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A proper latch for breastfeeding will help make your journey as a milk-making momma successful. If your baby can’t latch on properly to your breasts, the pain can be burdensome. You’ll experience soreness on your nipple and your little one might not be satisfied at all. Good thing, there are proper ways on how you can achieve the perfect latch for breastfeeding.
While I’ve described breastfeeding as a painful experience in my previous post, it doesn’t have to be for you. I wasn’t aware of the “perfect latch” despite having read about breastfeeding before my little boy arrived. However, with the help of an effective nipple cream, the pain was relieved. It is really different once you’re actually nursing. Proper positioning while breastfeeding, coupled with a proper latch for breastfeeding will make the experience beautiful.
But first: What is a proper latch for breastfeeding?
The proper latch is obtained if baby opens his mouth wide like a yawn and takes up not only the nipple area but also the areola (the area around the nipple). Proper latching is what makes every breastfeeding experience successful.
Why do you need to establish a proper breastfeeding latch?
Proper latch for breastfeeding is important to let the mother and baby enjoy the bond that comes with breastfeeding. This also helps minimize nipple soreness, and most importantly, baby gets the nourishment he needs when he latches on to you perfectly.
How to achieve the proper latch?
- Make yourself comfortable by finding a breastfeeding spot and knowing the position that works best for you. Find an area that can support your back as you feed your baby. Proper posture should help prevent neck and shoulder straining.
- Nursing pillows come in very handy. If you have one use it. If not, find something that can help support the baby. Having a good breastfeeding pillow can spell a big difference in getting baby to latch on to you well.
- Baby should be tummy-to-tummy with you as you feed.
- Baby’s ear, shoulder, and hips should be aligned to allow him to swallow easier. To get an idea of the proper position, check out videos from BabyCenter, showing five simple breastfeeding positions.
- You might need to guide the nipple into your little one’s mouth. Do this by holding your breast with a “C” or “U” hold. You can caress the baby’s mouth using your nipple just to get the little one to open his mouth. Aim your nipple toward the upper lip and not the middle of baby’s mouth. Make sure baby’s head is also tilted slightly back.
- Baby’s mouth should be wide open when you place your nipple and areola inside. If baby doesn’t open wide, do not force your nipple inside.
- Much of the areola’s lower portion should be inside the mouth.
Check out this video for proper breastfeeding latch.
Signs of A Proper Latch for Breastfeeding: How to Tell
Is your baby properly latched on? Here’s a checklist to help you tell your baby has achieved the proper latch for breastfeeding.
If you’re still having breastfeeding latch problems, don’t hesitate to consult a lactation expert. You can also join breastfeeding support groups. For fellow Pinay moms, check out Breastfeeding Pinays and Cebu Milk Making Mommies (for Cebu-based moms). These groups can refer you to lactation consultants in your area.