Latching Is Integral To Feeding
If your baby doesn’t learn how to latch, then feeding will be difficult. However, no matter your intentions or experience, there are some children who just don’t latch easily. Certainly, there are things you can do to facilitate a better latch—but not always.
Every mother has a different situation to contend with, because every baby is unique. That said, there are common strategies to breastfeeding which include tactics to help you achieve a better latch. In this writing we’ll briefly explore three key signs you can look for if you’re not sure whether or not your baby is latching properly. These signs mean you’re doing it right.
1. The Baby’s Head Isn’t Turned To The Side, But Straight
If your baby’s head isn’t properly angled at your breast, there will be difficulty in a proper latch. You want things to be oriented straight. Granted, as the child matures, more angled suckling may be possible without as much trouble. However, especially when the child is very young, you want to be sure their head is properly oriented.
There are a few different holds which will enable this. For twins, mothers keep a baby in the crook of each arm and do the “football hold”. More classically, the baby is cradled in your arms with his or her little face toward your breast. There’s also the side position where you lay out on a bed and put the baby’s face even with the nearest breast.
2. The Chin Of Your Baby Should Touch Your Breast
When your baby is properly latched, you should feel his or her little chin touching your breast. This is pretty self explanatory. Keep in mind, you’re looking for a more or less vertical orientation with the baby’s head pointed up. You’re not going to get much of a latch if you situate your baby like a skydiver!
3. An Infant’s Lips Must Turn Out Over More Than The Nipple
This last point has a little bit to do with the physics of the situation. One of the reasons you need a good latch is to facilitate proper sucking potential in the infant. They don’t have a lot of musculature to work with. Thankfully, they don’t need much. However, an improper latch will leave them hungry and you uncomfortable.
In a nutshell, you should be able to see your baby’s lips turn outwards as you nurse, rather than inwards. Pursed lips don’t allow for the same level of seal facilitating breast milk expression. The lips should be turned out, and over most of your areola, if not all of it—depending on the size of your nipples.
You can adjust the baby’s latch as necessary, but you’ve got to be careful about it. It’s best to have a strong latch right away.
Getting Help From Professionals
This link can help you in correcting shallow latch breastfeeding issues. It’s very important to get this right for your comfort as a mother, and your child’s health overall. Breastfeeding is the most healthy form of nourishment for your newborn, and it also has distinct advantages for you as a mother.
So, in brief, your baby’s head needs to be straight, the chin of the baby needs to be touching your breast, and the infant’s lips should turn out. Lastly, be sure your baby’s mouth covers much of the areola as well, not only your nipple. If only the nipples are covered, the baby won’t be able to get enough suction force to properly nurse.