Is my baby latching properly? A common question that worries almost every new mom. Not anymore! In this blog, we will help you understand the ways of latching your baby properly.
Remember the first sign of successful nursing is a good baby latch. When you breastfeed, it is significant for your baby to latch onto the breast correctly. What happens when they don’t? Well, your baby will not be full, and your milk supply may reduce.
So, let’s get started with the baby latching basics.
How To Make Sure That Your Baby Is Latching Properly?
As a new mother, knowing how to initiate a good latch is important.
Follow these tips for a proper baby latch.
Help your child to open their mouth
Hold the baby close to your breast. Your nipple should be at their nose level. Gently touch your nipple against their upper lip, encouraging them to open their mouth wide. The wider they open their mouth, the easier it is to get a perfect latch on to the breast.
Position your baby
When the baby opens a wide mouth, bring them onto the breast. The nipple should direct towards the top of the mouth. The baby’s chin should touch your breast first. See if the baby takes a larger portion of the nipple and the area surrounding it into their mouth. The bottom lip and jaw would cover most of the areola area underneath.
Do not worry if you see some part of the surrounding portion of your nipple. Every woman has different shapes and sizes of nipples, and each one is perfect!
Let the baby be close to you when latching
During breastfeeding, you must ensure to keep your baby close to you. Their chin should touch your breast throughout the feeding session. Also, look if their nose is free to breathe well. Within a few days of breastfeeding, the baby learns to coordinate breathing and sucking with ease.
Other Things That Indicate Your Baby Is Latching Properly
Check the latching position
Regardless of the breastfeeding position, ensure the little one’s head, neck, and spine are in alignment. Keep their chin up (not dropped to the chest).
Trusting your eyes and ears
When breastfeeding, look down at your baby to see easy jaw movements and hear while he sucks. Consider these as signs of your baby latching properly.
Note: If you notice your infant’s latch is painful or shallow, or if he nibbles on your nipple, part them from your breast and start again. You can break the latch by gently putting your clean finger inside the corner of their mouth.
Signs Your Baby Isn’t Latching Properly
When you don’t see your baby latching properly onto the areola or don’t hear them swallowing, it is probably not a good latch. Some signs of a poor latch include:
- The infant sucks their cheek in when breastfeeding.
- The baby’s lips are tucked in/under. It should be out like a fish.
- You have sore nipples and experience painful breastfeeding.
- You have low breast milk supply.
- The baby seems unhappy and irritated after breastfeeding (signs of hunger).
- The baby undergoes steady weight loss or slow weight gain.
Breastfeeding Positions For A Proper Baby Latch
According to scientific studies, new mothers should try a minimum of two breastfeeding positions. Choose from some of these comfortable breastfeeding positions:
Crossover: Sit on a comfortable chair or rocker; relax your arms. Hold the baby in your arm’s crook, resting their tummy against yours. While supporting their head, tilt them towards your breast, encouraging them to latch on. Keep cradling their head while feeding.
Cradle hold: Provide your arm’s support to the baby on the same side of the nursing breast. You can use a pillow for better support.
Laid back: Women with small breasts can have a comfortable breastfeeding experience in this position. Lean back and let your baby take on the breast from any direction. Gravity will allow the baby to latch properly, staying close to you.
Side-lying: For midnight feedings, side-lying is the most reliable position. Lie tummy to tummy with your baby while adjusting your breast to their mouth. You should not leave any loose bedding around the baby to prevent suffocation.
If you still struggle to have a good breastfeeding latch, speak with your doctor or lactation expert. Latching your baby properly is essential for both you and your baby.
Read more: Common Breastfeeding Concerns Answered