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What's Your Baby's Nursing Style?

The Barracuda

Known, too, as "Hoovers" or "Little Vacuums," these babies grasp the areola when put to the breast and suck energetically for 10 to 20 minutes.


How to Help Them

Get a good latch. Barracudas seem simple to manage: They know what to do, and do it well. But with a voracious eater, "you have to make sure the latch is deep and comfortable," says Laura Viehmann, M.D., an AAP member and a private practitioner in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. "Otherwise, your baby will damage the breast." It should look like she's biting into a triple-decker sandwich, with her head back, chin up, mouth wide open, and lips flared.

Don't put up with pain. Mama Barracudas might think ouch! is part of the game because their babies don't take the time to latch on correctly before a feeding frenzy. It's not. "Even if the first grasp is painful, by the second or third suckle, you should be comfortable," says Dr. Viehmann. If your toes are curling, the latch isn't right, so remove your tot from the breast (don't pull her straight off; slip your pinkie finger into the corner of her mouth to break the suction) and try again.

Switch nursing positions often, if you like. Alternate holds so that your little vacuum doesn't keep irritating those sore spots.