When I was pregnant with my first child, I envisioned her nursing effortlessly right out of the womb. Unfortunately, the reality was not quite as romantic as I'd planned. We endured days of painfully unproductive nursing sessions before I realized that a poor latch was keeping us from having the picture-perfect experience. It's not uncommon for moms and babies to get off to a rocky start when nursing, which is why you need to know some tips for getting baby to latch.
When you're nursing, a good latch can make the difference between a beautiful bonding experience and a painful attack on your nipples. According to the Dr. Sears' website, mother's don't have to worry about sore nipples and their babies will be able to get a hearty meal when there is a good latch in place.
But how do you know if baby has a good latch going? It's not like they can tell you, right? According to Medela, your baby is properly latched when you notice some of the areola showing above baby's upper lip. The bottom lip should be covering the base of the areola. As baby begins sucking and your milk starts to flow, you'll hear her swallowing all of the natural goodness that is your mama's milk.
Getting baby to that proper latch, however, isn't so simple. By utilizing some of the following tips, you can master latching and get you and your baby on a successful feeding routine.
1. Make Yourself Comfortable
Settling into the right position is essential to helping your baby get a good latch. You're going to be in this position for a while, so make sure you can maintain it without strain. As Parents suggested, allow yourself to recline nearly 45 degrees so that you are comfortable and gravity will support your baby.
2. Give Your Baby Some Support
Set your baby up for nursing success by giving her as much support as possible. Place your baby on a breastfeeding support pillow to ensure that she is the best position to get a good latch, according to the American Pregnancy Association.
3. Touch Tummies
You don't want baby to have to strain to reach your nipple, so you'll want to hold him in a position that puts your breast right near his mouth. As Dr. Sears advised on his website, turn your baby on his side so that the two of you are facing tummy-to-tummy.
4. Give A Tickle
In order to get a proper latch, your baby will need to open their mouth wide enough to get at least a half inch of the base of your nipple in their mouth. But you may need to give her a little nudge to get her to open wide. Use your nipple to gently tickle your baby's bottom lip, as La Leche League International advised.
5. Aim For The Top
Once you've got baby to open wide, you need to make sure they're getting the right part of the breast in his mouth. According to Medela, aiming your nipple to the roof of baby's mouth will help guide them to the best latch.
6. Get Plenty Of Practice
It may not seem like it if you're having trouble, but babies were born to nurse. If you want to ensure your baby gets a good latch, practice makes perfect. According to Parents, the sooner you start nursing, the better chance your baby has of putting his natural ability to latch on to use.
7. Ask For Help
If you think you've tried everything and you and your baby still can't find your nursing groove, don't be afraid to ask for help. Seek out a lactation consultant or La Leche League International near you for expert advice and support that will help you until you get the hang of breastfeeding, according to Dr. Sears' website.