You would think that since breastfeeding is a natural bodily function, it would be easy to do. Just pop your breast in your baby’s mouth and dinner is served. If only it were that easy. The truth is, nursing can take a little while to master.
A hungry baby will instinctively turn his head towards your nipple with his mouth open and it is known as the rooting reflex. The key to good breastfeeding is to get your baby comfortably latched on. Both mother and baby need to learn the most comfortable positions for breastfeeding. The baby also needs to learn how to latch successfully for effective nursing.
Ensuring your baby to latch is essential for breastfeeding success! If you encounter trouble during breastfeeding, don’t forget to ask for help from a lactation consultant or even your child’s pediatrician.
Here are a few tips to master breastfeeding latch:
- Before you start breastfeeding, wash your hands and grab anything within your arms reach. Settling in at any place with your little one will work for you. If you are sitting up, sit on a deep wide chair and place another chair to put your feet up. Another option, if you prefer to lay down on your bed while breastfeeding, make sure you have a pillow for support.
Talk to a lactation consultant
- Most hospitals will provide a lactation consultant after you have your baby. If not, check with your doctor and look for breastfeeding support groups in your area. It will be really helpful if you have an expert to help you master your nursing technique in person. You don’t have to figure it out on your own.
- When you are comfortable and ready to breastfeed your baby, cup your breast with the palm of your hand. Your four fingers would be underneath your breast and your thumb should rest above your nipple, opposite of your baby’s nose. This position is called C-Hold. After that, gently squeeze your breast, making your nipple protrude, thus making it easier for the baby to grasp it.
- When you are ready, hold your breast and tickle your baby’s lower lip with your nipple. When your baby opens his or her mouth (like a yawn), quickly guide your baby’s head to latch onto your breast. If it doesn’t happen right away, gently press your baby chin with your finger and mimic by opening your mouth as well. It is totally normal if you need several extra hands to position your baby correctly. Keep trying and you will get the gist of it!
Use comfortable clothes
- You need to buy some comfortable clothes that are easier for you to breastfeed your baby. You might need plenty of clothes that are easier to manage a wriggly and hungry baby while pulling out a breast and covering up at the same time.
Ways to hold
- Cradle or cross-cradle your baby means that places your baby on your chest, in your arms and facing you.
- Under the arm of football means that baby’s body is clutched under your arm, supported by a pillow to the level of your breast, facing toward your breast with the back of your baby neck and base of the head in your hand. For your information, this position is great for moms who have delivered by C-section or are tandem-nursing twins.
- Laidback or semi-reclined means that you are sitting semi-reclined with your baby on top, tummy-to-tummy and looking down at your breast.
- Side-lying means that you and your baby facing each other while lying in bed.
You know it is a good latch
- Your baby’s mouth is wide open and his bottom lip is curled back towards his chin
- His mouth covers the dark skin around your nipple or your areola
- Your baby jaw moves and the tips of his ears wiggle as he suckles and you will hear your baby gulp as they are swallowing. Mom will feel a tingling sensation as your baby draws on your nipple and milk begins to flow. This is also known as the “let down” reflex.
- Also, your baby is producing at least six wet nappies a day.
You know it is a poor latch
- You will hear a clicking sound noise because your baby sucks in air, not milk
- Your baby cheeks are sucked in and they will be full if they are being fed properly.
- Mother will feel pain throughout feeding rather than feeling a slight soreness.
- Mother breast does not feel lighter or softer and your baby seems unsettled after feeding.