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The Leaky Boob shares her expert tips on finding the perfect latch for your baby

There’s a wide range of “normal”—if it’s comfortable and it’s working, it’s a good latch.

The Leaky Boob shares her expert tips on finding the perfect latch for your baby

“I’m really scared of breastfeeding.” Pregnant with her first, my friend subconsciously rubbed her 34 week belly as I made dinner and we chatted. Puzzled, I asked her why. She said she googled and learned that it can be so painful—particularly if they don’t have a good latch.


“How do you get a good latch?” she asked me.

She went on to explain that she had read different blogs and forums about how hard it was to get a good latch—women with bleeding nipples, and babies not gaining weight. She wondered what was the secret to a good latch and what if it didn’t happen for her. It’s true that these issues do happen (and probably far too often) but here she was—weeks away from having her little baby, scheduled to take a breastfeeding class in the next couple of weeks, and worried that she was facing a world of pain if she couldn’t get this elusive latch.

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Earlier that same day I had coffee with a good friend—an IBCLC at a local hospital. The topic of this elusive perfect latch came up and she surprised me by telling me that she thinks we make too big deal about the latch.

“If mom isn’t in pain and baby has plenty of soiled and wet diapers, why do we need to mess with anything? Sure, if there’s a problem such as pain or a dehydrated baby then we need to fix what we can, but so what if that bottom lip is curled in if it’s not bothering anything.”

In other words—if it’s comfortable and it’s working, it’s a good latch.

There is a wide range of normal. In general, if everything is working right, babies are ready to breastfeed and mom’s breasts are ready to feed them. It just works and we really don’t need to mess with it—it doesn’t have to be this complicated endeavor. Maybe it will be difficult, but we don’t have to expect trouble. More often than not, women simply need support.

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If mom is experiencing difficulty with pain or ineffective milk transfer for her baby, she may not even realize that the way her baby is latched could be what’s causing the problem or that it may even be a fairly simple fix. When there are issues such as poor weight gain for baby or bleeding nipples the first thing to consider is a poor latch. If you are ever experiencing pain with breastfeeding that is more than a brief moment of discomfort or lasts beyond initial latch please seek out help, pain is usually an indication of a problem than can be corrected. This doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong, it just means you probably need help.

I talked with my friend Star Rodriguez, IBCLC of Lactastic Services and WIC peer counselor to get her best tips on improving your little one’s latch.


When do you need to consider latch issues and improving your nursling’s latch?

—When breastfeeding is painful beyond the initial latching.

—When there is tissue damage to your nipples.

—When there are weight gain issues for the baby.

What latch pointers can moms try?

—Mom is in a comfortable position and has brought the baby to her level to her instead of leaning down to the baby.

—Baby has wide open mouth.

—Baby’s body is facing yours and baby’s arms are not pushing away at you.

—It is best to let the breast fall naturally if possible.

—If large breasted or when milk first comes in, it may be helpful to hold your breast with your hand.

—Aim baby’s nose toward the nipple; if necessary to encourage a wider mouth, tickle the very top of the baby’s upper lip with your nipple.

—Latch should be asymmetrical. Chin will touch the breast, nose will be unobstructed. You do not need to push your breast away from your baby’s nose in a good latch.

—You will hear or see baby swallowing—short sucks/swallows at first, longer ones as milk starts to let down.

—If using a nipple shield, ensure that the nipple and surrounding tissue is being pulled into the shield.

What can a mom do to try to improve a painful or ineffective latch?


—If baby isn’t opening mouth wide enough, attempt to show baby by opening your own mouth wide. Many babies will subconsciously mimic this.

—Make a “breastwich” with your hand in the shape of a C behind the areola to help baby get a bigger mouthful.

—Get baby as naked as possible for skin-to-skin or lightly dressed.

—Hold baby securely, a snug, close hold will help.

—Pull baby in quickly when mouth is open wide.

—It is common to experience some discomfort at latch in the first few weeks of breastfeeding. It should go away as the feeding continues. If it does not end after around 30 seconds, you may need to remove the baby from the breast and reposition the baby. Break the suction by placing your little finger into the corner of the baby’s mouth and trying to latch again. Some lactation consultants can show you ways to fix a latch without taking the baby off the breast, but those are easier to learn from being shown rather than told. You may need to put the baby in a different nursing hold or position.

When should a lactation consultant be called?

—Repositioning doesn’t work

If there is sudden soreness after there has been painless nursing.

—If you feel stabbing or burning pain in breasts or at latch.

—If you have cracked or bleeding nipples.

—If your latch is not painful but your baby is not having a good amount of wet and dirty diapers.


A version of this article was originally published on The Leaky Boob.

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These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

1. Go apple picking.

Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

4. Have a touch-football game.

Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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This is my one trick to get baby to sleep (and it always works!)

There's a reason why every mom tells you to buy a sound machine.

So in my defense, I grew up in Florida. As a child of the sunshine state, I knew I had to check for gators before sitting on the toilet, that cockroaches didn't just scurry, they actually flew, and at that point, the most popular and only sound machine I had ever heard of was the Miami Sound Machine.

I was raised on the notion that the rhythm was going to get me, not lull me into a peaceful slumber. Who knew?!

Well evidently science and, probably, Gloria Estefan knew, but I digress.

When my son was born, I just assumed the kid would know how to sleep. When I'm tired that's what I do, so why wouldn't this smaller more easily exhausted version of me not work the same way? Well, the simple and cinematic answer is, he is not in Kansas anymore.

Being in utero is like being in a warm, soothing and squishy spa. It's cozy, it's secure, it comes with its own soundtrack. Then one day the spa is gone. The space is bigger, brighter and the constant stream of music has come to an abrupt end. Your baby just needs a little time to acclimate and a little assist from continuous sound support.

My son, like most babies, was a restless and active sleeper. It didn't take much to jolt him from a sound sleep to crying like a banshee. I once microwaved a piece of pizza, and you would have thought I let 50 Rockettes into his room to perform a kick line.

I was literally walking on eggshells, tiptoeing around the house, watching the television with the closed caption on.

Like adults, babies have an internal clock. Unlike adults, babies haven't harnessed the ability to hit the snooze button on that internal clock. Lucky for babies they have a great Mama to hit the snooze button for them.

Enter the beloved by all—sound machines.

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Chrissy Teigen/Instagram

When Chrissy Teigen announced her third pregnancy earlier this year we were so happy for her and now our hearts are with her as she is going through a pain that is unimaginable for many, but one that so many other mothers know.

Halfway through a high-risk pregnancy complicated by placenta issues, Teigen announced late Wednesday that she has suffered a pregnancy loss.

Our deepest condolences go out to Chrissy and her husband, John Legend (who has been by her side in the hospital for several days now).

In a social media post, Teigen explained she named this baby Jack.

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"We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we've never felt before. We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn't enough," she wrote.

She continued: "We never decide on our babies' names until the last possible moment after they're born, just before we leave the hospital. But we, for some reason, had started to call this little guy in my belly Jack. So he will always be Jack to us. Jack worked so hard to be a part of our little family, and he will be, forever."

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