Tips for Getting Baby Latched On to the Breast

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The new born baby is trying to latch when breastfeeding.
Source: http://www.franglaisemummy.com/

When you begin breastfeeding you will quickly learn that your baby’s latch is extremely important. The latch your baby has determines your comfort, your baby’s comfort and how much milk baby is receiving. A lot of women struggle with breastfeeding due to their baby’s latch and not even know that is the reason. As always, contacting a lactation consultant is extremely important in these circumstances.

[Read more about Breastfeeding]

To know you have achieved a good breastfeeding latch you will want to look and listen for these cues:

  • Ears wiggle which means they are sucking and swallowing.

    The new born baby is trying to latch when breastfeeding.
    Source: http://www.franglaisemummy.com/
  • You are able to see the tongue when the bottom lip is pulled out.
  • Cheeks are rounded.
  • Make sure you do NOT hear clicking and smacking noises.
  • Your baby’s chin is touching your breast.
  • You should not be experiencing any discomfort after you have latched the baby on.
  • Milk should not be leaking out the corners of your baby’s mouth.
  • Your baby ends his or her feeding looking content.

Some important tips and techniques to remember to get your baby to latch properly include:

  • Watch your baby’s hunger cues. You will quickly learn as you begin to bond with your baby when he or she may be getting hungry. If you are able to begin latching and breastfeeding your baby before he or she becomes extremely upset, you are more than likely able to get a good latch.
  • Make sure you are in a comfortable position. Breastfeeding a newborn takes awhile so making sure your neck and shoulders are supported and comfortable is important. If you have a great posture and not straining, this will help with your breastfeeding latch.

    The mom is holding her breast to guide her baby when breastfeeding.
    Source: https://www.charlottekeating.com
  • When breastfeeding, make sure you are tummy-to-tummy with your baby all the time. A lot of new moms do not even think about this, but this could be a huge difference in latch and comfort for you and your baby while breastfeeding.
  • Keep your baby’s hip and shoulders in alignment. This allows for your baby to swallow easier when breastfeeding.
  • At the beginning of breastfeeding you may need to hold your breast and help guide your nipple into your baby’s mouth. When you grab your breast, grab and cup it in a “C” hold or a “U” hold. Make sure you keep your hands away from your nipple so you do not affect the baby’s breastfeeding latch.

[Read more about Nipple]

  • Your baby’s head should be slightly tilted back.
  • When your baby is latching, make sure you get as much of your areola into the baby’s mouth.

Positioning your baby is also extremely important when making sure you have a good breastfeeding latch. Some great breastfeeding positions include:

Cross-Cradle Hold  This is the most common breastfeeding position for mothers right after birth. You will want to use your opposite side you will be feeding your baby from to hold and support your baby. Then on the side your baby is feeding from, you will guide and support your breast to the baby’s mouth. Make sure you and your baby are tummy-to-tummy!

Cartoon picture showing the mom keeping the baby’s hip and shoulders in alignment.
Source: http://www.health4mom.org/

Cradle Hold  This is the classic breastfeeding position you may be familiar with seeing. With this position your baby will lie across your front at the level of your breast and make sure you are tummy-to-tummy. Your baby’s head will rest in the wedge of your elbow on the same side you are breastfeeding from. In this position, you can use your opposite hand to help guide your breast into the baby’s mouth if needed.

Football Hold  This is when your baby will lay beside you, still tummy-to-tummy. Your baby will be under your arm while you are supporting the baby’s back and neck. You will also want to make sure your baby’s legs are bent so they aren’t pushing against the chair or bed you may be sitting on. This is a great position for women who may have had a cesarean birth.

There are several other positions for holding to achieve a good breastfeeding latch, which a lactation consultant could help and guide you with.

When breastfeeding, you will want to keep an eye out for signs of trouble. Breastfeeding is a normal, natural thing but problems may arise and this may be when you will want to reach out to a lactation consultant for help. You should not feel pinching or biting and your nipples should not be compressed, cracked or bleeding after a feeding. There could be a lot of reasons for these situations including your baby having a tight jaw, lip-tie, you may have inverted nipples, etc.

Fortunately, if you reach out to a lactation consultant sooner than later, you more than likely will be able to fix the problem and have a wonderful breastfeeding relationship with your baby.

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