Noreen Stonor Drexel Birthing Center
Newport Hospital

The Latch-On

Correct latch-on is an important part of breastfeeding. Your baby should not latch on to your nipple alone; your baby needs to get a good amount of areolar tissue into his or her mouth to be able to get enough milk from your breast, and to prevent your breast from becoming sore. Proper positioning of the baby during feeding helps to promote good latch-on.

Woman and newborn infant
Your health care provider and our certified lactation consultants can provide additional information and answer your questions about breastfeeding.

Signs of proper latch-on include:

  • The nipple and most of the areola are in baby's mouth
  • Baby's tongue is over his or her lower gum
  • Baby's lips are turned outward
  • Baby remains on the breast
  • You do not feel any pain

When it is time to take baby off your breast, slide a clean finger into the corner of her mouth. This will break the suction between her mouth and your breast. To avoid trauma to your nipple, do not pull the baby off your breast.


It's important to burp your baby between breasts and after feedings to remove air swallowed during the feeding. Don't worry if your baby does not burp within his first few days. Not all babies do.

To burp your baby, you can hold your baby over your shoulder, lay your baby stomach down across your lap, or sit your baby on your lap, supporting her chin. Pat or gently stroke your baby's back in an upward motion. If your baby does not burp within a few minutes, continue with the feeding. Your baby may not have swallowed a lot of air while nursing.

Frequency of feedings