Properly latch a newborn with these easy to follow steps

Follow these steps for a successful, pain-free breastfeeding latch

Breastfeeding latch also known as ‘breastfeeding attachment’ is very important when trying to have a successful breastfeeding session. However, getting your baby to latch correctly can take a few attempts before getting it right. 

As a mom, you need to be aware of what a good latch looks like, feels like and the positions that will help your baby latch comfortably. If your baby isn’t latching properly, that will affect both you and your baby... your baby’s weight gain will be affected, you could also end up with engorgement and less milk supply. So it’s imperative to get it done correctly.

With that in mind, here are a few steps you can implement to have a pleasant breastfeeding latching experience for you both.


1. Support

One of the most important props in getting your baby to latch correctly, is having something to support your newborn like a boppy pillow with a nice back support. You can wrap the boppy pillow around your body, turn it to the side that you’ll be feeding on, with the buckle on your boppy facing forward.


This way the raised area or ‘bump’ on the boppy will be able to support your baby’s head in the ‘Football Hold’ position, giving them easier access to your nipple and breast.

The ‘Football Hold’ position is a great way of holding newborns and premature babies. With this feeding position you can see your baby clearly from the top and the sides. You can observe whether or not your nipple is in their mouth comfortably and that there’s a sucking motion happening. You’re also able to observe their neck in this position to see that there’s a gulping action happening and that the milk is going down.


2. Settle your baby

A newborn will often be a little fussy in their first few months, so if your baby is hungry and crying you may want to settle them down first, before proceeding to latch. This way it will be a lot easier for you both to get the latching method down.

You can settle your baby by gently resting your chin on top of their head and sway gently back and forth to calm them down. Once your baby is settled place your baby back on the boppy and rest their head on the raised area.


3. The breast hold

When holding your breast to prepare for latching, you always want to hold your breast from the back. You do this by resting your thumb on top of your breast away from your areola, and your remaining fingers under your breast. 


Holding your breast forward by grabbing or pinching the nipple will cause an improper latch and can be painful for some moms, so avoid doing that.

Once you have a firm and proper hold on your breast, you want to go ahead and point your breast upwards, to get your nipple at the roof of your baby’s mouth.


4. Baby to breast

When you’re about to latch, you never want to move your breast forward to the baby, but to lift and bring the baby forward to your breast.


Hold the baby by supporting their neck and then bring your baby to your breast. During this phase you may fail a few times, or your baby gets off the latch, remember you’re just learning how to do it, so simply retry. If your baby gets a bit restless during this process just calm them down and repeat.


5. Painful latch

If the latch is uncomfortable or very painful, you can take your finger, make sure it’s clean and break the suction for a more comfortable experience. To do this you take your index finger and place it in the corner of your baby’s mouth, and gently slide your finger along the side of their mouth. You can then lightly but firmly press down on your breast to release a bit of the suction. 


6. Breast massage

Once your baby is properly latched on and is feeding comfortably, you can massage your breast in downward motions starting from the top. This will release and stimulate the flow of more milk downwards.


7. Rotate 

Once your baby’s suction is at its lowest, what you can do is burp your baby and then rotate to the other breast. It’s very important that your baby is able to latch comfortably on both breasts. Some babies will prefer one breast over the other, they may be used to that breast or find that nipple more comforting. So it’s very important to keep the balance so that each breast can accumulate the same amount of milk.


8. The cradle hold

With every feeding position there will be tiny changes in how you latch your baby.

In ‘The Cradle Hold’ position you want to ensure that your baby’s tummy is facing your belly. You will then repeat the same process of holding your breast from the back, lifting it upwards, bring baby to breast and then placing your nipple in their mouth.

That’s it moms, a few tips on how to successfully latch your baby and have a good breastfeeding session. You too can make slight adjustments to meet your needs, as you learn what works best for you and your baby.

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