Signs That Your Baby Is Attached Well
- Chin is pressed into the breast
- Nose is clear or just touching the breast
- Lower lip turned out over the breast
- Much of the areola is in your babys mouth
- There is no pain
- Jaw moving as your baby sucks
- You will feel a tugging sensation
- Short rapid sucks to stimulate the let-down reflex, and then slow and deep sucks with some pauses
- You will hear swallowing
- Gaining weight as expected
How Do I Get My Baby To Latch Correctly
Find a quiet spot to sit, and support yourself with pillows, a footstool, or whatever you need to feel comfortable. Choose a nursing position that feels good. When you and your baby are ready, follow these steps:
Make a “nipple sandwich.” Hold your breast with your hand, and compress it to make a “nipple sandwich.” An easy way to remember how to hold your hand: Keep your thumb by your baby’s nose and your fingers by the chin. Compressing your breast this way lets your baby get a deep latch. Your baby’s head should lean back slightly, so their chin is touching your breast.
Get your baby to open wide. Touch or rub your nipple on the skin between your baby’s nose and lips. When this happens, your baby should open wide with the tongue down.
Bring your baby to the breast. When your baby’s mouth is open wide, quickly bring your baby to your breast . Your baby should take as much of the areola into the mouth as possible. Your baby’s nose should almost touch your breast and their lips should be turned out .
When your baby is properly latched on, you may have a few moments of discomfort at first. After that, it should feel like a tug when your baby is sucking.
To make sure you’re doing it right, it helps to be observed by someone who knows a lot about breastfeeding, like a lactation consultant.
Your Baby Has A Tongue
In babies born with a tongue-tie , the piece of tissue that connects the tongue to the lower part of the mouth is, instead, attached closer to the tip of the tongue. A baby with a tongue-tie cannot extend their tongue out of their mouth far enough to correctly latch on to the breast for feeding.
If your newborn is having latching problems and you suspect a tongue-tie, let your pediatrician know. They will need to refer your baby to a specialist who is trained to diagnose the condition. Once your infant has been examined by a specialist , treatment will be based on how severe the condition is.
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What Is A Proper Breastfeeding Latch
It’s a myth that babies are born knowing how to latch on and breastfeed correctly. The proper latch often takes time, trial and error, and yes, sore nipples.
The ideal latch encompasses both the nipple and the surrounding areola, the pinkish-brown flat circle that became darker and developed goose bumps during pregnancy. Remember, though breast milk comes out of the numerous tiny openings in the nipple, your baby’s gums need to compress the areola and the milk sinuses located underneath it to actually start the flow. If not, your milk won’t let down and new milk won’t be produced.
How To Ensure You Activate The Suck
Bring your baby to your breast, not your breast to your baby. Use a pillow or two to bring your baby up to your breast.
Many mothers make the mistake of holding their breasts too close to the areola. Hold your breast further back so that there is enough nipple available to reach the back of the tongue.
Tummy-to-tummy refers to correct body position. No matter the breastfeeding position, turn your baby so that they are tummy-to-tummy with you. Ensure that your breast is directly in front of your babys face.
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How To Get Baby To Latch Deeper
Before we go into all the different positions you can try for your baby to get a deeper latch, I would just like to remind you that babies already know how to feed , although they might need some gentle coaching to make it work at first.
One of the best methods to encourage a deeper latch is to lie your baby on your tummy.
The close contact between you and your little one will help the baby awaken their instinct to nurse.
There are different motions babies make when they are ready to eat, such as starting to bob their head, rooting, and opening their mouth.
Dont wait until your little one starts crying, as this is a late indicator of hunger and it could be more difficult to get into a comfortable position with a very upset baby.
No matter which breastfeeding position you choose, there are a few steps you can take to make sure your baby is latched in a way thats comfortable for you and allows the baby to get enough milk.
While holding your baby in one arm, use the other to hold your breast so that your index finger is below the nipple and the thumb is above your nipple.
Encourage your baby to open their mouth in a gape as this will ensure that the nipple and breast tissue goes deep into their mouth .
With time, you will figure out what is the best nursing position for you and your little one.
Remember that its always best to perfect one position, rather than to switch back and forth between different ones.
What Food Should I Eat While Breastfeeding
The best diet is well balanced and has plenty of calcium. A balanced diet includes eating from all 5 food groups. You should get 5 servings of milk or dairy products each day. It is okay to eat foods that were restricted while you were pregnant. These will not make your baby sick.
If you dont eat meat or dairy, you can get calcium from foods such as broccoli, sesame seeds, tofu, and kale. Talk to your doctor about taking a calcium supplement if you dont get enough from your diet.
You should eat about 500 extra calories per day. Make sure you drink extra fluids as well. Continue to take a prenatal vitamin so your body gets enough nutrients.
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How To Solve Common Latch Problems With Breastfeeding
When a baby latches on to the breast correctly, they can more easily remove breast milk from your breasts. Efficient removal is important for both you and your baby. It allows your child to get enough milk to grow healthy and strong while also telling your body to build and maintain your milk supply.
On the other hand, when a baby isn’t latching on well, it can lead to breastfeeding issues for parent and baby. Babies who don’t get enough milk may gain weight slowly or even lose weight. Breastfeeding parents can develop painful breast conditions such as breast engorgement, plugged milk ducts, or mastitis. The ineffective removal of breast milk can also cause a low breast milk supply.
Most babies can latch on and breastfeed well, even if they need a little assistance in the beginning. However, there are a few situations that can make latching more difficult. Addressing these will make breastfeeding more successful and comfortable.
If your newborn is not able to latch on and breastfeed, it’s important to get help from your doctor or a lactation professional as soon as possible.
Tips For Getting Baby Latched On To The Breast
Breastfeeding will be more relaxed for both you and your baby when he has a good latch from the get-go. We can help you make that happen.
In breastfeeding, the latch is the moment everything comes together: Your baby takes a big mouthful of your nipple and areola , begins to suck, and draws out your milk. When your baby has established a good latch, your nipple soreness is minimized and your little one gets the nourishment he needs. How do you pull all that off? First and most important, have faith in yourself and your baby. “Babies are designed to breastfeed,” says Emily Pease, R.N., international board certified lactation consultant , of Swedish Hospital’s Breastfeeding Center in Seattle. “They are born with instincts that help them find Mom’s breast and latch on often with very little assistance. And if problems do come up, there are lots of ways to troubleshoot.” Here are more steps to get a good latch right from the start.
Step one: Do your homework. Before your baby arrives, take a breastfeeding class — many hospitals and birthing centers offer them — or go to a La Leche League International meeting. At prenatal breastfeeding classes, instructors demonstrate latching with videos or with dolls, so you can get more comfortable with the process. Connecting with other moms and new moms-to-be can be an invaluable source of support should you have questions or problems when your turn arrives.
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Common Latching Problems And Solutions
Having trouble breastfeeding? Here’s how to fix a couple of the most common latching problems:
- Poor positioning. Don’t hunch over your baby and push your breast into his mouth. Instead, try bringing baby’s little suction cup to you.
- Baby’s body is out of line. Make sure babys head and body are facing you, so he can focus squarely on the task at hand.
- Baby’s body is too far away. Mealtime is impossible if your nipple is out of reach.
- An empty breast. Your baby may not latch because little or nothing comes out when he sucks.
- Flat or inverted nipples. It can be more difficult, but not impossible, for baby to latch on.
Before You Give Birth
During pregnancy, the following things can prepare you for breastfeeding.
- Prenatal care. Its important to take good care of yourself and your baby. Babies who are born early have a harder time breastfeeding.
- Talk to your doctor. Make sure your doctor knows you plan to breastfeed. They can give you some resources. Ask questions about what type of care the hospital provides after birth. Some offer lactation consultants, who are breastfeeding specialists.
- Breastfeeding class. Some women find that taking a class can help them practice for the real thing.
- Breastfeeding items. Plan ahead by purchasing the items you need. These can include a nursing pillow, nursing bra, and covers. Some hospitals and insurance plans provide free breast pumps.
Your Baby Should Be Able To Move Their Head
Do not hold your babys head or restrict its movement , but instead their head should be tilted slightly back, and their nose level with your nipple. If you feel unsure about whether your babys neck is supported enough, you could experiment with one of these other positions.
Try this exercise yourself now: put your chin to your chest, and try to swallow. Its so challenging, isnt it? Now, gently tilt your head back, and swallow again. It seems insignificant, and its tempting to hold a babys head and press it toward the nipple, but let your baby lead the way. Breastfeeding is instinctive for them. For us motherswe need some practice.
Why Do Babies Have A Hard Time Latching On
If the skin on your breasts becomes tight and your nipples flatten out, your baby may have a hard time latching on. You can soften up the skin around your nipples and areola by pumping or hand expressing a little breast milk before you begin to breastfeed. This will make it easier for your baby to latch on.
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If The Latch Is Shallow Unlatch Then Try Again
Make sure youre comfortable and baby is both stable and comfortable.
If the latch is shallow, unlatch, then attempt to latch again aiming nipple toward baby’s nose, rather than straight into their mouth.
Bring babys chin and lower lip into contact with the breast first.
-Jill Lancaster, RN BSN IBCLC at Lactivist Activist
Latching And Positioning Resources
No matter what latch and positioning look like, the true measure is in the answers to these two questions:
Even if latch and positioning look perfect , pain and/or ineffective milk transfer indicate that something needs to change, and the first suspect is ineffective latch/positioning.If baby is transferring milk and gaining weight well, and mom is not hurting, then latch and positioning are by definition good, even if they look nothing like the textbook latch and positioning that youve seen in books.
Rules and regulations have no place in the mother-baby relationship. Each mother and baby dyad is different and what works well for one mother and baby may not work well for another mother and baby. The important thing to do is to look at the mother and baby as individuals. Andrea Eastman, MA, CCE, IBCLC in The Mother-Baby Dance
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Breastfeeding Latch: Proper Positioning
The most important part of successful breastfeeding is the latch. If your baby is not properly latched on to your breast, feedings could be painful. There are specific techniques that can be used when latching your baby to your breast.The position in which you hold your baby is also crucial. When a good position and latch is obtained, breastfeeding can be a wonderful experience between mother and baby. A lactation consultant may prove helpful in getting the techniques down.Breastfeeding may cause your nipples to be sore. While correcting the latch will make a difference for your long-term comfort, it may prove helpful to use a nipple cream to ease the soreness immediately. Look at Nipple Creams Here.
What Should I Avoid While Breastfeeding
Certain foods can bother your baby. They may make him or her fussy or gassy. Pay attention to what you eat and how your baby acts after feedings. Stop eating foods that affect them. These may include spicy foods, broccoli, or milk.
Some babies react to cows milk in your diet. Symptoms can include gas, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, or colic. Your baby also can have an allergic reaction to something you eat. Common foods are eggs and peanuts. They may get a rash or have trouble breathing. Contact your doctor right away if your baby has any of these signs.
Limit your intake of caffeine and alcohol. These can get into your milk. Dont have more than a couple cups of coffee, tea, soda, or other caffeine each day. Dont have more than one alcoholic drink each day. Avoid drinking caffeine and alcohol less than 2 hours before a feeding.
Some medicines can get into your milk. This includes over-the-counter drugs and prescriptions, such as antidepressants and birth control medicines. Dont take anything without talking to your doctor first. Smoking also is bad for breastfeeding. The chemicals and smoke can get in your milk. Smoking can cause you to make less milk. If you smoke, try to quit.
If possible, avoid using bottles or pacifiers after birth. This can confuse your baby and make breastfeeding harder.
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