Correct latching is a key factor in successful breastfeeding. This is essential for the infant to effectively remove milk from the breast and for the mother to not experience any pain or distress. There are numerous ways to establish a good and comfortable breastfeeding latch, but we’ll go over a few pointers to help you get started.
Positioning For A Perfect Breastfeeding Latch
- Holding your breast with one hand and supporting baby’s spine with the other, position the baby’s whole body (not only their head) close enough so they are able to get your areola without effort.
- Gently stimulate their upper lip with your nipple tissue until their mouth opens very wide.
- Then, move your baby towards the nipple (never the other way around). Your baby’s chin must be the first thing that makes contact with your breast and they must be latched deeper below your nipple than above it.
- Baby’s lips must be completely turned out (“flanged”) and wrap firmly against your areola.
- Have enough pillows to support your newborn so you don’t have to bend your body over.
- Make sure nothing obstructs baby’s nostrils and they can breathe freely.
How Do I Know If My Baby Has A Good Breastfeeding Latch?
These are 7 signs to confirm that your baby is attached and attached correctly to your breast:
- Baby’s lips are everted around your nipple (forming the mouth of a fish)
- Baby’s chin is buried into the breast
- Baby’s ears wiggle while suckling
- Baby gets a deep latch, i.e. they take no less than one inch of breast tissue into his or her mouth
- You can see baby’s tongue cupped under your breast when you pull gently on their lower lip
- You don’t hear clicking noises
- You hear the swallowing sounds and see your baby gulping
You’ll recognize that baby is well attached when you feel no discomfort and your baby is extracting milk from your breast efficiently.
3 Strategies For A Perfect Breastfeeding Latch
The nursing positions you use are essential in helping your baby latch on appropriately. Another important part is choosing how to support your breast while you nurse. There are 3 common ways to cup the breast that will make it easier for your baby to take the breast deeply and properly. Try one or all of these positions to help baby latch better:
1. The U hold
Lie your hand flat against your rib cage underneath your breast and cup your breast in your hand so that your thumb is on the outer side and your other fingers on the inner side. Your fingers and thumb will take a U shape, with your breast placed inside of the U.
2. The C hold
Wrap the palm of your hand around the outer side of your breast, with your fingers cupped around the bottom of your breast and your thumb on the top. Your hand will look like the letter “C”. Be careful to keep yourself away from the nipple so you don’t interfere with the baby’s mouth; there should be enough areola for baby to latch onto.
3. The exaggerated latch, or “flipple” technique
If your baby has difficulty latching on or getting the areola far in the mouth, hold your breast using a C position, then compress your areola with your thumb and pull the skin up to tilt your nipple slightly upward (giving it a pointy look). Latching the baby, bring their mouth to the bottom of your breast and guide the entire nipple into their mouth. This will facilitate a deeper latching.
How Can I Tell If My Newborn Is Extracting Milk Efficiently?
It can be hard to have confidence that your body is doing its work when you don’t see the appropriate amount of milk made and extracted. It’s interesting to point out that lactation specialists have a special scale to weigh the infant before and after nursing so as to see how many ounces of milk they took in. Here are five indicators that your baby is getting a sufficient amount of breast milk:
- Baby is gaining weight steadily and properly
- You hear your baby swallowing at feeds
- Baby has 6 to 8 thoroughly wet cloth diapers (or 5-6 disposables) every 24 hours
- Baby is regularly eating (every 2-3 hours throughout the day and every 2-4 hours during the night)
- Baby is happy, cheerful and has a healthy look. On the other hand, if a baby sleeps too much and eats less, they must be seen by a doctor.