What is the secret to getting a good latch?

  1.  Start by helping mom position herself comfortably.

Here a few basic positions to try,

Use pillows to help her support her arms and baby. Once baby is in a good position (ear, shoulder and hip aligned), encourage mom to use her hand, the web part between her thumb and pointer finger, to cradle the nape of baby’s neck so her head can slightly tip back a little placing her nose in the sniffing position. Have mom gently compress her breast and aim her nipple up towards baby’s nose.


  1.  As baby’s mouth opens wide, have mom bring baby’s mouth in closer to her to latch (chin first).

How to get the right latch

Watch a quick video on getting a good latch here,

Once a new mom feels what a good latch is like, she will never forget it.

  1.  Feel - A good latch may feel a little uncomfortable with the first several sucks as the nipple elongates, but in no less than a minute, the only sensation that she should feel is a tugging or nothing at all 
  2.  See – Watch as her new little one takes long slow sucks when the milk is flowing followed by several bursts of short sucks in between to initiate another flow of milk
  3.  Hear – As let-down occurs, or the milk starts to flow, she should hear her baby swallowing. This may not be as evident the first few days of colostrum, but once the milk is in, it is hard to miss


Written by: Pamela K. Murphy, PhD, MS, APRN, CNM, IBCLC
Nurse-midwife, lactation consultant, OB nurse, educator, healthcare administrator, mother & wife

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OB Nurses – How to Recognize Newborn Feeding Cues

Why are feeding cues important for breastfeeding success?

Recognizing early feeding cues lets mom and her little one get ready to breastfeed. When this new little person is starting to get hungry and starts to show cues, you have a little time to help mom get ready. Encourage mom to get in a comfortable position, with a glass of water nearby, some pillows, and whatever else she needs or likes to do to help relax and breastfeed. It is so much better to do all of this before her baby starts crying frantically and is hard to settle, let alone too upset to latch on well.

What should you look for? (and, teach mom, dad, siblings, family and friends to look for)

  • This new little one is putting his or hands towards, or in his or her mouth
  • Someone is sticking out their tongue, over and over again
  • He or she is moving their head back and forth, maybe trying to latch on. If a family member or friend is holding the baby, they may notice and state, “someone is looking to eat”.

Here’s some more breastfeeding tips to help get your new moms off to a good start, https://s22825.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Helping_Your_Baby_Take_the_Breast_English-1.pdf

Written by: Pamela K. Murphy, PhD, MS, APRN, CNM, IBCLC

Nurse-midwife, lactation consultant, OB nurse, educator, healthcare administrator, mother & wife

The Magic of Skin to Skin-Connecting the Breastfeeding DYAD

What is skin to skin?

Placing a naked newborn or infant directly on mom’s bare chest between her breasts. Mom’s body heat will keep her little one warm. Once the infant is safely on mom’s chest, place a blanket over her infant’s back - this will keep the infant from losing heat to the air. And yes, a diaper and hat are okay to keep on.

Why is skin to skin good for breastfeeding?

Not only does skin to skin help maintain, or elevate, an infant’s body temperature, skin to skin helps stimulate the infant’s brain. Skin to skin awakens an infant’s natural instincts to root, latch and breastfeed. Bonding, emotional and social development happens in this intimate position too.

Sleepy newborn? Latch concerns?

If you haven’t tried using skin to skin yet, try it.

NEWBORN – Caring for a sleepy baby that hasn’t awaken to eat in several hours? Place the baby skin to skin. Leave mom and baby for 10 minutes and come back. You will be surprised that more than likely the baby has already started rooting or has even latched on and is breastfeeding.

INFANT – If you have a mom who is having issues with latch or milk supply, try it. Skin to skin helps both mom and infant relax and enjoy just being with each other. Skin to skin also stimulates hormones related to milk making.


Written by: Pamela K. Murphy, PhD, MS, APRN, CNM, IBCLC
Nurse-midwife, lactation consultant, OB nurse, educator, healthcare administrator, mother & wife

New & Experienced OB Nurses – A Little Advice to Share with New Breastfeeding Moms

Before I had my own children, I wish I had known a few more things that I could pass on to new moms to make breastfeeding easier. Now, with years of experience as an OB nurse, certified nurse midwife, lactation consultant, and mother of my own 3 breastfed children, I am sharing some wisdom with you:


IMMEDIATE & CONTINUED SKIN TO SKIN– babies spend months inside of their warm mother; skin to skin - it is amazing to watch both mom and newborn relax in this position, and when it seems like too much time has gone by between feedings, lie baby skin to skin and watch someone wake up and start to root, awake and ready to feed




FEEDING CUES – you know them, hand sucking, tongue sticking out, rooting; teach feeding cues to mom, dad, partner, grandma, grandpa, big sister or brother so they know that these are not just cute actions a baby does, but something they do that means they are ready to breastfeed




RIGHT LATCH – this is critical and yes, babies have instincts to breastfeed but both mom and baby can use a little help at first; support baby’s neck, sandwich mom’s breast, aim nipple up, wait for baby’s wide mouth and aim his or her chin into mom’s breast leaving a little space between the breast and baby’s nose, the nipple pointing towards the back of the baby’s palate; a good latch may feel a little uncomfortable at first, but after the first few sucks, it should feel like just a pulling sensation (if you are a visual learner like me, you may prefer to just watch this minute long video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ClxCZmfF8ng


PRACTICE FREQUENTLY – yes, about every 3 hours, about 8-12x/day; remember mom’s breasts make milk in response to baby sucking at the breast




Soothe sore nipplesSOOTHE SORE NIPPLES – nipples can get sore in the first few days of breastfeeding; recommend that moms soothe dry or cracked nipples with lanolin or a non-lanolin nipple ointment after each feeding



Eat, drink & sleepEAT, DRINK & SLEEP – encourage moms to keep up these basics; without fulfilling these basic needs, mom’s milk supply can suffer; remind family and friends that eating, drinking and sleeping is very important and they can help her have a healthy milk supply by bringing healthy snacks or meals when visiting, making  sure mom has a glass of water close by at all times, and encouraging her to take a nap or two throughout the day



To Download this article in PDF form, click here.

Written by: Pamela K. Murphy, PhD, MS, APRN, CNM, IBCLC

Nurse-midwife, lactation consultant, OB nurse, educator, healthcare administrator, mother & wife

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Making it Work: Supporting Nursing Moms at Work

The Ameda Professional Webinar Series has been developed to support healthcare professionals in promoting breastfeeding to mothers and soon-to-be mothers.

Ameda is proud to provide an unrestricted educational grant to GOLD Learning to offer the following accredited live presentation.  This free webinar offers several types of CEs for Nurses, Midwives, Lactation Consultants & Dietitians. Simply click on the registration link below to be redirected to GOLD Learning to register for the live presentation.

Making it Work: Supporting Nursing Moms at Work

Cathy Carothers, BLA, IBCLC, FILCA

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017
4-5pm EST
3pm CST, 2pm MST, 1pm PST

There has to be an easier way! Many women returning to work after the birth of a baby find that the challenges are great…especially if they are breastfeeding, and the challenges range from lack of time and space to emotional and physical demands. The challenges are even greater for low-wage workers employed in more challenging, non-office settings, where private space options are much more difficult to identify, and where women often feel devalued and lack of confidence to speak up about their needs. For many women, discontinuing breastfeeding seems like the easiest “solution,” impacting maternal and infant health. This session will address the key issues of women returning to work, with workable solutions for supporting women with time and space for milk expression at work, and resources that can help.

Registration Link

Cathy Carothers is co-director of Every Mother, a non-profit organization providing lactation training for health professionals. An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant since 1996, she has provided more than 600 training events and conference presentations in every U.S. state/territory and several countries. She is past president of the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA), a fellow of ILCA, and past chair of the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee. She chairs the design team for the equity initiative in the lactation consultant profession, and chairs the Monetary Investment for Lactation Consultant Certification (MILCC), which works to reduce financial barriers to the IBCLC exam. She has directed several national breastfeeding promotion and support initiatives for the U.S. federal government, including the national USDA WIC peer counseling program, and national workplace support initiatives through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She was honored with the 2014 National Leadership Award from the National WIC Association.

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