Latching on is the way your baby takes your nipple and areola into her mouth to suckle. It is absolutely the most important aspect of breastfeeding. Without proper latching on, your baby will not get the milk she needs and your breasts won’t be stimulated to produce more, initiating a vicious cycle of poor milk demand and poor milk supply. What’s more, your breastfeeding nipples may become cracked and mighty painful when the latch isn’t right.
The proper latch encompasses both the nipple and the surrounding areola, the pinkish-brown flat circle that became darker and developed goose bumps during pregnancy. (Ever wonder why areolas darken during pregnancy? Mother Nature wisely designed them to serve as visual cues for your newborn so she’ll close her mouth on the areola and not on the nipple alone.)