When it comes to breastfeeding, the latch is the moment that matters the most. Your baby takes the mouthful of areola and nipple and starts sucking to draw out the milk. Establishing a good latch means your baby gets the needed nourishment and reduces nipple soreness. The question that worries most new moms is how to pull all that off?
First things first, have complete faith in your baby and you. Babies have instincts that help them find the mom’s breast and latch on with little assistance. If, however, you are finding it difficult, then here are a few tips that would help the baby get latched.
Do Your Homework
These days there are sessions before the arrival of a baby to help you understand breastfeeding. Known as prenatal classes, instructors and doctors demonstrate latching with videos so you might get comfortable with the entire process. You can also contact new moms-to-be or other moms and get rid of your concerns and queries.
Comfort is Important
Identify the relaxed position in which you can stay comfortable for a while. Some experts recommend moms breastfeed in a reclined position. When you lie back, gravity helps in supporting the baby. This means you do not have to do all the work. It is a very comfortable position for your baby to bury their chin into the breast, turn and lift their head, and use their hands – all of these are helpful when the baby is latching on.
Remember, it is your partner’s job to hold your baby while you are settling down. You might need an extra pillow or two to make yourself more comfortable.
Start Breastfeeding Without Any Wait
The earlier you start the process of breastfeeding, the more likely you will tap into the innate abilities of your little one to latch. This makes the process easier for both of you and keeps the milk supply strong. Right from the arrival of a baby, it is the natural reflex to climb onto mommy’s breast and start nursing.
When the skin of the mother and baby touch each other, natural reflexes kick in. Skin-to-skin contact along with mother touch and smell works wonders in the process of breastfeeding.
Set Your Little One to Feed Properly
Start by putting your baby’s tummy down on the bare chest and then stomach her little less than the diaper, touching his chin and the breasts. Some mothers find it comfortable to place their baby horizontally across the chest; however, there is no thumb rule, do whatever you feel is comfortable.
Place your hands on your baby’s neck and upper back as it might help steady him. Make your baby open her mouth wide and express colostrum (your first milk). Rub your finger and thumb back and forth across the nipple, gently compressing the areola to make some milk come out. Ideally, your baby’s bottom lip would be on or near the base of the areola with her nose opposite the nipple. The smell of the colostrum would make your baby bury her chin into the breast and open her mouth and latch on.
Identify the Signs of a Good Latch
Your baby latches well if you have a tugging and pulling sensation on your breast. How to know whether or not your baby is swallowing? His lower jaw and temple move rhythmically, and breathy aa is audible, which means your baby exhales after swallowing. Your baby’s lips will be flanged out – like an open flower or a fish – around your areola and nipple and not tucked under. This might make your nipple sore.
Look for Signs of Trouble
New moms often feel a slight tenderness or soreness while breastfeeding, especially in the early days. However, it is essential to note that biting or pinching and soreness should not last for a long time or throughout the breastfeeding. If it stays for a long time, then explore its reason. Pay attention to how the nipple looks after the baby detaches. If they are bleeding, cracked, or compressed, it is not normal. If you feel pain and notice any signs, consider consulting a lactation consultant.
So, if you find it difficult to latch your baby, try following these tips. Breastfeeding is a natural process, and babies know how to latch. It is just that you need to take specific measures to ensure both of you are comfortable.
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