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Top latching tips for breastfeeding success!

Breastfeeding is one of those things that you can’t fully understand until you’ve done it yourself; and it’s that great unknown that makes many moms-to-be anxious! Don’t worry, with a few basic facts you’ll be good to go – and nursing like a pro! The first thing nobody probably thought to tell you is that Baby doesn’t latch onto the nipple itself; this is just a ‘spray nozzle’ for the milk. Baby should actually latch onto the darker area of skin round the nipple – the areola – because this is where the milk accumulates during a feed. Different women have different sized areolae so it is misleading to say that Baby must get all of it in his mouth; as long as he’s not latched  onto the nipple itself, and at least some of the areola is in his mouth, that’s fine.  Take a look at Sister Lilian’s top ten latching tips here and relax – you were made to do this!

1.       Grab something to drink and get into a comfortable position, making sure Baby is comfortable too and his whole body faces you; if he has to twist his neck he won’t feed well and might hurt your nipples

2.       Wear a front-opening garment while you get the hang of things so that you can see what you’re doing

3.       Tickle Baby’s lips and cheek to trigger his rooting instinct – when his mouth opens wide and his lip curls down cup your hand around his head and gently hold it against your breast

4.       If Baby struggles to open his mouth wide enough, gently pull downwards on his chin with your finger

5.       Expect the first few sucks to be strong and painful; if the pain persists you’ll need to relatch Baby

6.       Don’t worry, Baby can breathe on his own so you don’t have to hold your breast away from his nose

7.       Listen for sounds of swallowing and watch for active movement of Baby’s cheeks right up to his temple – if his cheeks draw inward and your breast isn’t pulling in toward his mouth you’ll need to relatch

8.       Express some milk first if your breasts are engorged and too tight for Baby to latch

9.       Gently pull and roll your nipples between your thumb and forefinger if they’re flat and Baby struggles to latch

10.   Walk with Baby if he won’t calm at the start of a feed – cradle him in your arms and move around until he’s latched and you notice him relax 

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