LATCH: A Breastfeeding Charting System and Documentation Tool

Authors

  • DEBORAH JENSEN RNC,

    Corresponding author
    1. Deborah Jensen is the charge nurse in the newborn nursery at Sacred Heart General Hospital in Eugene, OR. She is a member of AWHONN.
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  • SHEILA WALLACE RN, CLE, IBCLC,

    1. Sheila Wallace is the lactation consultant for the newborn and neonatal intensive-care units at Sacred Heart General Hospital in Eugene, OR. She is a member of AWHONN.
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  • PATRICIA KELSAY RN, BSN

    1. Patricia Kelsay is a school nurse in the Bethel school district in Eugene, OR. She is a member of AWHONN.
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  • The authors won an Outstanding Poster award for their presentation of this tool at the 1992 Annual Meeting.

Address for correspondence: Deborah Jensen, RNC, Maternal/Newborn Unit, Sacred Heart Hospital, P. O. Box 10905, Eugene, OR 97440.

Abstract

Nurses most often use a subjective “well/fair/poor” system to assess and document breastfeeding. LATCH is a breastfeeding charting system that provides a systematic method for gathering information about individual breastfeeding sessions. The system assigns a numerical score, 0, 1, or 2, to five key components of breastfeeding. Each letter of the acronym LATCH denotes an area of assessment. “L” is for how well the infant latches onto the breast. “A” is for the amount of audible swallowing noted. “T” is for the mother's nipple type. “C” is for the mother's level of comfort. “H” Is for the amount of help the mother needs to hold her infant to the breast. The system is visually represented in the same form as the Apgar scoring grid, and the numbers are handled in the same way. With the LA TCH system, the nurse can assess maternal and infant variables, define areas of needed intervention, and determine priorities in providing patient care and teaching.

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