What are the signs that your baby is having a good latch while breastfeeding? Having a baby who can latch well can put a breastfeeding mom at ease.
But how can you tell if your baby has latched on properly every single time you nurse? What should you do if your baby is not latching right? Are there good latching techniques?
First, it’s important to know what it means when your baby “latches on.” Once your nipple and areola are covered by the mouth of your baby and then they start to suck and draw out milk, then this is a good latch on breastfeeding.
8 signs that your baby is having a good latch while breastfeeding
How will you know that your baby is doing a proper way of latching? Here are the signs that your baby is doing the correct way of latching while breastfeeding.
- You probably have a good latch in breastfeeding when your baby is latching on to more than just your nipple. Your baby should be latching to your entire nipple and some of the surrounding areola.
- If you notice and hear your baby swallowing and sucking, you should not feel any pain. A little bit of pain is normal for the baby first but it should not continue during your whole breastfeeding journey.
- You can say that your child is doing a proper latching when the baby’s lips turn out like fish lips and are flat against your breast.
- Your baby’s chin and nose should be touching your breast.
- You may not be able to see it, but the tongue should lay over the baby’s lower gum. The baby’s tongue will be down on the area of the breast below your nipple.
- If you look down at your baby while she’s feeding, their head should be tipped back. The baby should be able to breathe easily during the feed, without you needing to push your breast away from her nose.
- Your baby’s cheeks should be full and rounded as she feeds. You may notice her ears wiggling as her jaws work to draw milk from your breast.
- You feel comfortable and pain-free in the way your baby latch
Remember if your breastfeeding is painful, get advice from a lactation consultant or breastfeeding specialist as soon as possible.
Next, it’s vital to remember that babies are built for breastfeeding, so says Certified Lactation counselor Abbie Yabot in a previous interview. Their instincts guide them to find their mom’s nipple and get milk. But difficulties can still arise later on.
To avoid this, here are some ways to establish a good latch right at the beginning of your breastfeeding journey.
Good latching techniques in breastfeeding
If you notice that your baby is not latching right, you can help them to do it correctly. To help them do correct latching while breastfeeding, you can follow these good latching techniques:
1. Prepare yourself by reaching out
Do your research, attend a class, or talk with fellow moms who have experienced breastfeeding. Make an effort to gain knowledge and establish a network that can support you, should you need assistance in the future.
2. Establish where you are both most comfortable
Decide on a breastfeeding position that offers the most relaxation for you and of course, your baby.
First-time breastfeeding moms usually prefer a sitting, reclined position. It makes it easier for your baby, too, as this position allows for more movement.
Make sure to use pillows to prop your baby up if needed. Remember to ask your partner or any relative to help you get in position before you start.
Good latch on breastfeeding. |photo: fotolia
3. Breastfeed immediately after birth
It’s no secret that breastfeeding as soon as possible after bringing your baby out in the world is recommended by moms and doctors alike.
It establishes a bond and offers a host of benefits for your baby. Plus, it inspires your baby to use their instincts to get a good latch early on, guided by skin-to-skin contact and the comfort of your touch.
4. Encourage your baby to find your nipple
As previously mentioned, babies have an amazing, innate skill of finding their mother’s nipple, or what is known as the Rooting Reflex.
Try stroking their cheek lightly and you’ll see that they’ll respond by turning towards the side where they’re touched.
You can encourage them even further by expressing milk (or colostrum) during the first few days of nursing.
The smell alone will stimulate your baby’s desire to feed. Remember to do what works for you both. You can try placing your baby horizontally, supporting their neck and upper back as needed.
Tips on how to have a good latch on breastfeeding. | Image from iStock
5. Know what a good latch in breastfeeding feels like
Do you feel a pulling sensation on your breast while feeding? Then it means your baby’s getting milk successfully.
If you see their temple (of their forehead) and lower jaw moving and you hear them exhaling, that means they are swallowing.
If your baby’s lips are protruding outward around your nipple and areola, it means you’ll feel less soreness after a while.
6. Know when your baby is having a hard time having a good latch while breastfeeding
It’s important to remember that breast tenderness or soreness is to be expected, especially for new moms.
But if your nipples start to look cracked or if bleed after you feed, then something’s not right. Pain is also one warning sign to watch out for.
Reach out to a pediatrician, lactation consultant, or experienced breastfeeding mom to make sure your baby learns to latch well!
A step-by-step guide to having a good latch in breastfeeding
- To open your baby’s mouth wide, tickle their lips with your nipple.
- Make sure you position your baby properly in front of your breasts. Their chin should not be tucked into their chest.
- When they get the right position, aim your nipple above your baby’s top lip.
- Turn your baby’s lips outward like a fish. Then aim the lower lip away from the base of your nipple.
- Lead your baby’s chin into the breast first, then latch their mouth onto your breast.
- Your breast should fill the baby’s mouth.
At 6 months old, the World Health Organization recommends that solid foods be introduced to your baby’s diet. You may notice that your baby will want to breastfeed less, once they experience solid foods.
Breastfeeding is advised until up to two years old, but extended breastfeeding can also offer a load of benefits! The point is, it’s entirely up to you!
Breastfeeding during the COVID 19 pandemic
Since the pandemic started, many moms are worried about breastfeeding their baby due to their exposure outside and with others. There are chances where you could risk your baby, but with safety measures, you can protect yourself and your child from the harm of COVID 19.
4 tips on keeping your baby healthy and safe
1. Continue to breastfeed while taking care of your hygiene
According to UNICEF, the virus has not been found in breast milk and all mothers are advised to continue breastfeeding while practicing good hygiene during feeding. These include the 3 Ws:
- Wear a mask during feeding
- Wash hands with soap before and after touching the baby,
- Wipe and disinfect surfaces regularly.
If anyone is sick in the household, take extra precautions to protect your baby by practicing the 3 Ws. Some mothers may opt to wear a mask during feeding to ensure the overall safety of the baby.
2. Use a cup and spoon to feed your baby with breast milk if you fall ill
When moms are not feeling well or too ill to breastfeed, they should seek immediate medical advice. Ask a noninfected family member to feed the baby an expressed breastmilk using a clean cup, cup or spoon.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), moms who get infected by coronavirus before giving birth and start breastfeeding should continue breastfeeding.
Those who become infected while breastfeeding can produce immune factors or antibodies in their milk to enhance the baby’s own immune system.
Coronavirus has not been found in breast milk.
Image from iStock
Breastfeeding is the best way to provide ideal food for the healthy growth and development of babies. However, there are instances where a mother is unable to breastfeed or where she has decided not to breastfeed.
In these cases, it is especially essential that babies are being fed according to the instructions on the packaging. Extra safety measures should also be taken by thoroughly washing bottles, teats, and any other equipment used. The 3 Ws should be followed at all times.
4. Take additional hygiene measures
Proper handwashing is one of the best ways to stop illness from spreading. Hand washing stops the spread of colds, flu and stomach problems. Even though it seems simple, hand washing is often overlooked or not done right.
5 tips to help reduce discomfort and prevent infection while breastfeeding:
- Rub a small amount of breast milk into your nipples after breastfeeding, and allow to air dry
- Always keep your nipples clean and dry
- If you use breast pads, change them often or when wet
- Do not use breast pads with plastic on the back
- Wear clothing that allows air to circulate, cotton is ideal
Everyone has their own worries, especially moms during the pandemic. Taking the initiative to learn about the safety measures to take this pandemic can reduce the risk of harming our families with COVID-19.
Breastfeeding is important to both you and your baby. There are lots of proven health benefits breastfeeding can give moms and babies. Babies get most of the nutrients they need in the first days of their life from their mom’s breastmilk.
Breastmilk can help your child become healthier and stronger. It protects your child from any viral and bacterial illness they might encounter while growing up.
Mommy, your milk has a lot of nutritional components, antioxidants, enzymes, immune properties, and live antibodies. These components are easily absorbed by your baby’s body when you nurse them.
Your mature immune system produces antibodies mixed in your breast milk. When your baby feeds on your milk, these antibodies will be absorbed by their body and will protect them from any illness they might encounter from childhood to adulthood.
The effects of being a breastfed baby are long-term. It protects your child until your baby becomes an adult.
Some of the benefits your baby can get from breastmilk:
- Strong immunity against illness
- Smaller chance of having bacterial meningitis
- Lower rate of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
- Avoid getting an ear infection, allergies, eczema, and asthma.
- Lower rate of infant mortality
- Lessen the risk of having diarrhea, constipation, gastroenteritis, gastroesophageal reflux, and preterm necrotizing enterocolitis.
- Clear vision
- Improve brain maturity
- Avoid obesity later in life.
- Lower the risk of experiencing rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, and pre-or postmenopausal breast cancer later in life.
Aside from the health benefits, your child can get from being breastfed, breastfeeding your baby is also good for your health.
Here are the benefits moms can get from breastfeeding:
- Stimulate the uterus to contract and return to its original size after giving birth.
- Help your body produce happy hormones such as prolactin and oxytocin. These will help you lessen the feeling of stress and give you a better mood.
- Boost your self-esteem and makes you calm.
In line with what is mentioned above, breastfeeding helps moms lower the risk of experiencing the following illnesses too.
Additional information from Jobelle Macayan
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