The correct breastfeeding latch is important to establish from the first day. A free download on the 8 Criteria of a proper latch is at the bottom of this web page.
Download of the Latch Brochure At the Bottom of this Page
Getting Started with the Correct Breastfeeding LatchGetting the baby started with a good latch is crucial. It ensures that the baby is able to extract the milk from the breast, ensuring adequate nutrition and growth. It also prevents the common problems of engorgement and sore nipples.
If any of these problems do occur, correcting the latch is essential to solve the problem and reverse the unwanted side effects. The best latch occurs when an infant self-attaches skin to skin with the mother in the first few hours of life. Here, the infant is not manipulated by procedures that must be accomplished within set time frames, but is left on the mother’s abdomen and crawls to the breast when he or she is ready to eat. The infant’s head bobs as she finds the perfect placement, and her mouth opens to its widest. Once the infant achieves a successful latch, she relaxes the rest of her body and enjoys the new sensation of suckling.
While self-attachment in the first hour might be the ideal, most infants born in hospitals do not have that experience, and instead need to overcome breastfeeding obstacles they have encountered prior to being latched on. The article on delayed attachment describes how an infant who did not have the opportunity to self-attach in the first few hours can still do so in the first weeks of life.
It is valuable to realize that latching on is not difficult. In fact, any baby can do it. What is difficult is overcoming a poor or insufficient latch.
Latch TrainingIf the baby has not self-attached, or has had other items in his or her mouth before the breast, the breastfeeding latch may not be optimal. In many cases, the baby is able to latch on sufficiently to obtain milk, but the latch causes soreness and pain to the mother.
More serious problems occur if the baby is unable to remove the milk. The baby can be trained to latch correctly using the following technique:
8 Criteria of the Correct Breastfeeding LatchHow do you know if a baby has latched-on to the breast correctly? Here are eight criteria to watch for:
Breastfeeding Latch RemindersRetraining a sub-optimal latch of a newborn may prevent problems that cause frustration and early weaning.
A two or three day old colostrum-drinking baby is more patient with this procedure than a two week old milk-hungry infant. Therefore, you want to correct problems with the breastfeeding latch early.
Even if you missed the opportunity to self attach in the first hour after birth, it is possible to recreate that scenario when alone with your infant, skin to skin, in the first few weeks.
See more information on mother's hand position while latching-on for offering the breast to the baby.
Older BabiesIf your baby is more than a few days old and not latching properly, you may need to retrain baby for the proper latch. Read our four tips for retraining.
Download our Brochure on Correct Breastfeeding Latch
Our brochure Correct Breastfeeding Latch lists 8 criteria of the correct latch and instructions to ensure a proper latch. Print the brochure and keep it with you in your labor bag. You just may need it!
Another window will open to allow you to print the brochure.
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Enhancing Birth Breastfeeding and Bonding
By Karen Newell Copyright 2011 - 2012 Better Childbirth Outcomes - All Rights Reserved
Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, USA