Suck / Finger Training

Suck training is a helpful tool for mothers that are having a hard time getting their baby to latch properly, open their mouths for latching, and other issues associated with baby's inability to take in the areola and nipple in his or her mouth.

Suck training should be one of your first resorts - forget nipple shields as they will cause more harm than good.

It is helpful to learn this technique if you have a baby with a very strong need to suck, but do not want to introduce anything that could cause nipple confusion!

How to Suck Train Your Baby; Long-Term

For establishing a good latch and suck.

  1. Wash your hands and make sure that your nails are trimmed and smooth - baby probably wouldn't appreciate a jagged nail against the roof of their mouth!
  2. Using any of your fingers, tickle baby's top lip until baby opens his or her mouth.
  3. Once baby's mouth is open wide, insert your finger into their mouth so that your finger nail is facing towards their tongue and the tip of your finger is brushing against the roof of baby's mouth.
  4. Baby's response should be to close their mouth and begin suckling on the finger. If baby has no response to the finger inside of their mouth, gently stroke the roof of their mouth until they begin sucking.
  5. Push against the tip of their tongue and their lower lip to encourage a large area of suckling (mimicking the amount of areola that you want them to take in).
  6. Check to make sure that their upper and lower lips are flanged [so that he or she is not sucking on their lips and the lips are outwards/protruding outside of the suck].

Suck Training Immediately Prior to Feeding

This is for encouraging baby to latch onto breast / to be done moments prior to latching on.

  1. Wash your hands as always.
  2. Tickle baby's mouth until he or she opens wide.
  3. Insert your finger, tip at the roof of the mouth and nail facing the tongue.
  4. Push your finger down on the back of the tongue, and draw the finger forward. Do this three or more times, and
  5. Quickly! Put the baby to your breast.

Back to the Breastfeeding Home Page

Popular Articles