Not only is breastfeeding economical, but it is also the best, healthiest and most effective way to provide every essential need for your baby when they are born. A barrier to breastfeeding can be the improper breastfeeding latch.
There are many ways that it can go wrong for you and your baby. You won’t be happy breastfeeding and your baby may stop latching.
What Is A Good Breastfeeding Latch?
A good breastfeeding latch would mean a smooth breastfeeding session with your child. How will you know if your baby is properly latching on? Well, for starters, it wouldn’t hurt. What else?
- Your nipples won’t hurt when they are breastfeeding from you. That’s because their gums and lips are places properly while they suckle for milk.
- Your baby doesn’t push away your nipple or the breast itself. Usually, improper latches do not secrete enough milk or cover your baby’s breathing, so as a reaction to this, your baby pushes it away.
- Your milk supply increases day by day. This is because your baby is latched on properly and suckles enough milk to keep pumping it, increasing supply to demands.
- The only part of your baby’s face touching your breast is the chin.
- Your baby’s mouth opens for the entire breast and not just the nipple.
How Can You Make A Proper Breastfeeding Latch?
There is always a way to make the perfect latch, comfortable and painless for you and convenient for the baby. It’s easier than you think, mummies!
- Hold your breast in a way that helps you direct your nipple to your baby’s mouth.
- With your other hand, tickle your baby’s cheek to trigger your baby to open their mouth in preparation for breastfeeding.
- From the tip of your baby’s nose, slide your nipple down their philtrum and into your baby’s mouth.
- Make sure your baby’s mouth is around your breast and not only your nipple or Arreola. (If you have a large areola, it’s okay if they do not have it entirely in their mouths.)
- Your baby’s tongue should be resting under your breasts, where you shouldn’t be feeling their lower gums at all.
- Once your baby starts to suckle, you should be seeing signs of swallowing.
What Are The Consequence Of Improper Latching?
1) Too much or too little breast milk supply.
Breastfeeding can trigger more breast milk production more than breast pumps can. You will notice a difference when your baby is not latching on properly – they’re not getting enough milk or they’re not drinking enough milk even when your breasts are starting to get tender.
2) Engorgement or Mastitis
When your baby does not latch properly, your breast can start to feel “full” and about to burst. This is called engorgement. It means breast milk is not released by your baby’s suckling, making your breasts more tender. A solution to this is properly latching your baby when you’re breastfeeding or you can pump the milk out and store excess for future use.
For mastitis, it is when the milk ducts are clogged, causing inflammation in your breasts. Bacteria found on the skin or saliva usually causes it by entering through cracked, sore nipples or milk ducts. It is safe to continue breastfeeding your baby even with mastitis.
Your doctor may give you painkillers or antibiotics if it gets worse, but in most cases, it is best to keep breastfeeding on the infected nipple as often as possible to treat mastitis.
3) Sore or cracked nipples
Without a proper latch, your baby may be hanging on to the most sensitive parts of your breast – the nipple or the areola. Babies tend to chew, bite or nibble – that makes their mother’s breast the best victim.
During a proper latch, you can experience tenderness for having your baby latched on for long periods. That is nothing compared to the pain or soreness of having mastitis, engorgement, sore nipples, or cracked nipples.
4) Your baby may be getting insufficient food.
If you notice your baby may be losing weight but they’re not sick, it could be the latch – they’re not drinking enough breast milk. Concerning enough breast milk supply, a baby’s suckling is the only way to have continuous breast milk supply – if they’re not latched on properly, the breast milk produced will be insufficient. That leaves your breasts empty of breast milk after just a few minutes of feeding.
In A Nutshell…
A proper breastfeeding latch is very important to a mother and child’s breastfeeding journey. An improper latch would be a huge barrier to this journey. Education on proper latching is important for the baby to have the best nutrients for better growth and development.
How was your breastfeeding experience?