Why does it hurt when baby latches? – bamboobies

Breastfeeding 101

  • Why does it hurt when baby latches?

Why does it hurt when baby latches?

Breastfeeding a new baby can be very uncomfortable for some. Just take a moment to think about it- a very tender area (your nipples) are all of a sudden getting constantly stimulated with yanking, pulling, and suckling! Sure, they will be sore and tender to the touch at first. However, it should never be painful. Pain is a sign that something is not quite right and should be checked out by a qualified lactation professional. Feel free to follow the links below to find the right support for you in your area!

When a medical issue is not the reason for a painful latch, easing the common discomfort of breastfeeding can be done on your own by ensuring a proper, deep latch and using a variety of therapy products.

Signs of a proper latch:

  • Nose to chin
    • When inserting breast into baby’s mouth, go from nose to chin and roll in the nipple
  • Fish Lips
    • Baby’s lips should be rolled outward
    • Baby’s lips should be in as much contact as possible with the areola
      • Little areola should be showing (depending on size)
  • Suction
    • Baby’s cheeks should appear full
    • You should not hear clicking noises or see dimpling on cheeks
  • Baby's Cues
    • Baby is relaxed at the breast, no longer fussing 
    • Baby is not pulling off the breast

Once you have the basics of latching down, the positioning baby properly also helps increase breastfeeding comfort.

Proper positioning:

  • Is your baby focused and ready to feed?
    • Does baby like to be swaddled or unswaddled?
    • Are they displaying hunger cues?
  • Tummy to tummy
    • Baby’s tummy should be facing mom’s tummy when feeding
    • Baby’s head should be straight on to breast, no turning necessary

Need some help recovering from the early days of breastfeeding? Nipple balm and therapy pillows are the perfect remedy!

  • Post author
    Kerry Gilmartin

Comments on this post (3)

  • Apr 14, 2016

    I’m convinced sometimes it just varies by kid!

    My first hurt to latch every single time. She nursed until she was 19 months old. I went to 4 different lactation consultants. It was miserable.

    My second, I have not had a day of pain with her!

    Recently, my 2 year old asked to latch again, and I figured “why not, she’s probably jealous of her sister.” I was sore for 2 days after that! She’s not allowed to latch anymore :(.

    I do everything the same with both of them. I’m so glad #2 has been so much easier!

    — Rachel

  • Dec 11, 2015

    Hi Abby,

    Thank you for the comment! It actually is “nose to chin” because it is referring to the motion of the mother’s nipple when sweeping in for a latch. “Nose to chin, bring them in” is a saying that is widely used in the lactation professional community.

    As for the picture of the baby latched-this is an older baby with an established latch-he is doing everything perfectly!

    — bamboobies support

  • Nov 21, 2015

    That picture looks painful! Baby is NOT on the breast as he should be—that’s a picture of what you’re NOT supposed to do. Also, don’t go from nose to chin, but chin to nose.

    — Abby

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