Breastfeeding does not come as naturally as many would assume. Below we will go over how to latch baby properly and with time you will become comfortable at it! Just remember everyone’s breastfeeding experience is different, no two experiences are the same. I am here to support you as you begin your breastfeeding journey.
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First get comfy! You need a good place to sit with good back support. I have helped many mother’s breastfeed and one thing mama’s tend to do is tense up their shoulders. Try and relax them and make sure to have ample support as a feeding session can take a while. This means grabbing your pillows or boppy (which I recommend!) While on this note, have a drink and snack as well.
Now pick a nursing position. Either side lying, cross cradle, cradle, football, and laid back positions. Of course there are many more out there. Not sure what these positions are? See this nifty post that explains every nursing position.
Quick tip! When in position, make sure your baby’s nose or top lip is in line with your nipple. When holding your baby, make sure to support the back of their neck and not their head. Use the webbed part of your hand, which is between your forefinger and thumb.
Now that we are comfy let’s get down to it.
Now that your in position and comfy, let’s get baby latched step by step. See below for a diagram on how to get baby latched!
- Make sure your baby’s nose or top lip is in line with your nipple, making sure baby’s head is supported, but tilted back slightly
- When holding your baby, make sure to support the back of their neck and not their head. Use the webbed part of your hand, which is between your forefinger and thumb.
- With your other free hand grab onto your breast and make a “C” shape, U Shape, or sandwich hold. Make sure to keep your fingers away from the nipple. Having them near the nipple may affect the latch
- Always wait for a wide open mouth! Once you have a wide open mouth aim the nipple towards the baby’s upper lip/nose. Having a wide open mouth helps get your nipple deep into your baby’s mouth. Not having a wide open mouth can lead to a shallow latch which in turn can lead to pain and low milk transfer
- Once you have the wide mouth bring your baby in a close to as you can, chin first and as quickly as you can. Why quickly? Well they only give you a small amount of time to get the proper latch. Remember always bring your baby to you, never lean into your baby. Leaning in can cause strain and discomfort on your part as well as an improper latch
What happens if your baby isn’t opening?
- Try rubbing your nipple across the top of their lip to get them to open their mouth
- Express some breast milk and run this across their upper lip
- Stroke your baby’s cheek
How to spot a good latch
- Tongue is seen when the bottom lip is pulled down
- Chin is touching your breast
- You do not hear clicking or smacking noises
- There is a circular movement of the jaw
- Cheeks are rounded
- Ears Wiggle
- You can hear swallowing
- After feeding your nipple is not flat or misshaped
Spotting a bad latch
- Any portion of your baby’s lips are sucked in rather than flanged (like a fish)
- You can see dimples on the cheeks, this means your baby is sucking in their cheeks
- No swallowing heard, but rather clicking or smacking
- Pain while breastfeeding
- Flat or misshaped nipples after your baby comes off the breast
- Your milk supply is decreasing or low
- Weight loss of the newborn, not gaining weight at a healthy rate
Check out these following posts for more breastfeeding tips and tricks!