Properly latching baby to the breast is so important, not only to spare your nipples, but establish a good supply and allow baby to get full. Here are five steps we teach our clients on a proper latch.
Step one is to make sure you are comfortable. Sitting or laying in a position where you feel no tension in your shoulders, low back, or bum. If you are not comfortable the oxytocin will not flow and your milk will be less likely to flow. Babies can also sense our energy, if you are uncomfortable and just want the feeding to end they will feel the same way.
Second, you want to place baby's tummy to yours and line the baby's nose up to your nipple, not their mouth, you also want to make sure your hand is not on the back of baby's head, but instead in-between their shoulder blades. This will allow baby to tilt her head back and open wide.
Next you can tickle baby's nose with your nipple, at this point baby will tilt his head back and open wide. When you see baby's mouth open wide you hug baby into you closely. You should feel them latch and begin suckling.
With all lactation this takes, patience, persistence, and practice. You should see the latch improve over the first several weeks. If you continue to have issues, call and lactation specialist to access a feeding and give you some tips. You will be able to tell the difference between a shallow latch and a deep latch, if you feel the latch is shallow, use your finger to break the latch and start again. If you allow baby to nurse with a shallow latch there will be trauma to the nipple and every feeding after will be painful.
Prenatal lactation education is also a great way to prepare yourself for the journey of breastfeeding. We teach a class once a month at Blooma Nashville. Proper latch is covered, as well as expectations, positioning, guidelines, and time lines. Remember to be kind to yourself, get help so you can rest and eat properly. Breastfeeding can be a wonderful experience with the right support. Let us know if we can help.