Improper breastfeeding latches with newborns are like poor choices in men. They are easier to come by than the good ones, they will cause you incredible amounts of pain, and they will be the source of re-evaluating your life’s choices. Akin to settling for the loser guy, accepting a bad latch will prevent you from being productive, comfortable, and satisfied. It is better to be patient and hold out for a good one, even when that prospect seems elusive.
Save the Nips!
You have likely heard horror stories from women who discontinued breastfeeding because the agony was simply too much to bear. Breastfeeding first time moms who are not aware of the importance of a good latch find it difficult to continue to breastfeed through the nipple disaster that inevitably occurs with a shallow latch. While nipple soreness is to be expected for a new nursing mom, terrible nipple pain can result from the baby being latched inadequately to your nipple. Who would blame these ladies for hanging up their breast pads and grabbing a bottle? Cracked, bleeding, blistered nipples are no joke. A good latch also affects the ease of your milk flow. When you and your baby are latched correctly, it is easier for your baby to nurse. A superficial latch can result in a frustrated baby and a mom with nips of fire who is reexamining her lactation lifespan. The following tips on breastfeeding a newborn will guide you on your nursing journey from the moment of delivery.
Tips on Breastfeeding a Newborn: What is a Good Latch?
A “good latch” refers to the optimal placement of your nipple in your baby’s mouth. Basically, your baby should have a good mouthful of boob-not just the nipple. Your nipple should actually be at the soft palate part inside the baby’s mouth. Signs that you have a good latch are:
- At least half an inch of the base of your breast is inside of the baby’s mouth.
- Instead of baby’s lips being sucked in, your baby has fish-lips (flanged somewhat like “duckface” selfies).
- Baby’s nose is close to touching your breast.
When you are lining your breast up to the baby to nurse, aim your nipple towards the roof of her mouth. Bring her close to you, chin first. Her chin should press into your breast. When your baby begins to suckle, pain is an indication that she is latched too shallowly with not enough of your breast in her mouth. If she is sucking directly on your nip like a straw, you don’t have a good latch.
Breastfeeding first time success without some boobie-bumbling is not likely to happen. Don’t settle for a shallow latch. After several clumsy attempts at nipple-mouth alignment, moms are often grateful that they were finally successful in getting their baby attached at all and will take any latch they can get. Keeping your baby latched on in such circumstances will result in a blistery nipple catastrophe. As exasperating as it is to attempt repeatedly to line up a wobbly head in one hand and a dead weight breast in the other in the most uncoordinated fashion, it is worth holding out for a latch that your nipples can survive. Gently place your finger into your baby’s mouth to break the suction and go for round two (or three, or ten, or forty-seven) and expect your infant to be thoroughly pissed off at you for this. It will take some time for the two of you to get the choreography down. Before you know it though, latching will happen effortlessly for both of you.
Tips on Breastfeeding a Newborn: Right After Delivery
Newborns are usually eager to get down to nursing immediately after birth as the suckling reflex is at its strongest 45 minutes to 2 hours after delivery. As soon as your bundle of joy comes into the world, put her on your chest. Skin-to-skin contact helps her adjust to life outside of your body and has a favorable effect on breastfeeding.
You will be a bit preoccupied during the pants and pushes of childbirth. If you are delivering your baby at a hospital, make sure that the staff is aware of your breastfeeding plan. Lactation consultants can be miracle workers when it comes to your first nursing encounter. Regardless of how much reading and YouTube-bingeing you do during pregnancy, you are new to this and will likely benefit from their experience and expertise. Lactation consultants are generally extremely passionate, supportive people who will embrace you and your newborn with patience and kindness.
Tips on breastfeeding a newborn: A Good Latch with the Football Hold
You will find the breastfeeding position that is most comfortable for you and will probably use a combination of your favorite holds. For beginners, the football hold gives you a bit more control while you are learning how to latch. First, tuck your baby under your arm as if you are holding a football. If you are in a bed, baby’s butt will be against the headboard area of the bed and baby will be face up with the bottoms of her feet toward the ceiling. Holding the back of your baby’s head in one hand and your breast in the other, bring the two together while you aim your nipple towards the roof of her mouth. You can see the placement of your breast with the baby’s mouth best with the football hold. This position is especially beneficial for moms with caesarian births as it keeps the baby off of your incision.
Breastfeeding Latch Video
Breastfeeding first time struggles can be thwarted by being prepared for breastfeeding before your baby arrives. Breastfeeding a newborn can be a wonderful experience if you know some basic latching techniques. This breastfeeding latch video illustrates the physiology of latch-on. Learn how to get your baby to latch effectively in order to avoid unnecessary frustration and nipple pain. The breastfeeding latch video will teach you about the “comfort zone”, which is the optimal placement of your nipple in the baby’s mouth. Breastfeeding your newborn in the “comfort zone” from the start will keep you from experiencing the pain associated with a shallow latch.
Breastfeeding First Time Must-Haves
Even latching prodigies will have tender nipples due to the breasts’ unfamiliarity with constant sucking. Relief has arrived with some of my top picks for breast care.
Gentle, soothing butter heals and protects, providing a virtual nip spa. They have been through a lot and deserve this luxurious treatment.
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