Latching on is a very important aspect of a successful breastfeeding relationship. Latching on may not play as vital of a role when nursing an older infant, however, when nursing a younger infant, latching problems can cause a great deal of frustrationand difficulty.
- Make Sure Baby Is Alert/Interested
Even if your baby is still very tired, try to gain their interest or their attention. If they are wiggling, moving their hands to their mouth, or moving their mouth, they may be ready and willing to feed.
- Get Comfortable
Try to sit as comfortably as possible. If you are nursing in a siting postion, try to use the best posture you can while holding the baby’s head level with the breast. If you are nursing in a lying position, consider using pillows to support your back and neck.
- Support Your Baby
Make sure that your baby is supported by your hands and arms, NOT by just laying on your lap. If the baby is simply on your lap, this may cause backaches in the mother from slouching to nurse her baby.
- Tease Your Baby
Gently tease your baby with your nipple. Stroke the baby’s cheek, or move your nipple along your baby’s lips, when the baby opens his or her mouth (almost as if to yawn), quickly put the nipple into the baby’s mouth. The baby should start to suckle.
Signs Of A Good Latch
- The baby should have at least an inch or so of the areola in the mouth.
- The baby’s chin and nose should be touching your breast.
- The baby’s cheeks should appear rounded while nursing.
- The baby’s lips should be pressed outwards, like a fish or a rosebud.
- The baby’s tongue should be down, cupping under your nipple.
- Your nipple looks rounded upon release. It should not appear mashed, misshapen, or creased.
Signs Of A Poor Latch
- Your baby’s cheeks are dimpling with each suck.
- You can hear clicking or sucking noises while your baby nurses.
- Your baby repeatedly comes off the breast after only a few sucks, and appears frustrated or angry.
- Your baby falls asleep after a very brief period of nursing or attempting to nurse.
- Your nipples and breasts appear pointed, misshapen or creased upon release.
- You experience nipple pain or soreness throughout the entire feeding
Do not allow a baby to continue nursing if they have a poor or incorrect latch. Doing so may cause trauma to the nipples, underfeeding and unnecessary pain. If your baby is latching poorly, try again! It can be very frustrating, however, as time goes on, you and your baby, will become proficient breastfeeders!