Breastfeeding comes easily to some mothers and their babies, but can be a challenge for others. Latching your baby correctly is the first step in breastfeeding. If you are having trouble getting your baby to latch on correctly, or if you’re encountering any nursing difficulty, please contact our office to get advice from our lactation specialists. We are here to help you get off to a good start.
Please schedule an appointment to meet with us 2 to 3 days after delivery if this is your first baby, or if breastfeeding problems occur. We will check your baby for adequate weight gain. Help us track how your baby is doing by bringing in a breastfeeding log and record that you can download and fill out each day.
To latch your baby onto your breast:
- Hold your baby so her body faces you and her nose is close to your nipple.
- Pick up your breast in your hand with a “C-hold.”
- Stroke your baby’s mouth with your nipple.
- As she opens her mouth, pull her close to your breast and make sure as much of the dark area of your nipple (the areola) goes in her mouth as possible.
- You will know baby is feeding when you: feel her taking long draws at the nipple, hear her swallowing, and see her jaw muscles moving in rhythm. (A few days after delivery, when your milk comes in, you will feel a slight tingling in your breast when the milk lets-down.)
- If latching is tricky, try a different hold. The cradle hold, cross-cradle hold, football hold, and side-lying hold all work well. If you or baby is getting frustrated and upset trying to latch on, take her away from your breast. Take a few deep breaths, and try to relax before attempting to latch again.
- If nursing is hurting and pinching, your latch may be wrong. Take baby off gently and re-latch. Avoid pulling her off quickly. Instead, break the seal between her mouth and your skin by slipping your finger in at the side of her lips.
Support your baby’s head with your arm on the same side as the breast you are using to feed. You may be more comfortable using a pillow or other support under the baby to make sure her head is at the same level as your nipple.
Support your baby’s head with your hand opposite the breast you are using to feed. This hold often helps premature or small infants maintain a proper latch. You may be more comfortable using a pillow or other support under the baby to make sure her head is at the same level as your nipple.
Your baby lies beside your breast, lying on her side facing toward your breast. This hold often works well for mothers with larger breasts or mothers whose c-section scar makes holding the baby near her tummy uncomfortable.
You and baby lie facing each other. Baby needs to have her mouth lined up with your nipple so that her neck is neither bent nor hyper-extended. This hold works well for mothers who co-sleep with baby and nurse often during the night.