It is still Breastfeeding Awareness Month so in this installment of “Think About It Thursday” we’ll talk about getting baby to latch.
One of the most important factors in nursing your little bundle of joy is ‘the latch’. Whether or not Mom and baby successfully get down the latch can often make or break their breastfeeding relationship. I took the following explanation on how to establish a good latch from Womenshealth.gov.
Hold your baby, wearing only a diaper, against your bare chest. Hold the baby upright with his or her head under your chin. Your baby will be comfortable in that cozy valley between your breasts. You can ask your partner or a nurse to place a blanket across your baby’s back and bring your bedcovers over you both. Your skin temperature will rise to warm your baby.
Support his or her neck and shoulders with one hand and hips with the other. He or she may move in an effort to find your breast.
Your baby’s head should be tilted back slightly to make it easy to suck and swallow. With his or her head back and mouth open, the tongue is naturally down and ready for the breast to go on top of it.
Allow your breast to hang naturally. When your baby feels it with his or her cheek, he or she may open his or her mouth wide and reach it up and over the nipple. You can also guide the baby to latch on as you see in the illustrations below.
At first, your baby’s nose will be lined up opposite your nipple. As his or her chin presses into your breast, his or her wide, open mouth will get a large mouthful of breast for a deep latch. Keep in mind that your baby can breathe at the breast. The nostrils flare to allow air in.
Do not put your hands on your baby’s head. As it tilts back, support your baby’s upper back and shoulders with the palm of your hand and pull your baby in close.
Be patient Momma, it can take many attempts for a newborn to learn how to properly latch. There are many ways to tell if your baby is latched properly.
- It should feel comfortable with no pain. Often times how the latch feels is more important than how it looks.
- Your baby’s chest should be against your body and she should not have to turn her head while drinking.
- You see little or no areola depending on the size of your areola and the size of your baby’s mouth. If areola is showing, you will see more above your baby’s lip and less below.
- When your baby is positioned well, his or her mouth will be filled with breast.
- The tongue will be cupped under the breast, although you might not see it.
- You can hear or see your baby swallow. Some babies swallow so quietly, a pause in their breathing may be the only sign of swallowing.
- You see the baby’s ears “wiggle” slightly.
- Your baby’s lips turn out like fish lips, not in. You may not even be able to see the bottom lip.
- Your baby’s chin touches your breast.
Once you and your baby master the latch your breastfeeding relationship should continue without a hitch!