Breastfeeding is natural and the easiest way of feeding your baby, but getting the hang of it takes time and effort for both of you. Understanding what a good breastfeeding latch (also known as nursing attachment) looks like and feels like can go a long way toward optimal breastfeeding. Getting as much help as possible in the days and weeks following the birth is a good idea. Check your newborn’s latch, ideally with the help of a healthcare practitioner who is educated in breastfeeding support or a licensed lactation consultant or breastfeeding specialist. It’s easier to avoid issues later if you get things right today.
A bad breastfeeding latch can cause you to have sore nipples in addition to being irritating and distressing for your baby. It’s also possible that your kid won’t drain your breast properly, resulting in low weight gain, reduced milk supply, and an increased risk of plugged milk ducts and mastitis.
Signs of a good breastfeeding latch
- The latch is comfortable to use and pain-free.
- You hear or see swallowing.
- Your baby’s ears move slightly.
- Your baby’s tongue cups under your breast.
- Baby’s lips turn out.
- Your baby’s chest and stomach rest against your body so that the baby’s head is straight, not turned to the side.
- Your baby starts with short sucks before sucking more slowly and deeply.
- Baby’s mouth opens wide around your breast, not just the nipple.
- Your baby’s chin touches your breast, and he can breathe through his nose.
Signs of a bad breastfeeding latch
- Your baby is sucking in her cheeks while breastfeeding.
- Your little one is latching on to just the nipple.
- You hear clicking or smacking noises.
- You do not see or hear your little one swallowing.
- Your baby does not have her lips flanged, or one is tucked in as she sucks.
- Your nipples are sore.
- Baby is not gaining weight at the recommended rate or hasn’t regained their birth weight after 10-14 days.
- You develop cracked nipples or have broken skin
- Your baby seems unhappy and frustrated and continues to show signs of hunger after feeding.
- Your newborn is losing too much weight. Normal weight loss is 5-8% of their birth weight.
- Breastfeeding is painful for more than the first 10-15 seconds of the feed.
Steps to get your baby to latch properly
Here’s how to get your baby to latch on and get the nutrition and comfort he requires:
- Hold your breast with your free hand once your baby is in the proper position.
- Place your thumb above your nipple and your areola, where your baby’s nose will come into contact with your breast. Your index finger should be where your baby’s chin will rest on the breast.
- Lightly compress your breast to make it more like your baby’s mouth.
- Bring your baby to your breast and massage her face to activate the rooting reflex, then turn her mouth to your breast and tease her lips with your nipple until her mouth is wide open (like a yawn).
- Let her take your nipple and areola into her mouth by quickly bringing her to the breast (without pushing or squashing her head). (She may not get the whole areola in her mouth, especially if it’s a big one, but that’s fine as long as she gets a significant chunk of it.)
Effect of bad latching
Your baby won’t get the milk she needs if you don’t latch properly, and your breasts won’t be stimulated to produce more milk, thereby creating a vicious cycle of low milk demand and low milk supply. Furthermore, if the latch isn’t right, your nipples may become cracked and painful.
Common latching problems
- Large nipples
- Sleepy baby
- Inverted nipples
- Special medical problems
- Fussy baby
- Cleft lip
- Large breasts
- Down syndrome
How to prevent latching problems
- Let your baby latch on.
- Feed your baby on time.
- Let your baby get enough rest so they aren’t sleeping while feeding.
- Don’t give your baby a pacifier when he’s busy trying to latch onto you.
- Pump your breastmilk
- Use a nipple shield
- Hold your breasts gently and support your baby during latching sessions. Compressing your breast a bit also helps.
Breastfeeding is an important phase for babies because this is when their organs are growing and developing. A newborn that refuses to latch may experience constant weight gain or loss, as well as growth anomalies and nutritional inadequacies. When the body realizes that it isn’t being utilized to feed the infant, the breast milk supply begins to decrease, making the situation even worse for the mothers. Guarantee that your infant latches on properly to ensure a constant breast milk supply and achieve developmental milestones in young children.