Can Your Breast Smother Your Baby While Breastfeeding?

The back of a baby's head while breastfeeding
Ricardo Dias / EyeEm / Getty Images

When your baby latches on to your breast properly, the top of his nose may be touching your breast, but he should still be able to breathe. If your baby's nose does get blocked while he's nursing, he will open his mouth and let go of your breast so that he can breathe through his mouth.

However, it's understandable that the thought of your baby not being able to breathe, even though he can, while he's nursing can be stressful. If you worry about your baby's nose getting covered, here are a few things you can try.​

  • Use your finger to gently press down on your breast near the baby's nose. Try to be very careful not to break the suction of the latch. 
  • Bring your baby's lower body (hips and legs) toward you until his nose lifts a little bit off of your breast.
  • Place the palm of your hand on your chest just above your breast and gently pull up to lift the breast.
  • Try a different nursing position. The side-lying position may work well for you, especially if you have larger breasts.
  • Try latching your baby on with an asymmetrical latch. The asymmetrical latch technique places your baby off-center on your breast, and it leaves more room between your areola and your baby's nose.

If the tips mentioned above do not provide a solution to your situation, and you're still worried about your baby, talk to a professional.

A lactation consultant or your doctor can check to be sure that your baby is latching on properly and nursing well without any breathing difficulties.

Once you have the peace of mind that your baby is safe, and you are nursing correctly, you will have a greater chance of breastfeeding successfully.

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  • American Academy of Pediatrics. New Mother’s Guide to Breastfeeding. Bantam Books. New York. (2011)

By Donna Murray, RN, BSN
Donna Murray, RN, BSN has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Rutgers University and is a current member of Sigma Theta Tau, the Honor Society of Nursing.