Breastfeeding: It's Latching On!

When mother and baby are comfortable, it’s easier to get a good latch and breastfeed well. These tips can help achieve a good latch.

1. Let gravity help! When mom leans back with baby on her tummy, gravity is doing the work! Gravity holds the baby in position tight against mom’s body, so mom’s arm, neck, and shoulder can relax and hug the baby instead of hold him. Even a newborn baby can feel heavy after being supported for a few minutes by one arm!

To get into this “laid back” position, just scoot your bottom to the edge of your seat, and lean back! Your shoulders, back, and neck are all supported by the couch or chair, just like they are when you watch TV, read a book, or settle in for a long phone call with your best friend. You can use pillows to support your lower back or arms in the beginning, but many mothers are comfortable nursing “laid back” wherever they are…even if they’re sitting on the floor and leaning against a wall.

2. Align baby’s nose to nipple, so baby has to tilt his head up to get his mouth into position. This makes his jaw drop for a wide open mouth, and keeps his nose out of mom’s breast tissue at the same time! A wide open mouth means a deeper latch on more breast tissue. Remember, he’s BREASTfeeding, not nipple feeding!

3. A breast sandwich helps get even more breast into baby’s mouth if he’s not latching deeply. Think about how you eat your favorite sandwich: you often need to squeeze it to fit it into your mouth for that first bite. It’s the same idea with a breast sandwich. Just line up your fingers with your baby’s mouth (think of making a mustache and beard), and hold your breast behind the areola so baby has room to latch well. Be sure to keep your fingers clear of his chin, so he can open wide and suckle well.

What’s your favorite position for nursing comfortably?