Is latching on causing you stress and you’re wondering if there is even a point in trying again? When there is a real need there is always a way. It might not be perfect, it might look a little different then what you envisioned, but with a right help, your baby might be able to find a way back to breast.
What latch should feel like?
First and foremost, a latch needs to feel comfortable and should be a relaxing experience for both you and your baby. If you have a well-established milk production and your baby has had some practice with breastfeeding, you should be able to attach your baby to your breast without much difficulties and you should observe your baby’s body relaxing and falling into a rhythmic suckling pattern. When you’re looking at your baby and your stress level rises, that might signal that your baby is working harder at breastfeeding then they should be. If you’re looking at your baby and you feel your body relaxing and unwinding, it’s likely breastfeeding and latching is going well.
I can’t get all of my areola into my baby’s mouth.
I head this a lot. No worries, you don’t have to, most mothers don’t. Our breasts come in all different shapes and sizes. Some mothers have a very large areola making it simply impossible to fit into their baby’s mouth. What’s important is that your baby isn’t suckling only on the nipple, but that he is able to massage the area of the breast below the nipple and the latch doesn’t hurt the mother.
How can I help my baby latched to my breast?
There are a few key things to keep in mind when you’re learning to breastfeed
1. Find a time when you’re relaxed and your baby is not too hungry or not too sleepy. Skin to skin without agenda to latch can help you both relax.
2. If baby gets frustrated and starts fussing, stop and give them a little “appetizer” and try again. It can be a bottle, spoon or cup. Remember your breast should be a safe and happy place.
3. Let your baby lead the way, be their partner, supporter, don’t rush the latching process. Trust your baby and his instincts.
4. Talk to your baby and keep them encouraged. It helps to relax both of you. Use your calm voice.
5. Look for a position that you can both be relaxed in. Let your baby assume the position on their own as much as possible. Try to lean back.
6. Avoid having the baby’s arms between you and them, instead try having their hands touch your breast on each side.
7. Avoid placing your hand behind your baby’s head, instead rest the palm of your hand your baby’s upper back and your thumb and index finger around your baby’s ears.
8. Allow your baby’s chin to rest at your breast prior to latching, this will trigger the reflex responsible for opening his mouth wide.
9. You can try shaping your nipple to point towards the nose, instead of mouth.
10. Once your baby opens mouth wide and take your breast, ensure their chin is pushed into your breast more then their nose.
Now I know, latching can be complicated and you can try all of these plus a dozen of other ideas and you still can’t get it right. That’s because most mother’s who struggle with latching need an individualized professional help. Most often is not anything you are doing wrong, but what your baby is capable with at this time due to many different factors. The sooner you find someone who can dive deep into your situation and offer guidance, the better your chance of reaching your goals. Feel free to send me a message if you would like to talk.