How to get your baby to latch on during breastfeeding

As a mother, you want to give your child nothing but the best. And as a new mother, what better can you give, than breast milk. However, to a new mother who is physically and emotionally fatigued, breast feeding can sometimes seem like be an overwhelming task. The key is to take your time, stay calm, spend time with your newborn and devise a technique that works for you and your baby. Get as much support as you can from your spouse, family, doctors and nursing staff during the initial few days to make the breast feeding experience enjoyable and rewarding.

How to get your baby to latch-on during breastfeeding

  • Firstly, the baby should be in your direction so that it does not have to twist to reach your nipple. This would be very uncomfortable for the baby.
  • The areola is the small circular area which has a pigment and surrounds the nipple. The mammary glands are located just behind the areola. It is important that the areola comes into contact with the baby as this stimulates the mammary glands.
  • Find a position you can stay in for a long time and do not have to move from. It has been suggested to stay in a reclined position as this allows gravity to help support your baby so you don’t have to do all the work when you are lying on your back. It is also an easier position for your baby to use her hands, lift and turn her head, and bury her chin into the breast all of which help her to latch on to the mother’s nipple.
  • Get your spouse involved. Ask him to arrange the bed for comfortable seating, put pillows in a certain place or even refill your water bottle.
  • Another way to help settle the baby is to place a hand on the upper back or neck of the baby.
  • Do not hesitate to feed the baby a lot. Give him as much skin-to-skin contact as possible and do not let him go too far away from you. This way both you and the baby will get a lot of feeding practice. This practice is crucial in the months to come as this will allow the baby to get the breast milk as and when required and will also allow your breasts to provide milk as and when required. This is because your breasts go into a schedule of producing milk
  • It is crucial that you feed your baby before the baby starts yelling for it; as when the baby is crying, the baby’s tongue will go a long way back in his mouth which will not allow breast feeding to happen as easily.
  • Soothe and calm your baby before you breast feed him/her in the first few days. Do not try and force him/her on to your breast. This may seem like a lot to take at first but try not to worry, as you and your baby will get to know each other in the coming days and weeks. Keeping your baby close to you will help you learn what he/she is trying to say and your communication will also improve in the process. For example, you can tell when it is hungry with a lot more ease.
  • In these first few days, your baby could lose weight. This does not mean it is receiving less breast milk than it should. It will start to put on weight again before it is five days old. Also, breast feeding makes your baby feel sleepy due to the special composition of colostrum. Often, the baby will go to sleep by itself once breast feeding is complete. Wait for this to happen.
  • In case of difficulties during first trial, gently compress your breasts so that the full nipple fits in your baby’s mouth and allows the baby to latch-on during breast feeding. You can even spur on breast feeding by gently compressing your areola so that some breast milk comes out.

These are just some tips about how to get your baby to latch on during breastfeeding.Being comfortable and being able to get your baby to your breast are the two things that really matter.

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