Breastfeeding 101: Part 3
Breastfeeding 101: Basics and Tips for Nursing
Latching baby onto your breast
In the beginning, it might take quite a few tries to get your baby into the right position but keep trying.
First, it’s essential to know a good latch since improper latching is the most common cause of breast discomfort. Baby’s mouth should cover both your nipple and the areola, so that baby’s mouth, tongue and lips massage milk out of your milk glands. (Sucking on just the nipple will not only leave your infant hungry because the glands that secrete the milk won’t be compressed, it will also make your nipples sore and cracked.) Here’s how to get that latch going:
Hold your babyÂ facing your breasts, with the front of her body facing yours, tummy to tummy. Her head should be in line with the rest of her body, not turned, to make swallowing easier. Tickle baby’s lipÂ with your nipple to encourage baby to open very wide, like a yawn. If your baby isn’t opening up, try to squeeze some colostrum (and, later, milk) onto her lips. If your baby turns away, gently stroke the cheek on the side nearest you; the rooting reflex will make baby turn her head toward your breast. Bring baby forward toward your breastÂ once her mouth is open wide. Don’t lean over and push your breast into baby’s mouth let your baby take the initiative. Keep a hold of your breast until the baby has a firm grasp and is suckling well. You’ll know you’ve gotÂ a proper latchÂ when baby’s chin and the tip of her nose are touching your breast. Baby’s lips will be flared outward, like fish lips, rather than tucked in. Check that your little one isn’t sucking on her own lower lip or tongue (newborns will suckle anything) by pulling her lower lip down while nursing. Watch for sucklingÂ (that is, extracting colostrum or breast milk from your breast), not just sucking (gumming your nipple). If the baby is suckling, you’ll see a strong, steady suck-swallow-breath pattern. Youâ€™ll also notice a rhythmic motion in baby’s cheek, jaw and ear. Once your milk comes in, listen for the sound of swallowing or gulping. You’ll know the baby isn’t latched properly if you hear clicking noises.
Is baby having trouble properly latching on?
Read Part 4