Does Good Latch = Top Lip Flanged?

This topic contains 2 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Sonya Myles Sonya Myles 2 years, 1 month ago.

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  • #5288
    Profile photo of Vanessa Prinz Vanessa Prinz 
    IBCLC

    Hi all, Just wanted to throw out another topic from Lactnet for discussion. Please share any thoughts you may have on this topic. Thanks!

    Date: Sat, 11 Jul 2015 21:17:12 -0400
    From: Sheila Waterstrat
    Subject: top lip?

    What is the general consensus on whether the top lip must be flanged in order to qualify as an adequate latch? I had historically been taught that both lips must be flanged in order to obtain an ideal latch, but recently read that the top lip may not be flanged but in a neutral position. I know more importance is placed on the sucking and swallowing, but I know a mother who has been told she always needs to flip out her baby’s top lip to improve muscle memory if she wants a good latch. Thoughts? Evidence? Thanks!
    Sheila Waterstrat

    #5292

    Hi Vanessa,

    I don’t have evidence on this topic – but in my experience and practice, if the lip is tucked and the baby is nursing well and mom comfortable, I don’t instruct her to flip the lip up. In most cases if the baby is well attached I don’t even see the lips – so if mom is pain free and baby is swallowing, I don’t worry about it.

    Mary

    #5297
    Profile photo of Sonya Myles Sonya Myles 
    IBCLC

    I don’t have any research to quote on this, but generally my approach to breastfeeding is that if isn’t broken I don’t try to fix it. I also don’t go by what I am seeing visually, but rather what the mother is experiencing. I find that sometimes we focus so much on how it should look we don’t consider how it feels until after it “looks” good. By then we may have ruined what was a good latch. So, if it feels good, then I don’t bother with the lips as much, but if it feels bad, then yes, I like to make sure both lips are flanged. My theory is that if a lip is tucked over a gum, curled inward, then baby can “chew” with their gums and lips and produce a high amount of pressure on mom’s nipple areola complex, if lips are flanged, then they don’t have those extra muscles helping to increase that pressure, and this can make things more comfortable for mom. But again, if it feels good it is good, and if it feels bad then it is bad is still my go to motto when working with latch issues.

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