Latch

Mary - posted on 12/13/2010 ( 33 moms have responded )

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How do you get a good latch???? All I can find says take the baby off and try again - not an effective tip. ideas about keeping her hands out of the way would be good too.

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Shauna - posted on 12/21/2010

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Use your SO to help hold baby's hands out of the way, or swaddle. Or let them try to hone in like the lactation consultant told me... but I ignored that part for a while because neither of us were happy with a fist in the mouth instead of the food!

Remember, really all you need for a good latch is no pain (unless you're just starting, so there might be the first 10ish seconds) and the baby's getting enough food. So if the lips don't look right, but baby's eating and you don't hurt, it's all good. Those other tips people have shared are suuuper helpful in getting to that point, though.

Christie - posted on 12/20/2010

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What helped me the most is support baby with opposite arm to the breast you are feeding from. E.g. if feeding on the left breast support bub in the cross crade position with your right arm along their back and shoulders and gently cupping the back of their head in your hand. Use (in this instance) your left hand, thumb and forefinger to shape the nipple into the "hamburger" shape mentioned earlier (some people say cigar shape). By using extra presssure on your thumb it will slightly point your nipple upwards. Brush downwards from bub's nose down her lips until she opens her mouth very wide. Then as you bring her mouth towards your nipple take the thumb pressure off- this helps to roll your nipple backwards into the junction between the hard and soft palates where is is comfortable for you to feed and she can nurse most effectively. Tucking her bottom arm under your arm out of the way can be helpful also. Make the most of your local breastfeeding association (in Australia the ABA) too for extra support. Keep up the good work!

Heather - posted on 12/18/2010

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This is probably the best resource for videos to teach you about good latch and other nursing tips: http://www.drjacknewman.com/video-clips....

As for her hand--I used my thumb in baby's hand and when they got bigger, a small soft stuffed animal (with my first, it was a huffalump, whose trunk was the size of a finger).

Stephanie - posted on 12/18/2010

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I had some trouble starting out too. I found that the football hold worked best because I have a larger chest. But I think you should try all of the different 'holds'. Also I found it helped my daughter to concentrate if I worked some of the milk out of my nipple to start. When I started feeding across my body I would put one of her arms so it wrapped around my back, getting it out of the way.
I thought for a while that I was doing it wrong because it hurt so bad, but I found that was just because I have never done this before and my nipples were a bit woosey! I found that giving my breast a break by adding in a bottle once a day was a huge life saver because it allowed my nipples to heal a bit.
I ended up feeding for 6mths and really enjoyed it. But i feel your pain!

Kristin - posted on 12/13/2010

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On the hands, swaddle or blanket them out of the way. If it isn't right, you do want to take them off and do it again. I would suggest a pillow of some kind to get her up to your breast and free up your hands. Then using one hand, doesn't matter which, hold your breast like a hamburger and brush at her cheek or lips. If she's hungry, she'll open up pretty big. At that point, quickly move her onto your nipple.

Videos can definitely help. As can contaction a lactation specialist, La Leche League leader, or talking with the nurses at your pediatricians office. If you have mom friends who BF, maybe ask them to take a look or help out. We all want you to succeed.

I hope this helps.

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Jessica - posted on 12/31/2010

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The trouble with waiting till bub cries is that then their tongue will be up near the roof of their mouth, and it needs to be down and stuck out over the bottom gum for a good latch. We had a lot of trouble with this - if you do too, it's worth going to a lactation consultant who has experience with tongue-tie to see if that could be a problem. In fact, just going to see someone who knows what they are talking about is helpful! It's way easier to see and show than talk about... and definitely worth getting it right, once you and babe have it figured out life gets much easier :)

Julie - posted on 12/21/2010

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For both of my babies it took two months to get proper latch. I have large breasts with small nipples and no matter what i did it still took about two months. They really get better at nursing as they get older and then it's a breeze. So worth the two months of discomfort.

Erin - posted on 12/21/2010

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It wasn't easy to start for both my two little ones. Hopping the third will be (fingers crossed). The best advise I ever received was to aim your nipple at their nose so they have to open wide to receive the nipple.
If your sore The Brest shields helped me heal up and preserver when it was tough.
You can do it. Just like birth, not always easy but it can be done.

Andrea - posted on 12/20/2010

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I went and saw a Lactation consultant when I was having trouble. She would latch on one side really well but not the other. She gave me a nipple guard and it helped SO much.

Tanith - posted on 12/20/2010

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Heather Stevenson has a great video. I really battled to get my son to latch but once I got the hang of it I always remembered to bring him to the breast chin first and if his chin was not touching my breast, then I took him off and started again. I also remembered that if he took more of the bottom part of the areola, then it was a good latch.

Joanne - posted on 12/20/2010

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I dunno if this sounds weird but my lactation nurse had me hold my son football style where I kinda had to pin him between my arm and body which keeps his hands out of the way. I had him lie on a high and comfy pillow when I did this. Alternatively, you could swaddle bubba so his hands are pinned to his sides. And then, what my nurse had me do was to NOT give him the nipple so quickly so he gets agitated and screams. The more annoyed he got, the bigger he opened his mouth to cry and when its opened real big, that's when I quickly put him to the nipple. You have to be sure to push her head as far into the nipple as she can allow. Dunno if this is helpful but before I knew about this (my son came out on a Saturday and the lactation nurses came in on Monday), I had really painful breasfeeding experiences to the point the skin on my nipple came out! Not very pleasant. After that, no worries! Good luck!

Tanya - posted on 12/19/2010

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A really great book was "So that's what they're for." Gave a very detailed description of how to get a good latch, how to tell if a latch is good, what to do if there is a problem.

Here's the basics I remember:
get the baby to open his/her mouth by probing the corner with your nipple. Wait for baby to open WIDE. if mouth is not open wide, nudge again with nipple but do not put your nipple in. When the baby's mouth is open wide enough to get around your nipple plus 1 inch, bring him/her on to your breast. Most of the areola should be in the baby's mouth. If the baby has only a shallow latch on your nipple, disengage by inserting your finger into the side of the baby's mouth to break the suction and try again.

HTH!

Janet - posted on 12/19/2010

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www.drjacknewman.com
They have video and lots of help online...
you can also email him and he will email you can with what to do....
The best info I have even gotten is from this man...

Also I am not sure where you are from but there are breastfeeding clinic around.. that are free.... if you are in the durham area you can go to momandbabydepot.com in whitby

Rachel - posted on 12/19/2010

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sounds mean but if the baby cries for a sec you can get her mouth open wide enough. if its not right keep removing and re-latching until you get it right. if baby is just nursing on just the tip you can wind up with really sore nipples, its hard at first when baby is so small, it does get easier. definitely use pillows or that bobby pillow is good too, for getting baby up to the right level . I often found that laying down helped.

Jennifer - posted on 12/19/2010

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My daughter had tons of problems latching too. Definately make sure that her lips are outward, not tucked under. I found that we could barely get a right latch with cradle or football hold, so for about 2 months I've been lying on my side feeding her. It works well because she seems to be more relaxed and able to correctly latch easily. She also keeps her arms out of the way more in this position, but definately try tucking them into her clothing. Good Luck!

Kasie - posted on 12/19/2010

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O and If you need to, I wouldn't suggest using the bottle right away for a break but whenever you are done nursing and showering I would express a little milk and rub it on your nipples. It's the best to keep your nipples from getting chapped and stuff. Worked great for me. I found that giving my son the bottle at a month or so he wanted that more and would cry for at least an hour or two until he finally gave in to eat from me because our milk doesn't come in as fast as the bottle until a few months.

Kasie - posted on 12/19/2010

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What I was told was that the baby's lips have to be out to the areola and when they are on right it will look kinda like a flower. I just checked to see it my son's lips were out far enough when he was on. Plus it hurt a little when he wasn't latched right. It takes a little bit of learning for the both of you so be patient and most likely if your baby isn't freaking out then he/she is getting what they need. Good luck and I think it's awesome you're breast feeding, I love breast feeding.

User - posted on 12/18/2010

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i was worried with my 2nd because i didnt think i had good latchment and the nurses at the hospital werent all that helpful. i went to a breastfeeding specialist and sat there and fed my child while she watched to give tips on what i could do. My common problem was my finger always lingered near my nipple under her chin too much and that was affected her latching on. Im not too sure what other advise you could get, because other than that i didnt have many problems.

Kathy - posted on 12/18/2010

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Lactation consultant, definitely! And if the first one you see doesn't help, try another. My son had a super strong suck with a poor latch, the first few weeks were pretty awful. It may be helpful for your partner to meet the LC with you so that he knows what to look for, my husband would tell me if the latch was wrong or help pull my son's lower lip out (he had a tendency to tuck it in). We did a lot of relatching for at least two months, still sometimes do today (21 months). He knows what to do, but gets lazy/sloppy sometimes.

Catalina - posted on 12/18/2010

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One thing which sometimes isn't very clear is what defines a good latch. How do you know if you have one if you don't know what it looks like? I have a good rule of thumb which will save you sore nipples: make sure the lips are not folded under anywhere. They top lip should be curling up and the bottom lip curling down away from the nipple - if any part of their lip is not curling out give a gentle little tug and bring it out. So hard to describe what I am getting at. A drawing would be best, but do you think you get what I am saying?

Kristin - posted on 12/18/2010

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Yes, please see a trained specialist if you are having trouble! My daughter actually had a bit of a malformed jaw when she was born that kept her from latching, but it took a trained person to see it. She had cranio-sacral therapy for it, and it took 10 weeks (abnormally long!), but, we hung on and made it! I used all kinds of things... a nipple shield for a while...etc. Now she's 2 and we're still going strong and wondering when she's gonna quit!

Good luck!
Kristin

Heidi - posted on 12/18/2010

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for keeping bubs arms out of the way my lactation consultant grabbed the wrist cuff of bubs all in one and shook his arm so that it was inside the torso part of his all in one suit. I admit is was a little annoying having to redress him (put arms back it where they belong) but it made feeding in the early days sooo much easier!

Michelle - posted on 12/18/2010

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I totally agree with Heather about Dr Jack Newman's videos! They helped me tremendously!
Also, I found that laying down to nurse really helped me. When I started laying down is when I finally thought "I GET it!!" I was relaxed along with my daughter, and even now at 15 months, I mostly lay down to BF :)

Shannon - posted on 12/18/2010

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I am also a big fan of the swaddle for breast feeding. My daughter just can't do it otherwise. I am larger busted and found that my babies both had an easier time with the side lying position. We used a great lactation consultant with my first to make sure that I was doing everything correctly and the two best pieces of advice she gave me were to pinch the areola to fit the whole thing is his mouth and to try to gently pull down his bottom jaw slightly to help him relax into the latch.

Melanie - posted on 12/18/2010

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Although some areolas (dark part around the nipple) are bigger than others so just make sure they have a very wide open mouth before they latch.

[deleted account]

Here's a great video on it:
Baby's mouth should cover most or all of the dark part of your breast, and lips should be turned out. Good luck!

Melanie - posted on 12/18/2010

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When I saw my lactation consultant she said she looked for a few key things; make sure their lower lip isn't tucked in, their upper lip isn't tucked in and they're opening wide (like a yawn). Other than that I would call a lactation consultant to come and help, it's SO worth it!!

Brandi - posted on 12/18/2010

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I took me a while to realize that I could adjust his latch after he was on. He had a bad habit of sucking his bottom lip under, but everything else worked well so I'd let him latch his way (yes, it was painful) and then pull his bottom lip out with my thumb.

[deleted account]

oooh tough one man when my baby was born she knew right away how to do it!! i guess she came out hungry haha it was so cute i didnt kno how to do i just held to the breast to try to figure it out and right away she did everything!! and since then she has been the same she loves her breast milk!! soo idk just hold her hands down when putting baby to breast

[deleted account]

The public health nurses in my area also run weekly drop-in clinics where you can have your latch evaluated. Is there anything of the sort in your area?

Allison - posted on 12/14/2010

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I think that a lactation consultant or La leche league leader would be your best bet because you can meet with them in person and they will sit with you to help you figure it out. The hospital nurses weren't much help for me, and most of them are not trained lactation or breastfeeding experts, so they may or may not be good with breastfeeding advice. I have a few tips but I they all came from a lactation consultant. Good luck!

Carolyn - posted on 12/13/2010

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google breastfeeding videos, most have a huge section on latching and will show you, which is much more effective than describing it on a forum.

there are a billion videos out there. Im sure you can find a few that will help !

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