Having a good latch will help you make enough breast milk and help your baby to breastfeed well. It will also help prevent pain when breastfeeding. A poor latch can cause sore nipples, a hungry baby and a decreased breast milk supply. Some babies are able to latch on their own and others need some support.
Try these simple steps to help latch your baby:
- Get comfortable. Make sure your back and arms are well supported and your baby’s tummy is facing you.
- Hold your breast in your hand. Thumb is on top and fingers are below your breast.
- Face your baby’s nose to your nipple. Stroke your baby’s lower lip with your nipple. Wait until baby’s mouth is wide open like a yawn.
- Bring your baby, chin first to your breast. Her mouth should cover lots of the dark area below the nipple (about one and half inches).
- Your baby is latched properly on the breast when:
- her mouth is opened wide
- her lips are curled out
- her chin is pressed into your breast
- she is sucking and swallowing breast milk
If your baby falls asleep while breastfeeding, squeeze your breast to help the breast milk flow. This will help your baby to start sucking again. Do not squeeze so hard that it hurts. Also try taking your baby’s clothes off, changing her diaper or gently massage her back, feet, or hands.
Offer the second breast when your baby no longer has strong, “deep and slow” sucks and your breasts feel softer. Your baby may only breastfeed a short time on the second breast. At the next breastfeeding offer the breast that feels the fullest.
If you want to take your baby off your breast, break the suction by:
- slipping your finger into the corner of your baby’s mouth, OR;
- pulling down on your baby’s chin.