Breastfeeding may be the most natural way to feed your baby. Even though women are designed for breastfeeding, it can be a challenge, especially when it comes to positioning. Whether you’re just getting started or encountering common breastfeeding problems, the first thing to tackle is your baby’s latch.
Latching on is how your baby attaches to your breast to feed and it is a skill both you and your baby need to learn together. Good attachment prevents you from developing sore and cracked nipples.
Steps to guide to latching on:
Make sure you are sitting comfortably in a chair with good back support. Use a breastfeeding pillow to help you position the baby, for latch-on.
Make sure baby is always lying tummy-to-tummy with you.
Remember to bring the baby to you, do not lean to the baby, as this will cause severe strain on your neck and shoulders and affect the baby’s position.
Remember to ensure that baby’s head, shoulder and hip are in a straight alignment as it helps baby with swallowing
Ensure baby’s nose is opposite the nipple
Mother grasps her breast on the sides using a “C” or “U” hold and guides the nipple into the baby’s mouth.
C Hold U Hold
Mother must make sure to keep her fingers far from the nipple so that it will not affect how the baby latches on
Aim the nipple towards the baby’s upper lip/nose.
Rub the nipple across the baby’s top lip to get the baby to open the mouth
Tilt the baby’s head slightly back, so that their top lips can brush against your nipple. This should encourage the baby to open his/her mouth wide.
When the baby has a mouth wide opened, and head tipped back, the baby’s lower chin should be able to touch your breast first, and the baby’s tongue can reach as much breast as possible.
Try to get as much of the lower portion of the areola into the baby’s mouth.
Do not shove nipple into baby’s mouth if he/she does not open mouth wide. Instead, tickle the lip and wait for a wide-open mouth.
Your baby’s tongue must extend over the lower jaw to form a soft pad that will hold and support the mother’s nipple during nursing.
Ensure that baby’s bottom and top lip are flanged out like fish lip. The baby’s mouth should form a tight seal.
With the baby correctly latched on, the stretched nipple will eject milk towards the back of the baby’s mouth.
Breastfeeding should not be painful. A good latch will help keep discomfort to a minimum. When the baby has not latched on well, other problems can develop including cracked and sore nipples. Once you get accustomed to positioning your baby and helping him/her get a good latch, breastfeeding can be a wonderful, pain-free bonding experience between you and your baby.
You can also read our article on 5-common-breastfeeding-positions