to do it without experiencing any pain. 

When the baby first latches on, there may be a little tenderness, but it shouldn't be excruciatingly uncomfortable and it shouldn't persist the entire feeding. 

Your breasts ought to feel softer and less plump after each feeding. 

However, if your nipples are uncomfortable and nursing is getting increasingly unpleasant, a poor latch is to blame.


5. Happy and satisfied baby 

If your baby appears content and satisfied after breastfeeding, they most likely had a good latch; 

however, if they appear sad and dissatisfied and still exhibit indications of hunger, they most likely had a poor latch so what is the difference between a good latch and a bad latch? 

I guess at this you can differentiate them comfortably.

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6. Weight gain 

If your baby is gaining weight and developing as expected and healthily as it should, it will reassure you that breastfeeding is successful; 

however, if your baby is losing weight or not gaining weight at a healthy rate, please check as that could be an indication of a poor latch.

And you'll need to revisit your latching skills.


7. Sucking pattern

The baby's tongue should ideally be on the part of the breast beneath the nipple. When your child tries to breastfeed, the tongue should lay over the baby's lower gum and if your child is sucking in their cheeks, this is a sign of a poor latch.

Steps to getting a baby to latch

Here is a guide to aiding your baby in latching on and receiving the comfort and nutrition that she requires:

  • Hold your breast with your free hand after your infant is in a comfortable nursing posture.
  • At the point where your baby's nose will meet your breast, place your thumb between your nipple and areola. Your baby's chin should touch the breast where your index finger is positioned.
  • Compress your breast just enough to make it more resemble your baby's mouth.
  • Bring your infant to your breast and stroke her cheek to trigger the rooting reflex, causing her mouth to turn in your direction.


In conclusion 

Solutions to common latching issues

Have issues latched on? A few of the most typical latching issues are resolved as follows:

An inappropriate position. 

You shouldn't lean over your infant and force your breast into her mouth. 

Try bringing your infant closer to you instead.


The baby's body is crooked. 

Make sure your baby is facing you with her head and body so she can concentrate fully on the activity at hand.


The body of the baby is too far away. 

If your nipple is out of reach, eating is impossible.


Unfilled breast. Because little to nothing comes out when your baby suckers, she might not be able to latch.

flat or upside-down nipples a baby's ability to latch on may be more challenging, but it is not always impossible.

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