One aspect that is very important when it comes to breastfeeding is latching. If you want to have a successful nursing experience, the first thing to do is to know how to help your little one latch properly. The most important benefit of a proper latch is the fact that it’ll allow your baby to get enough breastmilk that will help him or her thrive and grow.
Besides, a good breastfeeding latch will also help build up your milk supply. You can be assured that your newborn won’t get enough milk if they are latched the wrong way. This will, in turn result in weight loss for them. In addition, a bad latch can also make your breastfeeding experience very uncomfortable and lead to some common breastfeeding problems such as plugged milk ducts, breast engorgement or infection.
Good Latch Signs
If you wish to know whether your baby is latched properly, there are some signs that you can watch out for as you nurse your baby. To begin with, your baby needs to be latched on more than your nipple. A good latch will mean that your baby has the entire nipple and part of the surrounding areola in his mouth. Please note that the size of areola that the baby latches on and the nipple as well will depend on the size of both.
Another sign is that your baby’s nose and chin should touch your breast while the lips need to be flat and turned out against your breast. The tongue of your baby should be down and on your breast’s underside. If your newborn is latched on properly, you will be able to hear and see your baby sucking and swallowing the milk.
A good latch means that you, as the nursing mother, shouldn’t feel pain when you are breastfeeding. While you may experience a bit of tenderness when your baby starts to latch, this shouldn’t be painful, and neither should it last for the whole feeding. Your breasts should also feel less full and softer after each nursing session.
In order to help your baby latch properly, it’s important that you also find a comfortable nursing position. Just as important as latching is to the baby if they are to get enough milk w, so is the nursing position for that baby. If your nursing position is bad, it’ll definitely affect your baby’s latching position.
Bad Latch Signs
Most mums have experienced their baby’s bad latch. Just as there are good latching signs, so does some bad ones exist. If your baby is just latching onto your nipple, that is a bad sign of latching. Another bad sign is the failure to hear their swallowing and them sucking on their cheeks as they try to breastfeed. If your baby’s lips aren’t out, but instead, they are tucked in, and under, you should stop breastfeeding her and have a latch properly.
A low supply of breastmilk can also have an effect on how your baby latches. Sore nipples that make it difficult for you to enjoy nursing your baby is a no. A clicking or smacking noise when your baby tries to suck and loss of weight. Also, be cautious if your baby becomes frustrated and unhappy after a nursing session and continues to look hungry.
If your baby has a bad or poor latch and you notice this when you want to breastfeed him or her, the first thing to do is to remove your breast from their mouth and then try to latch her again. If your baby continues to have issues latching properly, or if you are worried that your child isn’t latching properly, you need to get help immediately. Consult with your baby’s doctor or with a lactation specialist.
How to Ensure a Good Latch
As mentioned, a good latch is really important in helping your baby feed properly. In order to ensure a good latch, below are some techniques that you can follow, and that can help you, nurse, successfully.
- Get yourself in a comfortable chair that has a good back support when you want to feed your baby. Get a stool that you will use to rest your feet up to provide good posture and avoid straining your shoulders and neck
- make use of a breastfeeding pillow or any other kind of pillow as it’ll help your baby to latch on well by providing a proper position
- always ensure your baby is tummy-to-tummy all the time with you
- don’t lean towards your baby but ensure that you bring your little one to you. By bringing your baby to you, you will be able to prevent neck and shoulder strains and not affect your baby’s breastfeeding position
- keep the shoulder, hip, and ear of your baby aligned to ease swallowing
- ensure that your baby’s nose is opposite your nipple
- consider holding your breast in either a “C” or “U” hold and guiding your nipple to the baby’s mouth. Keep your fingers away from the nipple so as to not affect your baby’s latch
- rub your nipple on your baby’s top lip to get him or her to open his or her mouth
- your baby’s chin shouldn’t be to his chest. Ensure you tilt his or her head slightly back,
- never try to force your nipple in your baby’s mouth if he or she doesn’t open their mouth as they won’t latch properly. Instead, tickle his upper lip and wait for him or her to open the mouth
- try to ensure that part of the areola also gets into your baby’s mouth with the nipple for a proper latch
With the above techniques, your baby should be able to latch properly. Remember, nursing; your baby shouldn’t be painful. A good latch will help keep any issues to a minimum. Besides, if your baby doesn’t latch properly, there are other issues that are likely to arise, such as cracked or sore nipples on your end and failure for your baby to get satisfied.
If you are struggling to latch your baby, book an appointment with a lactation specialist or nurse who can provide you with valuable feedback and tips on how best to latch your little one.