What is the Breastfeeding Latch?
The breastfeeding latch is the action used to guide your baby’s tongue and lips around the breast while he or she is feeding. While gentle, breastfeeding is also an activity that requires practice and coordination. Good breastfeeding depends on a well-latched baby, just as bad breastfeeding depends on a poorly latched-on baby.
Breastfeeding Latch is the name given to latch precision and coordination. The correct breastfeeding latch is when a baby latches onto a nipple and drinks. When babies can latch easily and consistently, they are known as latching babies. Children who are able to get enough breast milk through latching will usually be able to keep up with demand. However, a variety of factors can make latching difficult, including changes in the positioning of the baby, pain from stitches or sutures around the nipples, or painful cracked nipples (called thrush).
Why is the Latch Important?
Breast milk is the ideal food for babies. It contains fat, protein, vitamins, minerals, antibodies, and enzymes important for healthy growth and development. Breastfeeding for as long as possible is recommended for many reasons, including better weight gain, decreased risk of infections and allergies, and improved psychological development. In addition, how much a child weighs is affected by the amount of milk consumed, so breastfeeding also contributes to a child’s nutritional needs.
Breast milk also can help prevent a child from getting over a growth spurt, falling behind in developmental skills, or becoming underweight. There is a strong correlation between breastfeeding and lower rates of childhood obesity, allergies, asthma, and diabetes as an adult. Breast milk is designed to provide immunity against various illnesses, including infectious diseases. It’s also full of antibodies that can help ward off allergies. Breastfeeding can help prevent a child from developing psychological issues like anxiety and depression.
Tips for Successful Latching
Try to relax and remember to breathe. Always keep the baby upright and safe. Keep the latch consistent. It’s more important to keep the same position of the baby’s jaw and lips than it is to change the pressure. For example, if the baby is having trouble latching, try opening their mouth more. If the latch is too rough, try opening their mouth less. If the baby is having trouble sucking, try switching sides. If the baby is uncomfortable, move the latch away from the most painful area.
How to Teach a New Latch Baby
Every baby learns through interaction with their parents. Breastfeeding is no exception. Your proximity, calm voice, and gentle touch can help your baby learn to latch. When you start breastfeeding, you might feel awkward and frustrated. These feelings are normal and should fade as you get used to feeding. Try baby-led weaning. This method encourages a mother to feed her baby whenever the baby is ready and willing to latch, usually when the baby is awake and alert. Feeling nervous and unsure when starting out is normal, making baby-led weaning even more important.
The key to successful baby-led weaning is to do whatever feels right for you and your baby. For example, if you have painful cracked nipples, it may be difficult for your baby to latch on. If you have sore breasts, it may be difficult for your baby to latch on. If you have stitches, it may be more challenging for your baby to latch on. Ultimately, you know what’s best for your family, so do what works best for you.
Why Is It Harder Than It Looks?
There are a few things to keep in mind when learning how to latch:
- Understand that you and your baby are doing something new and important together. Be patient and take your time to get it right.
- Remember that every human being is different, so what works for one person might not work for another.
- Remember that practice makes perfect, so don’t be discouraged if you feel like you are not getting any better at this!
Try to practice latching as much as possible. Find a quiet place with a comfortable chair and let your baby practice on you. Keep the room dim and let your baby practice with a pacifier if he or she is afraid of the noise or light. Try to keep the room as quiet as possible when practicing to minimize distractions.
Effective breastfeeding helps the baby thrive both physically and emotionally. In addition, breastfeeding reduces the risk of childhood obesity, allergies, asthma, and diabetes as an adult. It also helps prevent a child from getting over a growth spurt, falling behind in developmental skills, or becoming underweight.
Slow and methodical progress is made through practice and patience. You and your baby will get much better at breastfeeding as long as they are fed. If you struggle with latching, there are many things you can do. If you feel stuck, there are also many resources you can turn to for help.