Breastfeeding Basics: Getting the Latch Right.
The average Nigerian woman decides to breastfeed or wants to breastfeed. I am not talking exclusively just breastfeeding in general but I find that most have difficulty with establishing a steady milk supply and hence have to stop breastfeeding before 6months or have to introduce formula to breastfeeding. One of the things that affect achieving a steady milk supply is not getting your baby to latch properly on to the breast. So I asked a new mum just some minutes after delivering if she could breastfeed, all the relatives in the room were like “ahan! What type of question is that of course she can breastfeed” I knew it sounded like a stupid question but I knew what I wanted to achieve, I told her to breastfeed and like I guessed she wasn’t getting the baby latched on well, if I left her to continue that way she was on her way to getting sore nipples in days. Breastfeeding is natural, yes but it also something that takes times and practice to perfect.
Latching is one of the basics of breastfeeding and it getting it right early helps to make your breastfeeding journey as smooth as possible. It is also very important as it prevents your nipples from getting sore and ensuring you get a steady milk supply. I would give a few steps to help you in getting the latch right.
It is important that you are very comfortable and position your baby appropriately, you can use nursing pillows to help with comfort (use any other pillow if you don’t have a nursing pillow).
Steps to getting the latch right
- Ensure your baby is positioned tummy-to-tummy with you at all times.
- Keep your baby’s ear, shoulder, and hip in alignment, which will make swallowing easier.
- Position your baby’s nose be opposite the nipple. Hold your breast to help guide the nipple into your baby’s mouth. Grasp the breast on the sides, using either a “C” hold or “U” hold. Make sure to keep fingers far from the nipple so you don’t affect how the baby latches on.
- Now aim the nipple toward the baby’s upper lip/nose, not the middle of the mouth. Now you need to open your baby’s mouth so rub the nipple across the top lip to get your baby to open her mouth.
- The baby’s head should be tilted slightly back. You do not want your baby’s chin to her chest.
- When she opens his mouth wide with the chin dropped and tongue down, there is your aim, she should latch on to the nipple. If she does not open wide, do not try to shove the nipple in and wiggle the mouth open. It is best to move back, tickle the lip again with the nipple and wait for a wide open mouth.
- Try to get as much of the lower portion of the areola (the area around the nipple) in the baby’s mouth.
- Your baby’s chin should indent the lower portion of your breast.
- Now look to see if your baby’s bottom and top lip are flanged out like fish lips. If they are not, you may use your finger to pull the bottom one down and open up the top one.
Don’t rush it, it would take time as you and your baby are just getting to know each other, it takes constant practice and your confidence would go from zero to hundred.
I hope this has been useful to you if you do encounter and problems don’t be shy to reach out to me I would be happy to help you. Sharing excites me please share, like and comment.