The Direct Latching (Nursing) Rules

(when the baby is latching directly onto the breast with or without a nipple shield).

At Balanced Breastfeeding, if you are lactating, you are breastfeeding. Since breastfeeding can include pumping your milk or directly latching, we use the term nursing when speaking about direct latching.  If you haven’t read The Breastfeeding Rules, check those out too.

Nursing must be comfortable and effective.

Breastfeeding must be comfortable.

  • It is common for your nipples to feel sensitive, tender, chapped, or sore for the first 10 days of breastfeeding.​ Around 10 days your nipples should be getting better, not worse.
  • It is not normal to have toe curling pain, cracks, bleeding, or scabbing.​ ​If breastfeeding isn’t comfortable, we go back to rule #1.​ Keep the baby fed by using a bottle of supplemental pumped milk or formula if you can’t latch directly. Pump to protect your supply if you can’t latch directly. Seek help so you can get the baby back to the breast

Breastfeeding must be effective.

  • Effective means the baby has adequate diaper output and doesn’t lose too much weight in the first three days.​ After that, effective means baby starts to regain his weight and trends back upwards, gaining 0.75-1 oz per day. Ideally, baby is back to birth weight by 14 days old.
  • Make sure that you ask and document your baby’s weight every time he or she is weighed in the hospital or at the pediatrician’s office.​ To do your own math and make sure your baby didn’t lose too much weight.
  • If breastfeeding isn’t effective, we go back to rule #1.​ Feed the baby by directly breastfeeding and/or bottle feeding to make sure baby is getting enough to eat. Protect your supply by pumping in place of or after breastfeeding to let your body know what is going on. Seek help so you have a partner to manage all this extra work you are doing!