There are many reasons moms experience pain when breastfeeding, and a shallow or poor latch is the leading cause. When your baby's latch isn't deep enough, it can cause sore, dry nipples, engorgment, underfeeding and more, which is why getting a deep latch right off the bat is essential for a successful breastfeeding relationship. However, learning ways to make your baby open wider when latching can be easier said than done.
Shallow latch, which according to the Office On Women's Health causes your nipple to rub against the bones in your baby's mouth, is incredibly painful and can be discouraging if you're not informed of the simple steps to changing your baby's latch.
According to La Leche League International (LLLI), breastfeeding may be uncomfortable in the beginning, but it shouldn't hurt. If you feel pain, it's likely a sign that something may not be quite right with your latch. Luckily, getting baby to latch on deeper and to open their mouth wider can be done with a few simple techniques. According to LLLI, babies should open their mouth about as wide as a yawn when they're latching on, to ensure that enough of the breast is in their mouth. And, with these easy techniques, you can make sure that happens.
1. Use The "Flipple" Technique
This technique is especially useful for babies with tongue tie or other medical conditions that make it difficult for them to latch, but it can be used for anyone who simply wants their baby to take more of the breast into their mouth. To perform the flippie technique, according to the The Milk Meg, hold your baby either in a cradle hold or the koala hold where baby is more vertical than horizontal. Then point your baby's nose at your nipple and wait for them to open very wide, using your finger to "flip" their upper lip open as they latch.
2. Use Chin Contact
Most don't think of the chin as an important factor when latching on, but in an interview with Romper, Kristin Gourley IBCLC, founder of Lactation Link, explains that the chin is actually fundamental in getting your baby to open wider. Having your baby's chin make contact with your breast just under your nipple will help them tilt their head up and back to get a wider "bite." Gourley explains:
Just like you bite into a big sandwich by touching your bottom jaw first then reaching over with your top teeth to bite down, baby touches their chin to the breast then quickly comes up and over the nipple to latch on widely.
3. Go Nipple-To-Nose
According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), mothers often make the mistake of aiming their nipple for the middle of baby's mouth, when you should be aiming your nipple at their nose, to cause them to tilt their head up and open their mouth wider.