When it comes to breastfeeding, latch is very important. Many new moms often ask, “How to get a good latch?” You will know that your baby has a good latch when your nipple plus part of the areola fits into their mouth and they begin to suck and draw milk out of your breast. A good breastfeeding latch ensures that nipple soreness is at a minimum and that your baby is getting the nourishment that he or she needs.
Babies are born with an instinct to breastfeed. Sometimes it can be difficult to get the perfect latch with your baby, so we listed below some tips and tricks to help you with getting a proper breastfeeding latch.
- Get comfortable with your baby
You must do plenty of skin-to-skin contact with your newborn so that your baby is comfortable with you. Look for a nice and warm space that will help your baby to breastfeed and get all the nourishment they need.
- Watch out for hunger cues
Keep an eye on your newborn and check to see if he or she is licking their lips or is rooting. Try to initiate a proper breastfeeding latch before your baby gets too hungry, angry, and frustrated. When you start feeding early, your baby will be more inclined to open his or her mouth big and wide. Crying is a very late hunger cue and it probably means that your baby has been hungry for quite some time.
There are a couple of positions that you can try when breastfeeding. Find a position that you can be relaxed in and stay there for a while. Most moms like to be in a reclined position at about a 45-degree angle. When lying back, it is comfortable and gravity helps to support your baby. It is also a good position for you to be able to lift your baby’s head and support your baby when they are trying to latch on.
- Breastfeed as soon as your baby is born
The faster you try breastfeeding, the more likely it is that you will be able to get your baby used to latching on. This makes the process easy for you and your child and it will help you to keep your milk supply up. Your smell and touch can bring comfort to your baby and your darkened areola will help your baby to find your nipple faster.
- Know what a good latch feels like
If you feel a tugging or pulling sensation on your breast, it means that your baby has a good latch. Keep in mind that your breasts should not be sore at all, though it might feel uncomfortable in the beginning. If your nipples are very sore, it means that your baby is not latching on well. You can tell if your baby is getting enough milk because the temple and jaw will move rhythmically and you will hear an exhalation after they swallow. Your baby’s lips should be flanged out like an open flower or a fish, and it should not be tucked under your nipple or areola.
- Line up your baby’s nose to your nipple
To ensure a proper latch, see that your baby’s nose is lined up to your nipple. Place the bottom lip of your baby at the bottom of your areola. Do not rush to feed your baby at once but wait for them to open their mouth wide so that you can achieve a deeper and proper latch. If you feel like your latch is not good, release their mouth from your breast and start again.
One of the best ways to achieve a good latch is by compressing or sandwiching your breast between your thumb and your fingers so that you can insert it snugly into your baby’s mouth. Compressing your breast ensures that you get a better fit. Try to match the shape of your compression with the opening of the baby’s mouth. Do not squeeze your breast in such a way that it completely hinders your baby from latching on.
Achieving the right latch takes time and practice but once you can, it will be an easy journey for you and your baby. Always try to be relaxed and pay attention to your baby’s natural instincts.
Remember that it is not “nipple feeding”, but breastfeeding. Don’t be scared to experiment with different positions, tips and techniques to see what works best for you and your baby.