Breastfeeding doesn’t haven’t to be painful or uncomfortable. All you need is a good latch and a little patience. Luckily, we have the best breastfeeding latching tips right here to help you get started.
Breastfeeding Latching Tips to Get Your Baby the Best Latch
For me, the hardest parts of my postpartum experiences have been linked to breastfeeding. Don’t get me wrong, I love breastfeeding. It has so many breastfeeding benefits and is such a wonderful bonding experience. However great it is, though, it can still be so uncomfortable at the beginning.
But it doesn’t have to be that way!
Often, all that pain and discomfort comes from one easily fixable thing: not having a good latch.
How Do I Know if My Baby Has a Good Latch?
It’s no surprise that your baby might not have a good latch at the beginning of your breastfeeding journey! After all, this experience is completely new for at least one of you so breastfeeding latching tips are a must!
So how can you know whether or not your baby’s latch is okay? In my experience these three indicators are the most revealing:
- How many diapers your little one has. You can usually tell that your latch isn’t great when your baby isn’t getting enough to eat. The best way to assess this at home is by checking the number of diapers they have. In the newborn stage, you should expect about 8-12 diapers a day, so if you have less it’s possible that your latch isn’t allowing for the maximum output of breastmilk.
- How the latch looks and sounds. You might be able to tell that your latch is off just by looking at your baby and listening to them eat. They should have fishy lips that completely seal around your nipple. If the latch is sealed properly, you shouldn’t be able to hear any air getting in. If the latch looks shallow or not sealed, it might need some improvement.
- Your pain level. I wish I knew with my first baby that breastfeeding isn’t bound to be painful. If you have a good latch, it’s actually pretty pain-free! At the very beginning you will have a bit of pain as you adjust and as your milk comes in, but with a good latch that pain should last much longer than a couple of weeks.
If you are dealing with any of these indicators, make sure you look at these breastfeeding latching tips to help your baby get a better latch!
Breastfeeding Latching Tips
Start with a good position
Being in a good spot while you feed your baby can really help you and your baby both relax and ease into a good latch. A good breastfeeding position should help your baby’s head be in the perfect spot and allow you to help with your hands if needed.
There are so many breastfeeding positions that you can choose from. Everyone is different so you’ll have to try a few before you decide what helps your breastfeeding experience the most. But in my experience, a simple change of position can really help the latch!
Hold your breast while feeding
Especially while your baby is learning how to breastfeed, they may need a little bit of assistance from their mama. Using your hand to hold your breast is a great way to do that.
The most common holds are “V-hold” and “C-hold.” The “V-hold” is done by placing your pointer finger and middle finger on either side of your areola and using them to support the nipple into the perfect spot.
The “C-hold” is done by making a “C” shape with your hand and putting your thumb over the breast and other fingers underneath. With that extra support, you can get the right placement in your little one’s mouth.
Flip your baby’s lip outwards
A common issue with a baby’s latch happens when they curl their lips inwards. For an easy fix, just use your finger to help gently flip your baby’s lip outwards.
With their lips outwards, they’ll have a better seal and you’ll both have a much better experience!
Aim your nipple upwards
Am I the only one who didn’t know that didn’t know this advice when entering the world of breastfeeding? When my lactation consultant had me start aiming upwards, it was a total game-changer.
Baby’s sucking and rooting reflexes are triggered at the roof of their mouth. When you are starting a feeding, wait for your baby to open wide and then aim upwards as they close their lips. This should ensure a perfect position.
Get your nipple as far in your babies mouth as possible
The nerves of breastfeeding, and the initial pain that comes with it, may lead you to be timid when starting a feeding. But it’s so important to get as much of your breast into your baby’s mouth as possible.
Your baby’s lips should be pressed up against your areola, so make sure they have plenty of space to get in the right spot!
Avoid becoming engorged
Being engorged is not fun for you or your baby! Not only does being engorged cause lots of pain, but it also can make it really difficult for your baby to latch on properly.
To help with this problem, try to avoid becoming engorged by feeding often, switching sides, and paying attention to your body.
If you do become engorged, try hand expressing some milk before feeding to release some pressure for your baby. Many moms, including myself, also swear by using a Haakaa pump to help prevent and alleviate any symptoms of being engorged.
As hard as it is to do, the best thing you can do while you breastfeed is to relax! It’ll help you with your supply, with your personal comfort, with bonding, and of course with the latch. If you need some help relaxing don’t be afraid to ask your partner for a little foot massage while you feed!
And don’t forget to be patient with your baby and with yourself. It might take some time to get the perfect latch and that’s okay!
Check for tongue and lip ties
If these tips don’t help, you may want to check to see if your baby has a lip tie or a tongue tie. These are both relatively minor issues but can cause a lot of problems with breastfeeding as they lead to an improper latch.
If you think your baby may have a lip or tongue tie you should talk to their pediatrician for advice. They may refer you to a lactation consultant or advise a simple surgery.
Talk to a lactation consultant
When all else fails, or even before anything fails, talk to a lactation consultant! They can be so helpful for giving you personalized advice. They can even help you do a weighted feeding to see how much your baby is eating or watch you feed to help your baby get a better latch.
There are so many free or low-cost groups or hotlines with lactation consultants available to help. Try checking with your insurance company or the hospital where you deliver to see what resources they have available.
Breastfeeding With Inverted Nipples Tips
Since it’s such a common issue, breastfeeding with inverted nipples tips are definitely necessary! Having an inverted nipple can be so confusing and frustrating when trying to feed your little one.
If you are dealing often with inverted nipples, there are a few things that you can try.
First, nipples may come out with stimulation, so stimulating the nipple before a feeding may help.
You can also purchase a nipple shield, which has its drawbacks but can be a lifesaver for inverted nipples.
You may want to check to make sure you aren’t engorged if you are having inverted nipples, as this can be one of the main causes.
Additionally, you can use your fingers to draw out the nipple by pulling away from the areola as you begin to feed.
Of course, you can always pump as well if you can’t solve the problem.
Breastfeeding Latching Tips
I promise adding these simple breastfeeding latching tips into your routine can make all the difference with your nursing experience. Give them a try and let us know what works best! Share your tips with us in the comments below!