7 Good Latching Tips To Help You Breastfeed
Latching is the fastening of your baby’s mouth to your breast during breastfeeding. It is how your baby attaches properly to your breast in order for the milk to flow freely into his or her mouth. Good latching is one of the components of effective breastfeeding techniques and you need to learn it.
The commonest reason reported by women for stopping breastfeeding is perceived low milk supply, difficulty with latching and breastfeeding position and nipple discomfort. With good education on breastfeeding basics and support, a mother can achieve good latching. Skilled lactation support can empower women( especially those from rural areas ) to have successful breastfeeding. Good latching prevents nipple sore, cracked nipple, nipple pain and to ensure effective flow of breast milk.
Here are 7 latching tips to help you effectively breastfeed your baby.
1. Good Latching and Attachment for your baby is important
While mothers demonstrated knowledge and positive attitude towards breastfeeding in a study that assessed knowledge, attitude, and techniques of breastfeeding in a semi-urban community in south-west Nigeria , those from north-west region of the country, however, need additional counseling due to low literacy levels among women in northern Nigeria which has the lowest literacy levels of 26% among women in Nigeria .
The video below was produced by Global Health Media Project to show mothers how to achieve good latching and effectively breastfeed their babies.
video credit: www.globalhealthmedia.org
2. Make sure you are comfortable while breastfeeding
To have a good latch does not depend on baby’s position-you can place your baby in any position as long as he can latch well and you are comfortable.
You may sit on a chair (with a pillow to support your back) or lie down, depending on what feels comfortable to you. If you sit down, you may use a stool to raise and support your legs and feet. This helps to support your back and neck and prevents you from straining and bad posture. You could also use pillows to support your baby.
3. Good Latching techniques should be demonstrated to mothers
All mothers need information about basics of milk production, how to manage milk supply, practical skills on how to breastfeed and the benefits and possible problems associated with breastfeeding. In addition, the information on breastfeeding and complementary feeding should be given to mothers at the appropriate time of breastfeeding, considering the fact that mothers’ need for specific information evolves during their breastfeeding journey.
Mothers should not just be taught about latching during teaching demonstrations they need to have practical coaching sessions (hands-on approach) on latching to help them to latch while they are in the hospital. This boosts the mother’s confidence to help her baby latch when they leave the hospital.
Mothers should be told educated on both the benefits and challenges of breastfeeding. They want to be reassured that the challenges are transient and they will get easier with time. In the absence of guidance and support, it is easy for moms to quit breastfeeding early especially new moms, who have no previous breastfeeding experience and are not prepared for setbacks of breastfeeding.
Like Us on Facebook/arewacafeteria
4. Wear Comfortable clothes when you breastfeed
The type of clothes you wear could affect the way you attach and breastfeed your baby. For example, Indian women who wore “sarees” found it difficult to support babies with their hands .
Tight fitted blouses or dress with no open access to your breast will interfere with your baby’s feeding; the baby will struggle to locate your nipple and latch properly. You may not be able to also support your breast and maintain a good latch while your baby sucks.Also, you should get nursing bras and nursing pads for comfortable breastfeeding.
Use a blouse or dress that you could open on your chest around the breasts- preferably one with an opening, a zipper or buttons.
5. Express or pump breast milk when necessary
As much as it is best to teach mothers to achieve good latching and get adequate amount of breast milk for their babies, mothers need to told it is ok if breast milk doesn’t start pouring in immediately after birth. The amount of breast milk needed by the baby changes at different stages of growth.
Many breastfeeding mothers use hand or pump to express breast milk, either because of latching problems and they need to produce milk for her baby, if they have nipple sores or need to return to work. Hand expressing can boost milk supply and reduce breast engorgement.
A mother may also need to express or pump breast milk if she is separated from her baby, for example, after Caesarian section. This is usually for a temporary and short time until the mother can attach her baby to breast. Expressing breast milk will ensure continuous milk production and supply before baby eventually attaches to the breast to suck. You can then practice good latching for maximum milk supply when you reunite with your baby.
Mothers feel they don’t get adequate information on how to express or pump breast milk to keep a steady supply of breast milk . They need to be taught how to hand-express or pump breast milk in breastfeeding classes during pregnancy. The midwife or lactation consultant should also practically demonstrate and coach the mother how to do this before she leaves the hospital after delivery. There is need to include the teaching of hand expression and pumping of breast milk in breastfeeding counseling.
Follow Us on Instagram: @arewa_cafeteria
6. Healthcare Providers Can Support Mothers to Achieve Good Latching
Healthcare Providers may provide inaccurate or inconsistent information about breastfeeding, thus confusing mothers, making them seek correct and reliable information. In a study carried out in Canada to assess the perceived breastfeeding information needs of mothers, only 18% of the mothers reported they have received all the support and information they needed form their healthcare providers. .
The role of Healthcare Providers (HCPs) in ensuring effective breastfeeding by mothers include giving support and encouragement to mothers, providing evidence-based and consistent advice and discussing common challenges and solutions of breastfeeding with mothers ahead of their breastfeeding experience. This will reduce the fears and uncertainties mothers face during breastfeeding.
Healthcare Providers caring for lactating mothers should be adequately trained with reliable knowledge to give advice and support on breastfeeding using clear training protocols that should be used consistently by all HCPs that communicate breastfeeding messages to mothers.
Follow Us on Twitter: @arewa_cafeteria
7. Get proper counseling before you leave the hospital
Hospitals and maternity clinics can do a lot to support mothers to easily breastfeed. Ask to discuss your breastfeeding plans with a healthcare provider before you leave the hospital.
Below is what healthcare providers can do to support mothers to breastfeed.
Are you still worried about having a good latch?
It is common for mothers, especially first-time moms to be apprehensive and feel overwhelmed about getting a good latch during breastfeeding. With proper education using practical demonstrations by trained healthcare providers and sharing common experiences with experienced moms, latching problems can be managed.
What problems did you have with latching and how did you solve the problem? Do you have tips to share on how you successfully attach the baby to breast or solve a latching problem? Share your experiences in the comment section.
You can also join our Facebook Group to continue the conversation.
We value your suggestions!
Please fill the form below and send to us.
This article should not be considered a source of medical treatment. The Information provided is ONLY for educational purposes. Please consult your doctor for medical advice or treatment appropriate for your specific problems.
 C. E. Mbada et al., “Knowledge, attitude and techniques of breastfeeding among Nigerian mothers from a semi-urban community,” BMC Res. Notes, vol. 6, no. 1, p. 552, 2013.
 National Population Commission, “Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey,” Abuja, 2013.
 S. B. Thakre, S. S. Thakre, S. M. Ughade, S. Golawar, A. D. Thakre, and P. Kale, “The breastfeeding practices: The positioning and attachment initiative among the mothers of rural Nagpur,” J. Clin. Diagnostic Res., vol. 6, no. 7 SUPPL., pp. 1215–1218, 2012.
 M. Dietrich Leurer and E. Misskey, “‘Be positive as well as realistic’: a qualitative description analysis of information gaps experienced by breastfeeding mothers,” Int. Breastfeed. J., vol. 10, no. 1, p. 10, 2015.