How to latch
Get your baby well latched for comfortable breastfeeding. Information supplied by Philips AVENT.

1. Correct latching-on technique ensures that breastfeeding does not become painful and that your baby can get enough to eat. Be sure your baby’s body is facing you, with his nose directly facing your nipple and almost touching the breast. Support your breast with your free hand and stroke your baby’s lips with your nipple until he opens his mouth very wide, almost as if yawning.

Never attempt latch-on with baby’s mouth partially open as this can lead to:

  • Sore nipples from improper positioning
  • Inadequate emptying of the breast
  • The baby’s suck reflex not being stimulated properly and as a result he/she does not receive enough nutrients during feeding.

2. When your baby’s mouth is open wide like a yawn, bring the baby quickly to your breast. Remember, babies do not nipple-feed, they breastfeed. The baby’s mouth should cover the nipple, most of the areola and sometimes some of the breast tissue slightly more at the bottom of the breast than at the top. If not, gently insert your finger into the corner of the baby’s mouth to break the suction, and try again. You should not have to hold your breast back from the baby’s nose.

3. If your baby is properly positioned at the breast, her breathing will not be obstructed. If you press on your breast in an effort to help the baby breathe, it can lead to plugged milk ducts and an improper positioning. When your baby is suckling well, you should see a “wiggle” where her ears attach to her head.

Don’t get discouraged, as latch-on takes practice for both you and your baby. If you feel you are having difficulty achieving proper positioning and latch-on, contact your midwife/health visitor or a lactation consultant to assist you.

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