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Before leaving the hospital most moms will get help from a Lactation Consultant or a Nurse to latch the baby on. Often times when I talk to a mom the same day she has her baby or even the next day she will say “the baby is latching on and were doing fine”. But, by the time she gets home from the hospital things begin to change. Now her nipples are sore and her baby is not getting full. Translated, this means that she is in pain and not getting sleep, her baby is fussy and gassy and continues to seem hungry after breastfeeding. This means mom is probably beginning to feel stressed and maybe even be concerned that she may need to supplement.
It is important to take the time to get a deep latch from the beginning. Infants do not nipple feed, they breastfeed. It is not important if you have nipples that poke out or ones that don’t. What matters is how much actual breast tissue goes into the mouth along with the nipple. Sucking on a nipple only, can cause a world of problems like sore cracked nipples, low milk supply, plugged ducts. In order for the milk to be stimulated the nipple needs to be inside the infant’s mouth deep to about the middle of the tongue. He should have a mouth full of breast tissue. The infant’s lips should be flanged out like a fish and his breathe, suck, swallow motion he does will stimulate the ducts and help to bring down the good fatty milk. This means your milk supply will grow, he will get more satisfied, he won’t be gassy and you can get some rest!
1. Your Position-You need to be comfortable, use pillows a foot stool, support your back and relax your shoulders. Take a deep relaxing breath for the next few minutes let it all go. Clear your mind and connect with your baby. Get into a position where you can comfortably stay in once you latch the baby on. Anything you may need should be within arm’s reach. I.e. a glass of water, the remote.
2. The baby’s position- It is important that you use positions that feel comfortable to you. The baby should be close to the breast, and the head shoulders and hips should be in a straight line. Again use pillows to give extra support and bring the baby up close to the breast. Once you latch stay in the same position and don’t change hands.
3. Tummy to Tummy-The baby’s body should be turned tummy to tummy with you, directly facing the breast.
4. How you hold the breast-Hold your breast in a “C” or “U” shaped hold. Make sure that your fingers are far enough away from the nipple on top and bottom of the areola to allow the baby to have a clear target and enough breast tissue available to latch on to.
5. Offering the breast- tickle the baby’s lips with your nipple to encourage him to open his mouth. Be really patient and you be in control of when the baby actually latches on. You don’t want the baby to grab your nipple, and you don’t want to put the nipple into the baby’s mouth. You need to wait until the mouth is open wide and the baby’s tongue is down. You should be able to see into the baby’s mouth. Remember the middle area of the baby’s tongue is where you want the nipple to end up. When you see the mouth open wide allow the baby to latch on. If it hurts stop and start back over at step 1. To properly remove the baby off the nipple; use your index or baby finger, run it alongside of the baby’s cheek, stick it between the baby’s gums to break the suction and remove baby off the nipple.