Proper positioning and latching are important for breastfeeding success for you and your baby. Getting your baby to latch on to your breast correctly may take some practice in the beginning; with support and patience it becomes easier with time. Don’t get discouraged! In order to achieve a proper latch, you should:
- Find a comfortable position to breastfeed.
- Hold your breast in a “C” hold. You can do this by placing your thumb on top and you fingers below the breast in a “C” formation. Keep your fingers parallel to your baby’s mouth.
- Stroke your baby’s lips with your nipple. Wait until his mouth opens wide, like a yawn.
- Bring your baby to your breast with your nipple pointing upward to the roof of his mouth. Your baby’s mouth should cover, as much as possible, the dark skin below the nipple (called the areola).
- Your baby is “latched”
properly if you:
- See his mouth is wide open
- See his lips curled out
- See his chin pressed into your breast
- Are comfortable
- See that his sucking is strong, slow and regular
- See his cheeks filling with milk and his throat expanding as he swallows
- Once baby is properly latched, reposition yourself if needed, finding a comfortable position.
If your baby falls asleep after a few minutes, compress (gently squeeze) your breast to help your milk flow; don’t squeeze so hard that it hurts. This helps your baby start to suck again.
Still having difficulty?
Help your baby get more of the breast tissue into his mouth by trying the “nipple sandwich” technique. Think about eating a burger… when you hold onto it to take a bite, what do you do? You don’t just try to bite into it – you squish it so the bread fits into your mouth. This is the idea behind the nipple sandwich technique. Think about the position of your baby’s mouth when he “takes a bite” of the nipple sandwich. You want your baby to get enough breast tissue into his mouth so that when he latches on, he doesn’t have to work so hard to get it all in his mouth.