Best Breastfeeding Positions- Signs Of A Good Latch
By MomMed | 01 December 2022.
Breastfeeding is a wholesome feeling. However in the beginning it can get arduous; at least until your baby finds out the perfect way to latch. In this post let’s discuss some of the best breastfeeding positions and have a look at the signs of a good latch.
Best Breastfeeding Positions
Here are some of the most common breastfeeding positions practiced by nursing mothers.
This is very popularly referred to as biological nurturing as it triggers the natural feeding instincts of the baby. This position requires the mother to be semi-reclined and have the baby lay on top of her, tummy-to-tummy. When the baby is hungry, it will push through the mother’s body and crawl toward the breast.
This is a very relaxing posture to breastfeed. In this position, the mum and baby lie on their sides, facing each other, tummy-to-tummy. If you are tired, exhausted, sick, or recovering from a c-section, then this can be your go-to position.
As the name suggests, this breastfeeding position requires you to position your baby upright and in such a way that they straddle you. This is also known as the koala hold and is very suitable for older babies.
Since your newborns would not have robust neck control, they will require a lot of support in this position. However, if your baby has reflux or ear infection, there cannot be a better position than this.
This is a classic breastfeeding position. The mother cradles the baby in the crook of her arm. If your baby feeds from your right breast, you should use your right hand to cradle them and vice versa. The free hand can be used to support or stroke the body that lies across your chest.
This definitely doesn’t mark the end of the list. There are a lot more breastfeeding positions that you must read about and try out before settling into one. But now let’s hop on to the prime topic of our discussion today- the signs of a good latch.
Signs Of A Good Latch
No Nipple Injury
Nursing mothers are prone to get confused between nipple sensitivity and nipple injury. Nipple sensitivity is very common when you are starting to breastfeed. Your nipples feel sore for a few seconds when your baby begins to suckle. However, that goes away after that and completely vanishes once your baby is a few week-old.
But if the pain in your nipple continues throughout the feeding, then it is nipple injury caused by a poor latch. Therefore, one of the most significant signs of a good latch is that your nipple doesn’t hurt when your little one is suckling.
Baby’s Chin Touches Your Breast
When you start breastfeeding, make sure that their chin is the first thing to touch your breast and their nose lies at the level of your nipple. This positioning ensures a good latch. It is because this allows them to tip their little head back which eases drinking just as we bend our heads a little while drinking.
Moreover, when you offer them your breasts, make it a point that your nipple touches the roof of their mouth. If it doesn’t, it’s time for a retry. Ideally, the nipples and areola of nursing mothers should be sandwiched between the palate and the tongue for the baby to press and release milk. Besides, when your baby is drawing milk, you will also feel their tongue brushing your areola and nipple.
Baby’s Head And Shoulder Are In Line
Even the best breastfeeding positions fail to guarantee a proper latch. You can choose whichever hold you find suitable. However, the rule of thumb is to ensure that your baby’s head and shoulder are in the same line.
Imagine having to turn your head and drink over your shoulders. Tough right? How can the little human struggle so much? If your baby’s head and shoulder do not align, then it is not a proper latch. In such a position, it is not just the discomfort that is concerning. You should know that it also puts your baby at an increased risk of swallowing a lot of air which can lead to reflex.
It Is Not Just Your Nipple That Is In Their Mouth
One very important tip to follow while breastfeeding newborns is to remember that having only your nipple inside the mouth of your baby is not a sign of a good latch. The nipple along with parts of the areola has to go in. It is because the mammary glands are situated behind the areola.
Therefore, when they are stimulated by your baby’s suckling during breastfeeding, milk is expressed. Besides, you need to see that most of the bottom part of your areola and only some of the top part has to be in their mouth. This asymmetry indicates that your baby has latched on properly.
One more thing to check while breastfeeding is that your baby’s lips must spread out like a flower around your breasts. If their lips are tucked in, then break the latch and try again.
You Feel Your Baby Suckling
When your baby starts nursing, you feel a tugging sensation in your breasts. After a few times of nursing, you will be able to figure out the sucking pattern of your baby. For most babies, the initial phase of nursing is characterized by frequent sucks to draw the watery milk stored in your breasts.
This triggers the let-down reflex due to which your brain signals your breasts to start producing more milk. The subsequent milk that flows will have a thicker consistency, so you will feel sucks interspersed with pauses. In the final phase of nursing, the frequency of pauses increases as the breastmilk is the thickest at that point.
Yet another interesting thing to look out for is the sound of your baby’s exhalation after every time they swallow milk. And as they suckle, you can see their little chin moving up and down and their jaw and temple moving in tandem.
If your baby’s latch checks all the boxes we talked about, then there is no need to worry. However, if you feel something isn’t right with the latch and you want another try, then gently put your clean finger in the corner of their mouth. It will break the suction. You can then pull out and offer your breast again.
Mastering the latching process takes some time. So don’t fret, if your newborn doesn’t get the hang of it on the first day. Try some of the best breastfeeding positions as discussed above, talk to your doctor or reach out to a lactation expert. They have solutions for all your problems.