Today’s Podcast

122  :FAQ 7  How do I tell if I need to be concerned about the latch?

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In todays show, we are going to answer the question: How do you tell If you need to be concerned about the latch. It is unrealistic to think that I can help you assess and fix the latch in this show, however, I find that education and prevention can go a long way. I meet with so many moms who did not know the signs of a poor latch. They just did not know anything was wrong until they started to have severe pain or until they went to a pediatric visit and found out there baby has lost too much weight.

I will give you very specific ways of learning if you need help with breastfeeding and
I am giving you handouts that you can download that give you the same information I am sharing with you today. On top of all that, please know that you are not alone. If you cannot figure things out in a day or two, please know that I can help you.

The link for the handouts will be in the show notes and you can find them at:
The link to learn how we can work together so I can help you through this rough patch that you are going through will also be in the show notes, and you can also find them at:

With any skill that you learn, getting the foundation of that skill down pat, is the key to success.
If the foundation is shaky, all else that comes after it, will be rather shaky.
The foundation to successful breastfeeding – it’s all in the latch.
Their are times when the latch is off and we can make a significant change by making adjustments to what you are doing. There are times when it has less to do with the technique you are using and more about your breast or nipple anatomy and possibly with your babies oral cavity – their palate or how they are using there tongue.

In other words, you are doing all you can to help your baby achieve the best latch possible, but there are other things coming into play here. It is my job as an IBCLC to figure out what else is happening to make latching your baby on difficult.

If you are experiencing any of the following “red flags” I am about to discuss, you should be concerned about the latch.

Here we go with me sounding like a broken record and saying my famous mantra:

Breastfeeding should not be hurting. Not on Day 1 or Day 2 or Day 3. Your baby should be gaining weight after the 4th day of life and be back to birthweight by the time he is 2 weeks old. If your baby is not gaining appropriately, you will want to seek help immediately.

Signs that breastfeeding is going well:

1. Your baby only loses up to 5-7 oz in the first 4 days
2. Your baby begins to gain weight by the 5th day.
3. Your baby is back up to birthweight at the 2 week visit.
4. Your baby wakes up at least 8 times a day for feeding.
5. Your baby comes to the breast and feedings are comfortable for you.
6. Your baby is clearly hungry before feeds and clearly satiated (full belly) when done.
7. By Day 4, your baby has the appropriate amount of output.( 4 wet, 3 yellowish stools)
8. You are experiencing comfortable breastfeeding with no nipple pain or breast pain.
9. After 2 weeks of age, your baby continues to gain 1 oz per day, at least up until 6 months

Signs that breastfeeding is not going well
1. Baby loses more than 10% of birthweight in the first 4 days.
2. Baby continues to lose weight after the 4th day.
3. Baby is not back to birthweight at 2 weeks old.
4. Baby shows persistent hunger cues. Baby does not seem to be full after most feedings at the breast.
5. Breastfeedings that take an hour or longer with baby not seeming full.
6. Your baby is either extremely fussy or excessively tired.
7 Your 4 day old baby has less than 4 soaking wet diapers and 3 quarter size yellow mustardy stools every 24 hours.
8. Mom needs to supplement because baby is not getting enough at breast, or she is not making enough to meet baby’s needs.
9. Mom needs to pump because it is too painful to breastfeed.
10. Mom needs to pump because she is not making enough milk.

You don’t want to take anything on this list out of context. I would say that if you can check off 2 or more items on this list of Red Flags, you can benefit greatly from seeking expert lactation help. There are times when breastfeeding is actually going quite well but your baby is just a bit under the usual output, or is just a bit under birthweight, In this case, you are probably doing fine. It is the too much weight loss, ongoing weight loss, less than normal output, painful breasts or nipples that are common signs of poor latch and this is what you want to address sooner rather than later. This can make all the difference in your ability to be able to breastfeed as long as you desire.

It is not normal to feel the need to pump because you are so engorged or because breastfeeding is hurting so much. This typically indicates that your baby may not be latching on properly. Sometimes mothers need more help then they can get from pictures or a book. There is no need for you to be at home frustrated with breastfeeding. There is help available. GET the help you need so you can continue breastfeeding.

I leave you with todays quote:

Education is learning what you didn’t even know you didn’t even know. Daniel J. Boorstin

Lori J. Isenstadt, IBCLC

Lori j Isenstadt, IBCLCLori Jill Isenstadt, IBCLC is a huge breastfeeding supporter.  She has spent much  of her adult life working in the maternal health field. Once she became turned on to birth and became a childbirth educator, there was no stopping her love of working with families during their childbearing years.  Lori became a Birth doula and a Postpartum doula and soon became a lactation consultant.  She has been helping moms and babies with breastfeeding for over 25 years.  Lori founded her private practice, All About Breastfeeding where she meets with moms one on one to help solve their breastfeeding challenges.  She is an international speaker, book author and the host of the  popular itunes podcast, All About Breastfeeding, the place where the girls hang out.  You can reach Lori by email at: [email protected] or contact her via her website:

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