So breastfeeding isn’t going according to the dream? Well you are certainly not alone. The majority of women experience some difficulties establishing breastfeeding for the first time.
These expectant moms watch other women out there effortlessly breastfeeding their babies and assume, “how hard could it be?” What they don’t realize is these women are probably coming out in public for the first time probably months after the birth of their baby and previous to this outing probably spent hours of frustration, crying, second guessing, trial and error and trying again and again.
It can be challenging. So get educated and get supported and then it will definitely be easier.
Really the majority of issues involving breastfeeding can be directly linked to the LATCH. So if we talk about sore nipples, soreness while feeding, baby is fussy, baby doesn’t seem to be getting enough, plugged ducts, mastitis. These all can most likely be resolved with an adjustment with the LATCH.
So here is what a proper latch should look and feel like:
* Wide open mouth
* Lips Flanged (not tucked in)
* Tongue down
*As much of the areola in their mouth as possible
* Nose and chin should be touching the breast
* Use a nursing pillow or regular pillow to support baby and make it more comfortable on your arms.
* Often it is helpful to have a foot stool to raise your legs to also help properly support baby.
* You should feel tugging but no pain, if you feel pain it is wrong
* Baby should not have any puckering or indentation in the checks. Their sucking comes from the jaw. You should see their little ears moving as their jaw moves.
* Baby should be in alignment ear, shoulders and hips in a line, with babies tummy and chest touching moms tummy and chest. (this of course is if you are using the traditional cross-cradle or cradle hold.)
* Ideally you should be supporting your breast with one hand and supporting and guiding the baby’s head with the other.
* When you are putting the baby on the breast tickle the baby right under the nose with the nipple. This will stimulate the baby to respond with a wide open mouth and tilt their head up (like taking a drink from a glass). When you see this happen, take action. Quickly guide baby’s mouth onto the breast and push them on enough to achieve getting most of the areola in. Once they beginning sucking they are latched and you can relax the hold (still supporting them of course).
* You should be able to detect a suck swallow pattern. This will change depending on when the milk lets down and when it comes at an even flow, but swallowing means they are getting the milk.
* Ultimately if they are mostly content, gaining weight and peeing and pooping on schedule you know they are getting what they need. And if you are comfortable and not experiencing pain then you are on your way.
* Also make sure that if you are experiencing any difficulties that you make sure to reach out to the many professionals out there that can help guide you towards a successful breastfeeding experience, like our awesome lactation consultant here at Calgary Birth Essentials.
And remember it does get easier and easier as you and baby become more familiar and confident with the technique and process of breastfeeding.