Before I had my first child, I was sure breastfeeding would be the least of my worries. I was immersed in the breastfeeding world through Momzelle. I spent my pregnant days reading advice and listening to our community of mamas share their experiences. That confidence was shattered on day two post birth when both my baby and I were crying our eyes out (you can read about the problem and solution here). The culprit of our collective misery; a bad latch. Getting a good latch while breastfeeding is a common challenge that many moms face. A good latch is essential for effective breastfeeding, as it helps ensure that your baby is able to get enough milk and that your breasts are emptied properly.
Here are some tips for getting a good latch while breastfeeding:
Make sure your baby is positioned correctly. Positioning your baby correctly can help ensure a good latch. This means bringing your baby close to your breast, with their nose level with the nipple. Your baby's mouth should be wide open, with their lips flanged outwards.
Hold your breast correctly. The way you hold your breast can also impact your baby's latch. Try holding your breast with your thumb on top and your fingers underneath, or use the "C-hold" technique, where your thumb and index finger form a "C" shape around your breast.
Encourage your baby to open their mouth wide. Before your baby latches on, encourage them to open their mouth wide by gently tickling their lips with your nipple or expressing a small amount of milk onto their lips. This can help encourage your baby to take in more of the areola, which can help improve the latch.
Gently guide your baby onto the breast. Once your baby's mouth is open wide, gently guide them onto the breast by placing your nipple and as much of the areola as possible into their mouth. Avoid pushing your baby's head onto your breast, as this can cause them to clamp down and make it harder for them to latch on properly.
Pay attention to your baby's sucking pattern. A good latch is characterized by a deep, rhythmic sucking pattern. If your baby is having trouble latching on or is not breastfeeding effectively, try gently breaking the latch and starting again.
By following these tips, you can help ensure that you and your baby get a good latch while breastfeeding. Remember to be patient and don't be afraid to seek support from a lactation consultant or your healthcare provider if you're having trouble. With a little practice, you and your baby can master the art of breastfeeding and enjoy all the benefits it has to offer.
Here are some more resources:
La Leche League International