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Birthing Services

Correct Latch-on

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The most important thing that the baby needs to learn is how to latch on correctly. The baby's mouth needs to be positioned on the areola, not on the nipple. There are 2 important reasons for this. The baby will get the most milk when he or she is positioned correctly, and the mother's nipples are less likely to become sore.

Here are some tips to help with getting the baby to latch on correctly:

First, Mom needs to be in a comfortable position. Use a nursing pillow or a bed pillow. Decide which breast will be offered first. Massage your breast in a circular motion.

Express a few drops of colostrum onto your nipple. You can do this by placing your thumb and forefinger on your areola just above your nipple. Position your fingers on the areola, push back toward your chest wall and then bring your fingers forward. Continue to do this around your areola until you express a few drops of colostrum.

Gently lift and support your breast. Make sure your fingers below your breast are well away from the nipple so the baby will be able to take in as much breast tissue as possible.

Point your nipple to the baby's nose. Stroke the upper lip until the baby opens his or her mouth wide like a yawn. Once the mouth is open, his or her tongue will fall down and you will have a chance to bring the baby in close. If the baby does not latch with the first attempt, stroke the upper lip again and wait for the wide-open mouth.

Once the baby latches on, you should feel tugging on the nipple but not pinching. If you feel pinching, insert your finger into the baby's mouth by his or her gum line, break the suction and attempt the latch again. The baby's nose and chin should be touching your breast. If the nose is blocked, lift your breast slightly with the hand that is supporting it. This will pull the baby's head slightly away from the breast.

There are several nursing positions. The different positions include the cradle hold, the football or clutch hold, the cross-cradle hold, and the lying down position. At first, use the position that works  best for you and your baby. You can vary your positions when you feel ready.

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