Ten latching tips for breastfeeding mums

By Donna Mansell, The Baby Manual

The days before new parents have their baby all they wonder is will it have my nose or his? Will the baby sleep or cry? They certainly hadn’t considered the complex process this latch thing would be!

When you Google search ‘latch’ plenty of YouTube or instructional videos will appear. Each very confusing and contradicting – which is very hard for a new parent coming to terms with this small human and recovering post birth.

The latch is just one of many confusing theories many new breastfeeding parents struggle with. Many new parents just want to understand the ‘why’ and the ‘how ‘ that surrounds many of the questions about small humans.

An example of this is the growth spurt at 2-3 weeks when the ‘latch’ can be perfect, however the baby becomes very irritable and seemingly not latching well or not having enough milk. Remember that the ‘suck’ is a natural reflex just like breathing and your boobs were made to make milk. Latching and feeding are very natural - but they do take some time to perfect.

After you have a baby you get such a huge amount of advice from your neighbor to the lady at the fruit shop. Some of it is very practical others not helpful at all and often makes you feel like you’re doing it all wrong- why cant I make my baby sleep all night or latch like a pro!?

For a new parent, it often seems like the ‘perfect’ solution is needed. If you read a certain book or follow a program then everything will work just right- maybe if the baby feeds more it will sleep longer, or if the baby sleeps longer it will feed more. This can often make reading what your baby is saying to be quite confusing. To be honest you might try a few things and they don’t work and that is okay. Trust your baby and you will get into a great rhythm and your confidence will build in time.

The perfect ‘latch’ that will stop those nipples hurting and make that feed more bearable. It is not that complicated – it just takes time, persistence and patience. And with quality education and confidence you will enjoy your little human and enjoy motherhood. And also come to terms with the theory that ‘perfect’ doesn’t exist and that all you can do is the best you can- and that is OK.

Here are our top ten latching tips:

1.Relax - the more uptight you are the less it is going to work. Your baby can feel your anxiety and they start to get worried too

2. Don’t worry this too shall pass - nipples heal really quickly no damage is forever

3. Position your baby chest to chest, nose to nipple and chin to breast. This makes the ‘hold’ easier and stops you trying to contort your breast into a weird position

4. Wait that second longer for a bigger mouth. The bigger your babies mouth the more nipple they will get in their mouth

5. Look after your nipples- moisturizing creams are a must for the first few weeks

6. Love yourself- if it hurts, take your baby off and try again- damage can reoccur in just one feed

7. Trust your boobs! They don’t always need to feel full- embrace the empty feeling as a great feed not that your milk has run out

8. Seek help if you’re unsure. A qualified Lactation Consultant can access your issues and give you personalised advice (better than Dr Google)

9. There is no perfect position- your boobs are different to everyone else’s use the position that is comfortable for you

10. Don’t worry it will get easier the first few weeks are always trying but will time your confidence will increase.

Note: The views and advice expressed on this blog post are those of the author and are not representative of the Pregnancy Babies & Children's Expo.

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