How To Latch The Baby On Correctly

When you latch the baby on correctly and feed in a position comfortable for you and the baby, he will eat his fill, and you will not suffer from raw nipples.

Before you start to feed, prepare everything you may need. A pillow (with hypoallergenic stuffing, and not with feathers) or several pillows, you may use them to support the baby, but also for yourself, e.g., to support your elbow or your back. You may also need a tetra nappy, in case the intensively flowing milk drenches the baby. Remember also to fit a nursing pad on the other breast, as milk can also flow from it. During feeding many mums feel very thirsty, so put a glass of water within your reach. A small snack and something relaxing to read may also be needed (provided it does not disturb your relation with the baby or hinder correct suckling of breast by the baby).

When all is ready, you can start breastfeeding. This is the best strategy:

  1. Choose the best position for breastfeeding - lie down or sit comfortably. When you are sitting, always provide a support for your back. When you bend over the baby, you will quickly feel uncomfortable (read more in: Breastfeeding positions).

  2. Regardless of the position you choose, the baby must be placed in front of the breast, so he does not have to turn or crane his neck to reach the nipple. The baby is placed correctly when his tummy faces your stomach, and his nose is at the level with the nipple. He cannot lie on his back, with his neck and head turned to the breast, as in such position he will not be able to suck correctly.

  3. It is time to give the breast. Grab your breast so your hand forms a "C", with your thumb on the top and four fingers under the breast. Remember not to press too strongly on the breast, it just needs to be flattened a little to be easier to grasp. Do not hold the breast at the nipple or the areola, as the baby needs a free access to them.

  4. Now, encourage the baby to open his mouth. To do this, tickle his cheek or move the nipple across his lips, up and down. This should provoke the baby to open his mouth wide. And at this moment put the baby onto the breast in a firm movement. Do not force it inside, because the baby will grasp the breast too shallowly, and you will feel pain.

  5. In the beginning, when you are still learning correct latching technique, you may find the cross-cradle position helpful (read more in: Breastfeeding positions) allowing maximum control over his head. It will be easier for you to put the baby's head on your breast when you hold his head with your hand, instead of placing it on your forearm. Your hand allows more efficient and precise maneuvering than your forearm. Of course, breastfeeding your baby with his head on your hand would not be comfortable, so once he latches on, you must move his head delicately to your forearm or to a pillow on which you have placed the baby earlier.

  6. Remember that the nipple with a large part of the areola must be in baby's mouth. The baby that grasps the breast this way, rhythmically presses the areola with his jaw, and with his tongue massages the milk ducts inside it accordingly, "extracting" milk.

  7. You can see the baby has grasped the breast correctly and sucks effectively, when:

    • baby is nestled against the breast and touches it with his nose;

    • you cannot hear smacking or clucking, but rhythmical swallowing;

    • baby's lips are turned out;

    • baby's cheeks are not drawn in, and his lips are not pursed;

    • baby's widely open mouth covers not only the nipple, but also a large part of the areola (forming an obtuse angle);

    • you do not feel any pain.

  8. When the baby sucks, do not squeeze the breast (this can block milk flow).

  9. You also do not have to press the breast with your finger to expose the baby's nose. If the baby was not able to breathe, he himself would stop eating. A special structure of the baby's nose allows him to eat this way, with his nose pressed into the breast. And if you still think the baby breathes with difficulty, move the baby's bottom pressing it more towards your stomach, and then the nose will move away from the breast a little.

  10. When you feel pain, stop feeding and try to latch the baby on to the breast correctly. To do this, delicately insert a clean finger of your free hand into a corner of the baby's mouth and calmly unlock his gums, so you can take out the breast without pain. Never pull your breast out of closed baby's mouth.

  11. The baby that is latched on correctly, slows down after a few quick suckling movements, eating rhythmically and smoothly. When milk flows, the baby can relax and fully surrender to the pleasure of suckling. Think, how incredible this is, that by breastfeeding the baby you satisfy his two most important needs - the need for food and, equally important, the need for closeness and love.