Monday, June 22, 2009

Latching On

Are you wondering why I haven't talked about this subject until now? Isn't this how breastfeeding begins? I am not sure why I am just talking about it now, but I hope some of the information and pictures that I give will help.

First thing to do when you start breastfeeding, is make sure that you are comfortable where you are sitting or laying down. You can use a footstool to support your feet and a boppy pillow or a couch pillow to help elevate your arm that the baby is resting on. Bring the baby close to you so you are skin to skin. Make sure the babies body is straight and its neck is not twisted. There are alot of different positions to try when nursing. You will probably prefer some over the other, but trying different positions might make nursing easier for both you and the baby. I found this chart of positions from this website The first and most common position is the cradle hold. The next most common for me was the the lying down position. I used this one with my first child alot. Then you can also try the cross-cradle hold or the football hold.

To get the baby to latch on, grab your breast in a C-hold, with your thumb on top of your breast and the rest of your fingers underneath the breast. Don't use the cigarette hold because that will prevent the baby from latching on correctly to the nipple. Make sure that the babies mouth is open very wide so he/she can put the nipple and the areola in its mouth. The areola is the dark circle around your nipple. You might need to help your newborn baby open its mouth enough at the beginning. Just pull down on the chin to help the baby get enough of the breast in his/her mouth. The babies nose needs to be touching your breast while nursing. They still can breath good this way and it keeps them from loosing the latch. If it seems that the baby is having a hard time breathing, then just lower your arm that the baby is resting on. The above pictures ( will help you see how much of the breast the baby should have in its mouth. If the baby doesn't latch on the first time try, try again. If there is any clicking noises or the babies checks are sucking in to much then he/she in not latched on correctly. Break the latch and try again. Don't just pull your breast out of the babies mouth because that can tear it. Put your index finger in the mouth of the baby to break the latch. By not having a good latch, the baby will not empty your breast right and it will make you really sore.

You will have sore nipples for about the first two weeks of nursing with a good latch. It hurts when they first latch on, but once they are nursing the pain goes away. Make sure that you are switcing breast every time you start nursing so one doesn't get more sore than the other. You start with the breast that you ended on the feeding before. So if you ended on the right breast with the first feeding, then you start with the right breast on the second feeding. My mom always had me put Vitamin E on my breast to keep them from getting too dry and cracked. My breast never cracked enough to bleed, but the vitamin E will help with the dryness. It won't hurt the baby, so put it on when ever you feel you need it. Breastfeeding is all worth the pain and effort if you can just stick with it. It is such a wonderful bonding time for you and your baby. You can talk, massage and sing while you have this time with one another. So enjoy every minute.

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