Helping Baby latch correctly is a key component to your breastfeeding success. There’s nothing more important because it all begins with a good latch.
What is a latch?
It’s how Baby nurses at your breast and it encompasses how Baby opens when his mouth is brought to your nipple, how his mouth is placed on your nipple and areola, how he flares out his lips, and even how his lips, tongue, and jaw work to draw in breast milk.
That is what I’m talking about and when I’m talking about helping Baby latch correctly, I’m talking about getting all of these nuances working right so that your breastfeeding is both successful and pleasant.
When Baby is not latched correctly is when problems are invited in. It’s also a sign that something is off and needs to be addressed.
✅ If you’re a visual learner, like me, I encourage you to check out these breastfeeding training videos produced by an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant!
Getting the Correct Breastfeeding Latch
Getting the correct breastfeeding latch takes a little practice, so expect to fumble a bit for the first couple of weeks. By this time, however, you and your little one will find a good rhythm.
At first, you might experience a little pain. After all, this is new territory. And it’s really more discomfort you’re feeling, though some moms say it hurts quite a bit.
However, the right breastfeeding latch prevents unnecessary pain. If you’re experiencing pain, the right latch and a good breastfeeding position will often reduce or eliminate that pain altogether.
Helping Baby latch correctly means bringing Baby’s nose to your nipple, getting Baby to open wide (as if when yawning), and your nipple and as much of your areola as possible into the mouth. This way, you can ensure that your nipple goes way back into the mouth, near where the hard palate meets the soft palate.
Watch this video below that shows a technique for getting a deep, pain-free breastfeeding latch:
When I breastfed my first child, I found that it really helped to have a breastfeeding pillow for support. I would tuck the pillow around me and it supported my arm, which was supporting my little one.
I used a Boppy back then, but there are several styles and options to choose from. I particularly like the two-sided Boppy below.
Boppy Two-Sided Breastfeeding Pillow, Kensington/GrayMy Brest Friend Original Nursing Pillow, FireworksLuna Lullaby Bosom Baby Nursing Pillow, Sage DotDr. Brown’s Gia Nursing PillowLekebaby Breastfeeding Nursing Pillow
Don’t Forget to Eat
Trust me when I say you’ll also want to have water and portable snacks ready to go. Many moms report not just being hungry, but STARVING when breastfeeding.
So have Hubby make a grocery run and make sure he picks up grab-and-go snacks like granola bars, fruit, and other snack foods.
You can also plan ahead and prep fresh foods like fruits and veggies, cheese and salami, hard-boiled eggs…even things like chicken salad are easy to prep and have ready to eat.
No-Brainer Snacks When it’s Time to Breastfeed:
- Cereal (I can eat it dry!)
- Cut up veggies
- Cut up fruit
- Cheese slices or cubes
- Cheese sticks wrapped in lunchmeat
- Granola Bars
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sandwich with meat, cheese, lettuce, and tomato
- Whatever your family is willing to bring you when you’re nursing! 🙂
Checklist for Helping Baby Latch Correctly
✅ Baby’s whole body – head, neck, shoulders, and hips – is in alignment
✅ Baby’s mouth is wide open and lips are curled out
✅ Baby’s chin and nose are touching the breast
✅ Baby has taken as much areola as possible into the mouth
✅ Suckling is rhythmic and deep
✅ You can hear regular swallowing
✅ Your nipple is comfortable after the first few suckles
❌ Baby’s head is not in alignment with his body
❌ Baby is suckling on the nipple only, not taking any of the areola into his mouth
❌ Suckling is light and quick rather than deep and regular
❌ Baby’s cheeks are puckered inward or you hear clicking
❌ You don’t hear him swallowing regularly after milk production has increased
❌ You feel nipple pain; pain is a sign of an incorrect latch
Let me know in the comments below if you’ve had trouble helping Baby latch correctly or if you’ve been successful getting a correct breastfeeding latch!