Although breastfeeding is the most natural method to feed your baby, which cannot be compared even to feeding a newborn with the safest infant formula, mastering it may require some time and practice. An understanding of the correct way of attaching the baby to the breast can greatly help in stabilizing breastfeeding. Here are several tips on properly feeding the baby.
How to Attach the Baby to the Breast
1. Analyze the feeding position
Before you start, regardless of which feeding position you choose, ensure the baby’s head, neck, and spine are in one line and are not crooked. The baby’s chin should be pointing upwards, not lowered to the chest. You must be comfortable too. Use pillows to support your back, shoulders, or the baby.
2. Encourage your baby to open the mouth
Hold your baby close to your body so that your nipple is at the same level as its nose. Gently touch your nipple to your baby’s upper lip, encouraging the baby to open its mouth wide. The wider your baby opens its mouth, the easier it will be to latch on properly.
3. Bring the baby to your breast
When the baby has opened its mouth and stuck its tongue out beyond the lower gum, bring it closer to the breast, directing the nipple towards its palate. The baby’s chin should be the first part of its body that contacts your breast. The infant should cover a large part of the areola with its mouth so that its lower lip and jaw cover primarily the lower part of the areola. If part of the areola does not end up in the baby’s mouth, do not worry since it may depend on the size of the areola and the size of the baby’s mouth. Some moms also find it helpful to shape the breast with one hand while holding the baby with the other hand. Experiment and see what works for you.
4. Keep baby close to you when latching on
Whenever possible, keep your baby close to you so that its chin touches your breast. The noses of newborns are directed upwards, which allows them to breathe at the breast and easily coordinate the rhythm of sucking and breathing.
5. Watch and listen
At first, the baby will suck with a short, fast rhythm to trigger the milk flow. When the milk starts to flow, the baby will slow down and take pauses, which may mean swallowing milk. The baby’s jaw should be moving. You can also hear sucking and swallowing sounds.
Signs of Right and Wrong Attachment to the Breast
The correct attachment is evidenced by:
- the baby’s calmness;
- nose and chin attached to the breast;
- the obtuse angle between the upper and lower lips;
- regular movement of the baby’s jaw;
- a distinct voice of swallowing milk, appearing regularly from time to time;
- slight tingling in the chest;
- proper weight gain of the child;
- soaking at least a few diapers a day;
- a feeling of emptying the breast after feeding.
Incorrect attachment may be evidenced by:
- the baby’s anxiety;
- tongue thrusting;
- blocking the milk flow with the tongue;
- biting instead of sucking;
- no interruptions in sucking;
- poor weight gain.
Now that you know how to breastfeed, let’s get to work! Breastfeeding is not as difficult as you might think. These will be special moments with your baby.