Latching On

This page is dedicated to the Latching On Method that works for you.

The main idea is to get your breast and nipple positioned deeply in your baby’s mouth for a proper latch on.

The good news: There is no single, right way to attach a baby to a breast. Anything that helps your baby suck deeply and comfortably, and ends in good milk transfer, is the “right” breastfeeding position or technique for you.

If these techniques below do not help, your best bet is to seek the help of a Lactation Consultant to identify specific breastfeeding problems you may be having.

A Lactation consultant will suggest other latching on positions, that could solve your specific latching problems. There is also a superb e-book called breastfeeding simply, that is a good read, that also identifies common mistakes that you might be making.


Latching on Tips

* The most important thing for a good latch, is that you and your baby are comfortable. Get yourself a pillow to support your back. Some women feel more comfortable lying down during breastfeeding.

Find the right position for you.

The most natural way to hold your baby, is with one hand behind your baby's shoulder, and the other on the bottom, ‘skin to skin’, upright and between your breasts. Your baby's chest should be against your body.

illustration of breastfeeidng, breastfeeding illustration

Your shoulders, arms and wrists should be in a relaxed, natural position and most of your baby’s weight should be supported by your body.

Always use a cushion in the small of your back, for less strain on your back and shoulders.

* You should try breastfeeding without any clothing; clothing can affect your baby's head and neck posture and also interfered with reflex and sensory stimuli.

* If your baby needs some help to initiate feeding, gently brush your nipple down across the little crease between Baby’s nose and top lip.

* For a proper latch, when you bring your baby to your breast, make sure that your nipple is pointing towards his/her nose; this usually gets a baby to tilt the neck and open the mouth.

Bring your baby's chin towards your breasts first, so that your baby will close the jaw over your nipple. Remember that the more nipple and breast skin taken into your baby's mouth, the more milk will be removed, this is because the milk ducts are under the areola. 

Here is a video that demonstrates the amount of milk removed if your baby is latched on correctly, compared to a shallow latch.

* How do you know if your baby is latched on properly? A good latch will usually result in a deep pulling sensation in your breast. Baby should make a good seal on the breast, and there should be very little “popping” sounds.

* Try to get baby to latch on off-center, with your nipple nearer to the roof of your baby's mouth. This latching on technique will ensure that your baby keeps a clear airway; this also helps to keep the nose open during breastfeeding.

* Baby needs to have the chin and the bottom of his/her lip touching the breast below the nipple; this will trigger the reflex, that will get Baby to open his/her mouth wider, therefore, taking in as much of the breast as possible.

* If you start to feel uncomfortable, or if your milk does not begin to flow within a few minutes, or if you are feeling any pain when your milk begins to flow, break the seal, by putting your finger in-between your baby's jaw and tongue and pull your baby away. Then start over again.

* If you have very large or small breasts, or nipples that are very flat, you can try to shape your breasts with your hand, creating an easier target for Baby.

Finger feeding can be used to entice your baby to the breast.

* The last resort that should be used, are nipple shields; they are designed to encourage a baby to latch-onto your breast.

* Hydrogel pads can provide cool, soothing relief for mothers who may be experiencing nipple pain and who are struggling with latching on.

How do you know if your baby is sucking right or drinking enough?

Read more here

For treatment of sore nipples. 

Ultra thin.

Sterile.

Safe and non-toxic for both mother and baby.

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Other pages on "breastfeeding problems" related to latching on problems:

- Nipple variations and breastfeeding

- Latching problems

- Weak suck

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