Breastfeeding Latching Techniques: How To Help Your Baby Latch On Properly

Breastfeeding Latching Techniques: How To Help Your Baby Latch On Properly

25 Feb 2022 | 5 min Read

Sayani Basu

Author | 342 Articles

Breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed your baby. It ensures your child’s survival, and learning about breastfeeding latching techniques can further ensure this. 

In fact, the World Health Organisation (WHO) also recommends that a mother breastfeed her baby exclusively for six months as breast milk is the ideal food for infants as it is safe, clean and contains antibodies that protect the infant against many common childhood illnesses. Additionally, it can provide all the energy and nutrients that the infant needs.

Studies also show that breastfed children perform better on intelligence tests, are less likely to be overweight, and less prone to diabetes later in life. Besides, women who breastfeed have a reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancers.

A good latch is important as it allows your baby to feed freely. | Image Source: Pixabay

Breastfeeding is only possible when your baby has a good latching. This is how your baby attaches to your breast to feed.

A good latch is a key to successful breastfeeding. Hence, it is important for you to make sure that your baby is properly latched.

Breastfeeding Latching Techniques: Everything You Must Know About It 

A good latch is important as it allows your baby to feed freely. If they are latched properly, you will have a good supply of milk and your baby will get a good feed. Plus, your breasts and nipples will be comfortable.

Positions To Help Your Baby Latch On Properly

Specific nursing positions can help your baby latch on properly. From crossover to football, here’s a guide to help get started.

  • Crossover: This position works well for newborns. It is advisable for the new mums to sit up in a comfortable chair and relax their arms. Hold the baby in the crook of your arm and rest his tummy against yours. Tilt the newborn towards your breast until he/she latches on.
  • Cradle hold: Prop the newborn up with the arm on the same side as the nursing breast instead of supporting your baby with the arm on the opposite side. You can also use a pillow for support.
  • Football:  Position your baby at your side. Let the little one face you, with the legs tucked under your arm on the same side as the nursing breast. This position is helpful if you have had a C-section (as you don’t want any pressure on your belly), have a small or premature baby. It is also helpful for those mums who have large breasts.
  • Laid-back: The laid-back position is ideal for mums with small breasts. You can lean back and allow your baby to take the breast from any direction.
  • Side-lying: This position is apt for middle-of-the-night feedings. You and the little one would lie tummy to tummy, while you position the breast to your baby’s mouth.

How To Breastfeed Successfully

According to experts, the following tips can be kept in mind while breastfeeding:

  • Nose to nipple: When you are getting the baby ready to latch, his/ her nose should be directly in front of your nipple. You can also try shifting the baby slightly so that the little one’s nose is close to your nipple.
breastfeeding latching techniques
It is important to be patient and wait for your baby to open his/her mouth very wide before you bring the little one to the breast. | Image Source: freepik
  • Allow your baby to initiate: Be patient and wait for your baby to open his/ her mouth very wide before you bring the little one to the breast. If you rush and bring your baby to your breasts just as the little one starts to open, your latch will be too shallow.
  • Remember it is called breastfeeding and not nipple feeding: Try to get your breast in the baby’s mouth as much as you can and not just the nipple. The latch will be deeper when a major part of the breast is in the baby’s mouth.

While supporting the little one’s head and shoulders as he/ she looks for your breast, don’t force the latch. Doing so would make them cranky and they would not intake the breast milk.

breastfeeding latching techniques
You can tickle your baby’s lips with your nipple that will help the baby open their mouth wide. | Image Source: freepik

Steps To A Good Latch

Experts suggest the following steps that new mums can follow for a good latch:

  • You can tickle your baby’s lips with your nipple that will help the baby open their mouth wide.
  • Take your nipple above your baby’s top lip.
  • Your baby’s lower lip should be away from the base of your nipple. The lips should be turned outward like a fish. Your baby should lead into the breast chin first.

These are some of the ways to help your baby latch on properly.

You will know you’ve got a proper latch if your baby’s chin and the tip of the nose are touching your breast. The lips flanging out like a fish instead of being tucked in is also a signal of a good latch.

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