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How to Get a Good Latch
Whilst the magical experience of becoming a mom makes you feel like super woman, it can also fill you with self-doubt and stress when you feel like you’re not living up to either your own or others’ expectations.
It can be reassuring to learn that breastfeeding is a challenge for many moms – you’re not alone! In this article, I have listed some easy to follow tips for helping baby latch during nursing.
Best nursing positions for helping baby latch
Begin by ensuring that baby is placed on their side facing your breasts.
You can use a nursing pillow to help maneuver them to the right height, but their whole body must be running parallel with your breast.
The cradle hold sees the baby’s head resting in the bend of your elbow (the side from which you’ll be breastfeeding).
Your other hand is used to cup your breast and position the nipple pointing in the direction of the baby’s nose.
In the crossover hold, the hands are switched as you hold baby’s head with the hand opposite to the breast you’re nursing from. The freehand positions the breast for baby.
Gather your Breastfeeding Essentials
Some breastfeeding essentials are:
- a notebook
- a pen
- a digital clock
- nipple cream
- nursing bra
- nursing pads
- a comfy chair
- nursing cover
- nursing pillow
- breast pump
- breastmilk storage bag
- and burp rags
The clock, notebook, and pen are used to monitor how often the baby is feeding.
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How to help baby latch on, step by step
WIC Breastfeeding’s steps to a good latch begin with helping baby open their mouth wide by tickling their lips with your nipple.
Making sure the baby’s chin isn’t tucked into their chest, aim your nipple above their top lip. Baby’s lips should be fish-like, turning outwards.
Your breast should fill their mouth, their tongue extended and they should be leading into your breast from the chin.
Getting help with your baby’s breastfeeding latch
Moving to an area with a more relaxed atmosphere can help if your baby is struggling to latch.
Babies love skin to skin contact; if you’re struggling, hold the baby against your chest whilst you’re both undressed.
Supporting their body at the hands, hips, shoulders, and neck, allow the baby to lead and find your nipple on their own.
What a good breastfeeding latch looks like
A good latch is pain-free and comfortable, you should hear or see swallowing and baby’s ears may move subtly.
Baby’s tongue should be cupped under your breast with their lips turned outwards.
Baby’s head should be straight, their chest and stomach resting against your body with their chin touching your breast.
Signs that baby isn’t latching properly
According to Very Well Family, signs that baby isn’t latching properly include:
- Lack of weight gain in the baby
- Frustrated baby after feeding
- Low milk supply
- Increasing discomfort for you
- Audible clicking or smacking noises from the baby as they try to suck
Why a good breastfeeding latch is important
As What To Expect note, finding the right position for you and your baby can both help baby latch and prevent nipple soreness.
If you find yourself with nipple soreness here is a great article on how to relieve the pain.
If you found this information helpful and want to learn even more. I absolutely love this popular online course called the Ultimate Breastfeeding Class by Milkology. It has everything you need to know about latching and positioning, mastering and protecting your milk supply, troubleshooting common breastfeeding issues and so much more…
Stacey (the instructor) is a certified lactation educator and has taught lactation to thousands of women all over the world. Click here to check out the Ultimate Breastfeeding Class for yourself.
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