Congratulations mommy! Your little bundle of joy is now right in your arms!
While motherhood is a feeling that can best be experienced, it does come with its own share of concerns and frustrations.
One very common issue that most new moms face is trying to help their baby latch on successfully, in order to feed. Breastfeeding is a natural instinct for both mother and child. While some mothers and babies may feed off to a great start right from day one, others may take a considerably longer time to get into the routine. The main thing to remember here is that the more frustrated or anxious you get, the more difficult it will be. Give it some time and practice, and you and baby will soon be a pro!
What Is Latching?
Latching means when your baby gets her mouth into the correct position around your nipple. This is very crucial as it helps your baby feed properly and reduces any discomfort you may experience.
[ Read: Food To Increase Breast Milk ]
How To Check If Your Baby Is Latched On Properly:
Once your baby gets into the habit, you can always make out if she is latching correctly or not. However, initially, especially right after birth, it may seem that your baby is constantly feeding, but actually she may not be able to latch on. This can lead to your baby staying hungry, even as you spend hours ‘feeding’ her.
Here are some signs to look out for to check if your baby latching correctly:
- When you look down at your baby, you can see the pink of your baby’s lips. This means that baby’s lips are turned outward. This position will facilitate sucking.
- There is no gap between your baby’s mouth and the areola (the circular area of pigmented skin around the nipple). This indicates that your baby has a mouthful of your breasts and is feeding.
- If you pull your baby’s lip downward you will see that your baby’s tongue is between her lower gums and your breasts.
- When your baby is sucking and swallowing, the muscles in front of her ears will slightly wiggle. This indicates a strong and efficient sucking that uses entire lower jaw.
- Your baby is swallowing the milk and it is not leaking from the sides of the mouth.
- These are some of the easiest signs you can try and spot, which will help you know if your baby has latched on correctly.
[ Read: Foods To Avoid While Breastfeeding ]
Best Positions To Ensure That Your Baby Latches Correctly:
How to latch baby on breast? While there are a number of positions that are ideal to help your baby latch correctly, you would need to figure out the position that works best for you and your baby.
1. Cradle Position:
This is the most common position of breastfeeding that is comfortable for both mother and baby.
- To feed the baby in this position, use pillows to lift your baby up.
- Your baby should be lying sideways.
- Her head will be in your forearm and the back should be positioned along your inner arm and palm.
- This will give her the warmth and support of your body.
2. Cross Cradle Position:
A number of moms try this variation to give some relief to their hands.
- In this position, your baby is supported on a pillow across your lap.
- This will help you to raise your baby up to the nipple level.
- You can support your baby’s neck by placing your thumb gently under her neck area.
3. Side Lying Position:
This is a very comfortable position for mothers, especially during the night.
- In this position, both you and your baby should lie on the side facing each other.
- Place a pillow on the back of your baby to support her from rolling away.
[ Read: Breastfeeding And Working ]
Points To Keep In Mind While Latching Your Baby:
Once you find a position that is comfortable for both of you, ensure these points for healthy latching:
- Always position yourself comfortably. Sit on a chair with a strong back support. If required, place pillows supporting your back and your arms. Also try keeping a foot rest to prevent your feet from hanging for too long.
- Position your baby as close to you as possible. Enjoy the warmth of your baby and be sure your baby enjoys that too. Initially, try only practicing holding the baby very close to you, and once you both have found you connect, latching will happen smoothly.
- Support your breasts and ensure that it is comfortably placed in your baby’s mouth. Check that your breasts are not pressing against your baby’s chin or nose.
- If you feel pain or soreness, detach your baby gently and then try latching her again.
Feeding your baby is one of the best ways of mother and baby bonding. A little practice and patience will soon help you understand what works best for you two. Use this time to talk to her gently or stroke her to sleep. Read her stories, sing lullabies, or talk to her about your day.
Remember, these precious six months of exclusive breastfeeding will be over soon, so make the most of it!
Hope you will follow these 3 useful steps and ensure that baby latches correctly. We would like to hear your breastfeeding stories.
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