Ask the Experts: Breathing during breastfeeding

When my baby is breastfeeding, is it normal for his nose to press against my breast? I worry about his breathing and wonder if there's anything I should be doing differently.

A: Many women become concerned about baby’s breathing during breastfeeding. When a baby has latched on correctly, his nose is pressed into the breast, and he breathes from the sides of the nostrils. It is important to avoid pressing a finger against the breast to create space under the baby’s nostrils. This motion often causes the baby’s mouth to slip out of the correct latch position, and even a little slippage can result in nipple trauma. Instead, gently tilt the baby’s head back to clear the nose if the baby’s nostrils appear blocked.

—Kathy Boyls, MD, FAAP, mom of two, pediatrician and author of The Boyls Breastfeeding Method: Your Simple and Practical Guide to Successful Breastfeeding


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