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Break The Suction

How To Remove A Baby From The Breast

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Updated February 28, 2013

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

When your baby is latched on to your breast correctly, your nipple and part of your areola, the darker area of skin surrounding your nipple, will be in your baby's mouth. The baby will create a strong seal between her mouth and your breast as she nurses. Most of the time, when the baby needs to take a break, is ready to switch sides or has finished breastfeeding, she will open her mouth and release your breast on her own.

Sometimes, though, you may have to be the one to remove your baby from your breast. If the baby doesn't latch on well, you will need to take her off of your nipple so you can reposition her. If she falls asleep at the end of a feeding and is still holding on to your breast, you may want her to release you so that you can put her down and go do something else.

When removing your baby, do not try to pull her off of your breast. Pulling at your nipples can damage the delicate skin around nipple and areola. The baby may also bite down on your nipple to try to prevent it from leaving her mouth. This can be very painful. It's important to learn how to take your baby off of your breast without causing pain and sore nipples. So, how do you remove a baby from the breast?

Breast Removal Technique

  • Gently slide your finger into the side of your baby's mouth. Go past your baby's lips and between her gums. This will break the suction between her mouth and your breast.

  • Once your baby opens her mouth, remove your breast.

  • Protect your nipple as you remove your breast by keeping your finger between your baby's gums until your nipple is safely out of the baby's mouth. This will prevent the baby from accidentally biting down on your nipple.

Source:

American Academy of Pediatrics. New Mother’s Guide To Breastfeeding. Bantam Books. New York. 2011.

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