Breastfeeding a baby can be challenging; especially for new moms. And, if the latch isn’t proper, the task gets even more taxing. The first few moments of a breastfeeding session are spent on finding that latch, so that the baby starts suckling comfortably. But the process of perfecting the proper latch may take some time. If you are struggling with the latch or are worried about getting your baby to latch properly, then, read these proven techniques to help you with it.
Find a Comfortable Place
Your comfort matters a lot when you’re trying to get your baby to latch on. Find a space that helps you relax; as you’ll be able to feed your baby without any disturbance.
Use a Good Position
Use a breastfeeding pillow or any form of soft support to help you through the extended periods of breastfeeding. Prop your legs over a stool or chair if required and remember to get proper back support. There are different positions that are beneficial during breastfeeding.
A more commonly recommended technique is to feed your baby in a reclined position – it feels more comfortable and lets gravity do most parts of keeping your baby against your body. The position is also easier for the baby as it helps her to use the hands, turn the head, and bury the chin into the breasts – all of which help make a good latch.
Place The Nipple Right
Before you begin feeding, it is important to recognize a good latch. A correct latch is when the baby has her mouth wide open with most of the areola and nipple fit into it. The baby’s lips look inverted – more like an open flower or a yawn – with the lips facing outward.
If the baby does not open the mouth wide enough, do not shove the nipple in the process. Instead, tickle the upper lip with the nipple and wait for the mouth to open wide. Also, aim the nipple towards the baby’s upper nose to help her grab most parts of the areola for a good latch. But, make your baby’s nose is not blocked by your breast.
A slight tugging sensation during suckling is normal. It goes away after the first 20-30 seconds. Babies typically have a rhythm to feeding, which is more evident with a good latch. The jaw and the mouth move to this rhythm and you’ll be able to hear your baby exhale slightly as she breathes during suckling.
Keep Your Baby Comfortable
Holding your baby skin-to-skin will help create a good latch. You can lay your baby directly against the skin of your chest. This helps calm the little, keep her awake, and get her in the mood to nurse. Do, remember to keep the little one’s head slightly laid back, but with the ears, shoulders, and hip in alignment for easier swallowing.
Just as you recognize a good latch, it’s important that you understand signs of trouble. Tenderness and soreness are common in the first couple of days of breastfeeding, but anything that stays for a longer time, or a pinching, biting pain are signs that you need to seek expert help.
Visit a Lactation Consultant for a proper guidance. You can also speak to other moms for advice on how to wade through the period. Above all, be patient and confident, for your baby will sooner or later latch properly and start feeding comfortably.