How To Get Newborn To Open Mouth Wide For Breastfeeding? (What Every Nursing Mom Should Know)

Newborn babies have innate reflexes as a spontaneous part of their early activities. The rooting and sucking reflexes are just two of the important reflexes that stimulate them to feed. There are different techniques to coax your newborn to latch properly during breastfeeding. It includes vertical positioning and flipping of the baby’s chin to allow proper latching. You may also aim the nipple on his nose or chin instead of directly on his mouth to cajole him to open it wide.

Have you had problems with your baby latching on? Some moms are fortunate enough not to experience latching problems. But when babies do not open their mouths during breastfeeding, what should you do?

After all, you cannot afford to let your little one get hungry. The correct position and firm latch help moms make the most out of breastfeeding.

It prevents sore nipples and breasts and reduces the baby’s intake of air. Thus, it can also limit gas, colic, and tummy problems in your little one. Plus, a good latch ensures optimum transfer of breastmilk for your baby’s benefits.

Latching techniques

Breastfeeding can get quite uncomfortable and painful, especially for new mothers. Thankfully, it is a fleeting feeling as you get used to it over the passing days.

Knowing how to properly breastfeed your baby can do so much in alleviating the pain and help you get more comfortable. The discomfort will soon fade away, and the important takeaway is you are giving your child the best through breastfeeding.

For the first few days of life, your baby may not need help with self-attaching themselves for feeding. But if you have a flat or inverted nipple or your baby has physical issues, he may need a little hand.

You have to assist your newborn to open his mouth wide enough to secure a good latch.

1. Flipple technique

The “flipple” or exaggerated technique in breastfeeding is useful for babies who cannot attach themselves well to their mom’s nipple. It is also beneficial for newborns with physical issues like a tongue tie or lip tie.

To do the flipple technique, hold your baby in a slightly vertical position. It is called the koala hold, where his spine and head are upright during the feeding. Point your nipple by your baby’s nose to stimulate him to open his mouth wider.

Allow him to get as much part of the areola as possible. Then, using your finger, flip his upper lip open after he has latched on.

2. Deep latch technique

When your baby is angled correctly on your breast, it will enable proper feeding. It will also prevent soreness and breast pain.

To achieve it, lightly touch the nipple right above your baby’s upper lip. His rooting reflexes will cause him to open his mouth wide.

Scoop the breast and press it on his lower jaw while pressing it down with your thumb. Position the upper jaw on the nipple while keeping the baby’s lower jaw in a lower position.

3. Nose or chin technique

Aiming your breast directly at your baby’s mouth will not wheedle him to open his mouth wide.

The best thing to do is to aim the nipple on his nose or chin. His rooting reflex will encourage a wide-open mouth as your baby searches for the nipple.

He will also likely tilt his head back a little as if he is taking a wider bite.


Is it better to breastfeed swaddled or not swaddled?

Swaddling may restrict the baby’s capability of naturally using his reflexes. Breastfeeding without the swaddle may be more beneficial as it allows the baby to use these natural reflexes without the restriction of a swaddle.

I have a nipple that is cracking and extremely painful every time I breastfeed. What should I do?

When you have a sore and damaged nipple, contact your doctor or lactation consultant for support and advice.

What is the best feeding position?

Baby’s have different reflexive reactions. Holding him in a koala hold is always helpful. But you can try other breastfeeding positions that you think encourages your little one to widen his mouth. You may lie back, side lie, or do the cradle or football hold at your and your baby’s convenience.


Sore nipples happen only a few days after birth. Generally, subsequent breastfeeding is not supposed to hurt.

If your nipple is sore, it means that you need to improve your baby’s latch for him to draw more breastmilk and prevent the pain.

Encouraging your baby to open his mouth wider as he feeds will help facilitate a better latch. All it takes is a few aiming and position techniques to make it happen.

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Ann Marie is a licensed nurse in the Philippines. She experienced handling and assisting deliveries of newborns into the world. She also trained in labor rooms and pediatric wards while in nursing school - helping soon-to-be mothers and little kids in the process. Though not a mother by nature but a mother by heart, Ann Marie loves to take care of her younger cousins as well as nephews and nieces during her free time.

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