How do you know if your baby is latching correctly?
When you give birth to your little one, they become the center of your attention. You want to give your child the best of everything, especially when it comes to nourishing him. Breastfeeding is a gift only you can give your baby. It is the best food for newborns as it protects your babies from many kinds of allergies and chronic diseases. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies be breastfed exclusively for about the first six months. Following the introduction of solid foods, breastfeeding should continue through the first year of life and potentially even beyond.
When you place your baby near your breast for the first time, you will feel some nervousness. Are you doing everything right? Are you breastfeeding your baby correctly? Is he getting enough nutrition? A good latch is an answer to all your questions, as a good latch is the most important aspect of breastfeeding. But what is latching? Latching is the process of initiating nursing at the breast. It is the action of attaching your baby’s mouth around your nipple and areola, the darker area around your nipple. The latch allows your baby to compress the milk ducts in the areola, create an effective suction, and start suckling so he can induce letdown and begin feeding. Your newborn needs to latch on well to get enough breast milk for nourishment and growth.
If you are a new mom, it is not easy for you to give your child a good latch on a first attempt, but understanding how a good breastfeeding latch should look and feel can be a tremendous problem solver.
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So what should a good latch feel like?
Painless and comfortable. You should feel gentle tugging at your breast as the baby sucks, but if you’re feeling uncomfortable, it may be because you are not used to it. Focus on getting a good latch and see if it improves. A healthy latch will reduce nipple soreness and encourage your baby to suck deeply, which stimulates your milk to flow. Sometimes a good latch comes easily, but in many cases, you will need to work with your baby to get the desired latch. If you are having problems stimulating your milk ducts, then we would recommend getting a breastfeeding stimulator. We recommend LaVie Lactation Massager.
Here are some indicators of good latch:
· A good latch is when the baby opens a wide mouth to latches on your nipple as well as your areola, the darker area around the breast. The amount of your areola that the baby takes in his mouth usually depends on the size of your nipple and the size of your baby’s mouth. If, after nursing, the nipple is squished, shaped like a lipstick, or bleeding, there is an issue with the latch.
· The latch is pain-free and comfortable for both mother and child. Your baby’s chest and stomach rest against your body so that baby’s head is straight, not turned to the side. Your breast should touch his chin, not his nose.
· When the baby’s lips are curled outwards like fish lips, and sit flat against your breast. Baby’s tongue cups under your breast, and your breast should fill your baby’s mouth.
· You will notice he is peacefully sucking. His sucking will become slower and much more profound as he swallows milk during active sucking and swallowing. The muscles in front of the baby’s ears will move, indicating a solid and efficient suck that uses the entire lower jaw.
· When your baby is latching well, you will notice that he is getting enough nutrition, gaining weight, and growing healthy. He seems happy and satisfied as well, and after breastfeeding, your breasts will feel tender and less full than ever.
· You hear or see your baby swallow. Sometimes baby swallows so quietly that a pause in their breathing may be the only sign of swallowing.
· Your nipples look rounded, not flattened when your baby comes off your breast.
· The nipple does not have any cracks or bleeding.
· Your baby appears satisfied with relaxed body language.
This is how a good latch looks and feels like I will suggest new moms latch as much as possible as it allows mom and baby to practice.
Remember these points before starting a latching session with your baby:
· Before starting a latching session with your baby, first try to create a calm environment first.
· Before you start, and whichever breastfeeding position you choose, make sure your baby’s head, neck, and spine are aligned.
· If you are having a hard time getting a good latch, it can be very stressful and emotional for you as a mother, but don’t panic; take a deep breath. It may take some time because this is new for both of you, but it is, in fact, what your breasts are built to do.
· Start a breastfeeding session before your baby gets so hungry that they are crying. A crying and upset baby is much harder to get latched on than a relaxed and calm baby.
· It is hard to settle into a cozy nursing session when you are in pain, your back is aching, or your arms are numb from holding the baby for so long. Make sure that you are comfortable. Use pillows to support your body, including your arms, properly.
· If you are using a blanket while getting your baby to latch, remove it immediately. Blankets make it difficult for the baby to be close enough to latch well.
· Support your breast but keep your fingers well back from the areola (the darker area around the breast).
· Babies suck differently on artificial nipples than they do on the breast because artificial nipples are designed to release milk with ease. Do not give too much of it to your baby because your baby will start to prefer artificial nipples over actual breastfeeding.