Latching on generally, refers to the infant's formation of a tight seal around the nipple and most of the areola with his or her mouth. A correct latch-on allows the infant to obtain an adequate amount of milk and helps to prevent nipple soreness and trauma. Some latching techniques for breastfeeding have been detailed by our lactation consultants for you and your baby to have painless and comfortable breastfeeding sessions.
- Cradle your baby close to your breast - rather than learning forward to bring your breast to your baby. Support yourself with pillows if needed.
- Support your newborn's head with one hand and support your breast with the other hand. Make sure your breast is well supported. The right way to do this is by placing your thumb on the top of your breast, while your other four fingers must be positioned underneath your breasts. Make sure that your fingers are not touching the areola (the dark skin surrounding the nipple).
- Tickle your newborn’s lower lip with your nipple, to encourage your baby's mouth to open wide. Position, your baby, close to your chest and make sure that your baby’s entire body is facing yours. Then, guide your newborn as he or she latches on. Make sure that your baby’s lips are properly placed and that he or she can not only take in the nipple but also a big part of the areola.
- As your newborn tries to get the hang of breastfeeding, your newborn’s nose and chin may brush against your breast. Sometimes, you may also see your baby's jaw move. If you experience any pain, most probably the baby is not latched on to the breast properly. Reposition your baby and try again.
- A newborn should be able to suckle and swallow properly, to consume enough amounts of milk. You should be able to hear the infant swallow. The infant's jaw should move quickly to start the flow of milk, with a swallow heard after every one to three jaw movements. You can look and listen for a rhythmic sucking and swallowing pattern.
- If you need to remove the baby from your breast, first release the suction by inserting a finger into the corner of your newborn's mouth.