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!
A mother breast feeding—a process that facilitates mother–infant bonding. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I have been thinking a lot lately about what I am going to do with myself when all of my babies are in school and Lactation Care keeps popping into my head. So I thought to myself what better way to learn about the field than to interview a Lactation Consultant. I searched for one in my area that I could possibly speak to face to face but to my surprise the closest to me is in Kansas so I picked up the phone and gave her a ring. So Melody Ward IBCLC, RLC and I had a very loud and chaotic (thanks to my littles) phone interview. She owns a private practice breastfeeding consultation service called Angel Baby Breastfeeding Solutions. She was so unbelievably patient as throughout my first formal interview attempt our conversation was interrupted with snack dilemmas, playful screaming and my own nurslings need for Momma.
I asked her many questions that were met with an incredible wealth of personal and professional knowledge.
She found her love for breastfeeding way before she had children of her own. She is one of six children all of which her mother breastfed, something very uncommon in the fifties and sixties. Her two youngest siblings were born premature and spent the first month of their lives in the hospital. She observed her mother pumping and storing milk at home therefore exposing her to various breast pumps and really normalizing that this is how mothers feed their babies. She remembers her mother saying that nursing for the two youngest was especially important because they were born so early. When the babies came home she would her mother nurse by bringing her one baby and when that baby was latched bringing her the next.
Cover via Amazon
Her next encounter with breastfeeding was later in life when her sister lent her the book “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding“. At the time she was not yet a Mom but that book plus having observed many women in her family breastfeeding set in motion a love for nursing and she said it was then she made the decision that she would breastfeed her own children. When she did have her first child, she unfortunately did not have much support. She lived far from any family and her child’s father was not completely on board with breastfeeding.
So she seeked out her local La Leche Group and there she found what support she needed. She says that she feels she never would have gotten as far as she did if it were not for the support she found within that group. Ultimately it was her La Leche leader who approached her about becoming a leader herself. After she completed that she moved on to receive her certification as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and has kept her certification since.
She has worked in various positions dealing with breastfeeding mothers and at each she has interacted with them differently. In her current practice she says she finds that she deals with moms on more of an electronic level but would like to emphasize that it really is beneficial to meet face to face so that she can observe a feeding making it easier to really pinpoint any issues Mom and Baby might be having.
I also asked her what is the most common hurdle new nursing mothers have to overcome and she said that two that she comes in contact with the most are sore nipples and the concern that perhaps they are not making enough milk to satisfy their baby. She stated that a lack of support also ranks pretty high up there as well. That is where she comes in, she offers support to nursing moms, truly making herself available whenever needed. Her clients can contact her by phone, text, email and also on her Facebook page. She also offers educational resources via pre-natal classes and back to work classes.
Lastly I asked her what her favorite part of her job is. Holding babies ranks pretty high up there as does seeing a mom reach her breastfeeding goals. It was truly a pleasure talking to Melody and I really learned quite a bit about the professional avenue that I am considering in life.
Today marks the beginning of World Breastfeeding Week. The focus of this years campaign is peer counseling and supporting Breastfeeding women.
A lot of times instead of being met with support and acceptance, BFing moms are discouraged about their choice.
The objectives for this year’s campaign are as follows:
1. To draw attention to the importance of Peer Support in helping mothers to establish and sustain breastfeeding.
2. To inform people of the highly effective benefits of Peer Counselling, and unite efforts to expand peer counselling programmes.
3. To encourage breastfeeding supporters, regardless of thei r educat ional background, to step forward and be trained to support mothers and babies.
4. To identify local community support contacts for breastfeeding mothers, that women can go to for help and support after giving birth.
5. To call on governments and maternity facilities globally to actively implement the Ten Steps, in particular Step 10, to improve duration and rates of exclusive breastfeeding.
This week I will have various Breastfeeding related posts as well as a few giveaways. We’ll cover why breastfeeding is so invaluable, Common Breastfeeding Complications, Proper Latching and Holds, The whole nursing in public debacle, We’ll have an interview with a Lactation Consultant and we’ll even have a Beautiful Breastfed Baby photo contest.
I am super excited about our sponsored giveaway from Unravel Me. She will give one lucky Momma a Booby Beanie!!! I will also have other items up for grabs as well.
This week will be slightly different as I won’t be doing all of my regular daily themes. So stay tuned, perhaps learn something new and participate in all the fun!
Breastfeeding and breastmilk are an extraordinary resource for both Moms and babies that I think is often times over looked.
Before you baby is born your body begins to produce Colostrum. Colostrum is the thick, yellow first milk you will have just after giving birth. Your breasts only produce a small amount of this milk but it is the exact right amount that your newborns little tummy can hold.
The other amazing thing about your breastmilk is that it changes with your babies needs. About three to five days in your milk matures and has just the right amount of fat, sugar, water and protein that your little one requires.
Breastmilk is also easier for your baby’s tummy to digest and can help his or her system fight many diseases.
Moms benefit from Breastfeeding as well! Not only does it allow you to bond with your baby, it gives new mom’s that chance they need to get some peaceful, quiet time. Other benefits for moms include:
- It saves money, as your not buying as many bottles and/or formula.
- The skin to skin boosts oxytocin.
- Linked to lower risks of Type 2 Diabetes, Breast Cancer, Ovarian Cancer and Post Partum Depression.
Now Breastfeeding is not always going to be sunshine and rainbows, many times there are complications. Tomorrow we’ll cover common complications, proper latching and different holds.