A strong and effective latch is essential for successful breastfeeding, especially in the early days. A weak or shallow latch can lead to soreness, bleeding, and even secondary problems like an infection. Incorrect latching also increases the risk of your baby developing nipple thrush or other types of mastitis.
A good latch breastfeeding is not only comfortable for both mom and child but it also helps them both to extract more milk from the breast and eliminate those sore, ‘tender’ nipples once and for all! Read on to find out more about getting the best latch for breastfeeding with these 5 helpful tips.
1. Try Before You Breastfeed
One of the best ways to get the best latch for breastfeeding is to try it before you actually breastfeed. If possible, have someone help you latch your baby correctly so you can get a feel for it, plus see how your baby reacts to breastfeeding. While not everyone will have access to a breastfeeding partner, there are many breastfeeding simulation dolls that can help you practice positioning and latching your baby, and they are becoming increasingly available. Using a breastfeeding simulation doll is a particularly good idea if you are planning to breastfeed in public, or if your baby has special needs that require additional support when breastfeeding.
2. Focus on Positioning
Positioning is key to ensuring your baby gets the best latch for breastfeeding. Your baby should be positioned with their body close to yours, facing your breast with their mouth open wide. The head shouldn’t be cradled too far back, nor should the jaw be cradled too close to your breast. If the head is too far back, your baby may be latching on to your breast tissue rather than the nipple, making it difficult for your baby to get enough milk. If the jaw is too close, your baby will have a hard time opening wide enough to latch on. If the jaw is too far back, they could also be at risk of “nip-slipping”, where they latch on to the nipple rather than the breast.
3. Get Your Baby Fed Before You Feed Yourself
While it might be tempting to hit the “relax” button and drink a large glass of wine or eat a nice meal after a long day, remember that your baby needs to come before you do. If the baby isn’t latched on properly, this can lead to your breasts producing less milk than they otherwise would. Your baby will also take longer to feed and extract less milk from the breast, causing more pain and discomfort for you. If your baby isn’t latched on properly, try feeding them again, but this time make sure to watch them and ensure they latch on properly. It may also help to switch sides.
4. Try a Lactation Aid
If you have tried everything and are still having problems with a weak latch, or your baby is having a hard time latching on, you may want to try a lactation aid. Lactation aids are small devices you can use to train your baby to latch on properly and to stimulate let-downs. These tools are often used in tandem with medication, like nipple shields. Lactation aids work by mimicking the feeling of your nipple in the baby’s mouth when feeding. Many mothers find that using a lactation aid is an easy way to correct any issues with latching, and it also makes it easy for the baby to locate the nipple even if they don’t latch on correctly. Remember that breastfeeding is as much about you as it is about your baby, so you shouldn’t feel pressured to continue breastfeeding if it isn’t right for you.
5. Ask For Help From A Lactation Expert Or Healthcare Provider
If the above methods haven’t worked for you, you may want to seek out a lactation expert or your healthcare provider for advice or help. Latching issues can be due to several different factors, and a professional can help to identify and diagnose the cause of your latching issues so they can be corrected. If you are worried or unsure about the latch your baby is getting, it is best to speak to a healthcare professional as soon as possible. Identifying problems early on is the best way to correct them, and a lactation expert or healthcare professional will be able to help you so you and your baby can both get the most out of breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding is a wonderful experience for both you and your baby. It is important to remember that latching your baby properly is essential for a successful breastfeeding experience. When your baby is latched on correctly, you can more easily extract milk from the breast and your baby can extract more milk and be more satisfied. Getting your baby latched on correctly doesn’t have to be hard or painful. With the right breastfeeding techniques and advice, you can latch your baby on properly in no time!