Baby Breastfeeding latching - Importance and Tips

Breast milk is high in nutritional value, much higher than any other kind of milk and various infant formulas, thus making it the best feeding option for any infant. For the first feed, the breast produces colostrum which protects the baby from any infection.

Besides providing nutrition to the infant, breastfeeding helps in developing the bond between mother and child. However, in the case of mothers who are seriously ill and are on any form of medication, breastfeeding is not recommended.


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Importance of Baby Breastfeeding Latching

Babies are born with a natural instant called the ‘rooting reflex’ that enables them to reach out for and suck the nipple and swallow milk. However, it may be a little difficult for the baby to latch onto the nipple, thus leading to an insufficient intake of milk. It some cases the baby may swallow air leading to the formation of gas resulting in pain and discomfort. As babies are unable to express themselves, they often end up crying bitterly due to these reasons, leaving the parents anxious. Improper latching techniques also results in nipple soreness and pain. A proper breastfeeding latch can ensure a good feed with minimum discomfort for both the baby and the mother.

Baby Breastfeeding Latching Tips

There are a number of breastfeeding latching tips. Most mothers wait for the baby to reach out for the nipple and as soon as the baby faces the breast with an open mouth, the mother quickly moves the baby onto the breast, allowing the nipple and areola to enter the baby’s mouth.

Waiting for the baby to open his or her mouth wide will ensure that the baby has a sufficient part of the breast in his or her mouth, the tongue being flat to facilitate proper sucking.

Moving towards the baby should be avoided as it may result in poor latching. In some cases, the baby may have to be coaxed into the proper breastfeeding position by gently caressing the baby’s cheek or lips with the nipple. Women with inverted of flat nipples need to be more cautious as baby’s find it difficult to latch onto such nipples. Massaging the nipples before a feed is recommended so that the baby can latch onto the breast properly. These breastfeeding latching techniques are recommended for ensuring a fruitful feed.  Both breasts should be offered at every feed. Breastfeeding requires patience and practice. Feeding time may vary from a few sucks in newborns to 20 minutes to half an hour in older babies, depending on the baby’s need.

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