Breastfeeding is natural so naturally, you assume your baby will latch on the boob without any guidance. Unfortunately, that's not always the case. Some babies figure it out right away, but some need a little help learning to latch on properly. As any breastfeeding mama will tell you, without a proper breastfeeding latch, breastfeeding can hurt! So here are some tips to keep in mind when getting baby to latch on to your breast:
- Make sure your baby's mouth is as wide open as possible so that your baby sucks on your areola, not just your nipple (that hurts!). Use your nipple to tickle your baby's lower lip. It works wonders at getting baby to open her mouth wide.
- Once baby's mouth is open wide, place your nipple in the center. Pull baby close to you (don't push your breast toward your baby, pull her to you).
- It might take you several tries before you get a proper breastfeeding latch. Be patient. It's important to get it right!
- Make sure you're comfortable. If you're not relaxed, baby won't be either! Breastfeeding pillows (or just regular pillows) can help you get comfortable.
- If you have a correct breastfeeding latch, the baby's top and bottom lips will be turned out and her chin should be pressed into the breast. If your baby is latched on properly, she should be able to breathe out of her nose without any effort.
With a proper latch, breastfeeding is a lot easier—and less painful. If you're not sure you've got it down, seek help from a trained lactation consultant. It's worth the effort!