Latching Baby to the Breast

Breastfeeding might be the most natural way to feed your bay, but that doesn’t mean that it will all come naturally to you, or your baby! Breastfeeding is something that most women find they have to work on and one of the most important aspects of ?getting it right? is the latch. How baby attaches to the breast can be crucial when it comes to how they feed and how you feel.

Problems Attaching Baby to the Breast

Problems with the latch can result in a number of problems for Mum and baby. In fact, the vast majority of breastfeeding problems are due, at least in part, to a poor latch. The most obvious problem is the pain that a poor latch can cause to the nipple. If your baby is sucking ?on? the nipple, it can cause them to crack or blister, causing severe pain and even bleeding. If your baby is not attached properly to the breast then it is less likely they will be able to drain the breast effectively, and this can lead to blocked ducts and even mastitis; both painful complaints that can have complications if not dealt with promptly. With the risk of not emptying the breast comes problems with supply; the body will not product as much milk if the breast is not being drained as we are designed to produce milk according to demand.

Getting it Right

There is nothing better than having an expert guide you in attaching baby to the breast but there are a number of guidelines you can keep in mind to make sure you are attaching baby correctly so you can avoid any problems and continue feeding your little one happily.

So how do you know your baby is attached correctly?

? When latching on, your baby’s chin and bottom lip should reach the breast first, followed by his tongue.

? Your baby should have his mouth open wide so he has a full mouthful of breast.

? There should be more areola visible above the top lip than below the bottom lip (the areola is the darker bit around the nipple.

? His little cheeks should stay rounded; he shouldn’t be pulling them in when feeding.

? Baby’s nose should be free so he can breathe easily.

? Your baby’s head will be tilted back slightly.

? Baby’s bottom lip will be curled back. You might need someone else to have a look to check this!

If you think you have not attached baby to the breast properly, then insert your little finger into the side of his mouth to break the suction and then try again. Try not to get stressed or rush the attachment and remember practice makes perfect and even those who have been breastfeeding for years have occasions when the latch just isn’t right first time. As your baby grows they will get used to latching onto the breast, so if you allow them to feed without a good latch you not only risk causing yourself pain, you are also making it difficult to correct any attachment problems later on. The best thing for your baby, and for you, is to work hard to get it right early on so your baby learns to get it right, just as you will.