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Deep Latch Technique

Deep Latch Technique

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In order to get milk from the breast, the baby must latch onto the breast. The word "latch" describes the way a baby takes the breast into his/her mouth. The better the latch, the more easily the baby gets mother's milk. The following "deep latch technique" can help your baby feed more easily. It can also prevent damaged and sore nipples.

Remember:It's not supposed to hurt to breastfeed. Sore nipples almost always mean your baby needs to be latched on more deeply.

We offer professional Lactation Consultations. Our team of International Board Certified Lactation Consultants offer one-on-one, gentle, "hands-on" advice for all breastfeeding problems.

  1. Hold your breast with your thumb and index finger on the edge of the areola forming a "C" (football hold), or a "U" (cross cradle hold). Squeeze the finger and thumb toward each other to compress the breast. Keep your fingers off to the side forming "half a sandwich" or just "pinching an inch".
  2. When putting the baby to the breast, support your baby's head with one hand, thumb near one ear, third finger near the other ear, with the web of your hand at the nape of your baby's neck. Tip the head slightly backwards by lifting between your baby's shoulder blades with the heel of your hand.
  3. With your baby's head tilted back and chin up, lift him or her to touch your nipple. The nipple should rest just above the baby's upper lip. Wait for your baby to open very wide, then "scoop" the breast by placing the lower jaw on first. Now tip your baby's head forward and place the upper jaw well behind your nipple. Keep your thumb pressing down to form the flattened sandwich as you place your baby's upper jaw behind the nipple. The lower jaw will be more deeply positioned then the upper jaw.
  4. Wait several seconds, then release your breast. If your baby's nose is buried deeply in the breast, tip the head slightly so you can see your baby's nostril while the nose still touches the breast. There is no need to continue pressing the breast with your thumb.

Tips to remember:

First, all babies have receded chins. If your baby's head drops forward, he/she cannot get the lower jaw correctly positioned deeply under the areola. This results in pinched, sore, blistered, scabbed, nipples and the possibility of poor milk flow.

Second, the deep latch can be achieved with any position of the baby: "football", "cradle", or "cross-cradle" holds, but it is easier if you sit up straight and use pillows to support you and your baby.

Essential Breastfeeding Support and Baby Care Items

The Pump Station & Nurtury® has decades of experience providing new families with outstanding educational, breastfeeding and baby care support, including products and classes which can make all the difference to you and your baby. To see a list of some of the essential products that our Lactation Professionals have recommended, click Essential Breastfeeding and Baby Care Products
See Other Breastfeeding and Baby Care Help Topics

Copyright ©2017 by The Pump Station & Nurtury®. All rights reserved. No part of this handout may be reproduced in any form without permission from The Pump Station. This article has not been prepared by a physician, is not intended as medical advice, and is not a substitute for regular medical care. Consult with a physician if medical symptoms or problems occur. Revised 05/2010

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Raynaud's Phenomenon (Vasospasm of the Nipple)

Raynaud's Phenomenon (Vasospasm of the Nipple)

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Raynaud's phenomenon is a term used to describe intermittent loss of blood flow to some extremities due to a spasm in the blood vessels (vasospasm). The most commonly affected areas are the fingers and toes, but it can affect the nipples as well. The constriction of blood flow causes a loss of color and severe pain. Raynaud's phenomenon is known to occur in up to 22% of otherwise healthy women of childbearing age, and is now recognized by many lactation experts as a treatable cause of painful breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding women with Raynaud’s phenomenon experience debilitating nipple pain that usually follows the feeding (although it can occur during the feeding) and may last for hours. When the warm mouth of the baby comes off the breast, the face of the nipple, or part of the nipple, will blanch white and burning pain begins. The nipple can go through several color changes (white, blue, red) and the entire breast may throb. Poor positioning and poor latch may cause nipple damage, nipple blanching and pain, and are thought by some to trigger the problem. However, the symptoms of Raynaud’s phenomenon can occur even without improper breastfeeding techniques and nipple damage. Not all nipple vasospasm is Raynaud's Phenomenon and may fully resolve if the latch can be improved and the damage healed. Exposure to cold is also a known trigger in Raynaud’s phenomenon.

Treatment Options include the following:
  • If your nipples are sore and damaged, make an appointment to see a lactation professional who can evaluate your latch technique and help you to improve it.
    Lactation Consultations are offered at The Pump Station & Nurtury®
  • Prevent or decrease any cold exposure to your breasts. Heat will usually stop the vasospasm, which will increase blood flow to the nipples and help alleviate the pain.
    • Cover breasts and keep them warm. Even your warm hands can help.
    • While nursing, keep the opposite breast covered and warm.
    • Wear hand warmers inside your bra when going out into cold air.
    • Use dry heat when experiencing pain. Try a hair dryer or heating pad to warm breasts. Wet, warm compresses will help during use, but when removed, evaporation will occur causing cooling, and the pain can start again.
    • Massage olive oil, warmed between your fingers, into the nipple when it is burning. Press forward from the base of the nipple which helps blood flow forward into the nipple.
  • Don't smoke. Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor and can increase episodes.
  • Avoid caffeine and other stimulants. Check labels to make sure soft drinks don't contain caffeine.
  • Avoid vibration. Use a good quality breast pump that has a smooth, comfortable action.
  • Reduce stess. Try a post partum yoga class, a few minutes of meditation or a little nap when the baby is sleeping. Let others help with cooking and chores if at all possible.
Medication:
  • Nifedipine. (one 30 mg., long-acting tablet/daily). This prescriptive medication is a calcium channel blocker and vasodilator used in the treatment of high blood pressure. It has been shown to be very effective in quickly relieving the pain of Raynaud's phenomenon and might be the best course of treatment. Very little of this medication enters the milk so it is considered by the American Academy of Pediatrics to be a safe option for breastfeeding women. Call your primary care physician or your obstetrician to discuss. Try Nifedipine for two weeks; if the pain returns you can go back on the medication.
  • Vitamin B6. Take 100-200 mg daily for 4 days, then 25 mg/day from then on. If pain free for 2 weeks, try weaning off altogether.
  • Fish Oil has been helpful to some women. A recent study suggests that a higher than usual dose (perhaps 12 g daily) is required to get results. Check with your physician.

Essential Breastfeeding Support and Baby Care Items
The Pump Station & Nurtury® has decades of experience providing new families with outstanding educational, breastfeeding and baby care support, including products and classes which can make all the difference to you and your baby. To see a list of some of the essential products that our Lactation Professionals have recommended, click Essential Breastfeeding and Baby Care Products
Items Our Team Recommends
breast pain relief cold compress Lansinoh Breast Therapy
Lansinoh 3-1 Breast Therapy
soothe sore breasts with warm booby tubes
Earth Mama Booby Tubes
Easier pumping with Medela Breast Pump
Medela Breast Pumps
deep latch help with nursing pillow
Luna Lullaby Nursing Pillow
better deep-latch with back pillow
The Pump Station Back Pillow
get deep latch using adjustable stool
My Brest Friend Adjustable Stool

Copyright© 2014 by The Pump Station & Nurtury®. All rights reserved. No part of this handout may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, without permission in writing from The Pump Station & Nurtury®. This article has not been prepared by a physician, is not intended as medical advice, and is not a substitute for regular medical care. Consult with a physician if medical symptoms or problems occur. Revised 01/06
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