Breastfeeding is nature’s way of letting a mother nurture her baby. While the process goes seamlessly for some, it’s normal to have some trial and error, particularly when it comes to latching. Fortunately, your nurse or midwife can help if you encounter any difficulties. To help your little one latch on your own, follow the tips below.
4 Steps to Help Your Newborn Latch
1. Start Early
Babies are born with the innate capability and instinct to latch and breastfeed. The earlier you start, the easier it will be to tap into these natural reflexes. Skin-to-skin contact and your scent should kickstart their instincts even if you’ve been separated for a period immediately after the birth.
Keep in mind that factors such as the delivery method and the use of epidurals can affect a newborn’s ability or willingness to latch.
2. Relax & Recline
Assume a relaxed position, reclining at about 45 degrees. Lying back is typically more comfortable and allows gravity to do some of the work in supporting your baby. Furthermore, in this position, it’s easier for your baby to use their hands and head to feed.
Ask your partner to help you get comfortable, using pillows for back support if needed. The more relaxed you both are, the easier the process will be.
3. Position the Baby Properly
Your baby’s position on your body is also essential. Put your baby face-down on your chest with cheeks and chin touching the breast, and the bottom lip near or on the base of the areola. You may want to put your hand on their back and neck to steady them. Use your other hand to squeeze some milk from the nipple.
When your baby smells the milk, they may open their mouth and latch naturally. Ensure their mouth is covering most of the bottom of the areola and some of the top. This helps stimulate the mammary glands to produce more milk.
4. Know Signs of Trouble
It’s normal to feel a bit of discomfort when you begin breastfeeding. However, you should not feel pinching or biting, and any soreness should dissipate quickly.
If pain lasts the entire feeding or your nipple appears cracked, bleeding, or compressed after feeding, consult with your midwife or a lactation consultant. They can provide soothing balms to repair the skin and make breastfeeding more comfortable.
If you’re looking for a midwife in Rockland County, NY, turn to Home Birth with Love. Certified nurse-midwife and owner Leah Marinelli has helped families with prenatal care and home delivery for more than 16 years. She has a staff of midwives who help mothers learn how to breastfeed comfortably. Call (845) 641-5058 to schedule a consultation or visit the website to learn more about their services.