We’re delighted to once again share a Q&A from our Facebook page. One expectant mum asks for some advice on getting the right latch on…
“I had difficulties getting my first little boy to latch. I tried different holds, breaking the latch etc and he totally destroyed my nipples. By day 3, I was in tears and couldn't continue. I changed to expressing with the Medela Swing. I managed to sustain this for a further 6 weeks but it is a lot of work, time and effort to sustain. I'm due my second baby soon. Do you have any tips for latching correctly?
Every baby is different and this time round, it will most probably be a different journey and your previous experience will prove so invaluable in helping you. Here are some tips that you may find useful:
- Be realistic. It is hard work as you know, especially those first weeks but getting help early can support you both to achieve what you want.
- After birth, make sure you have skin to skin and you may get a lovely self-attachment in that first hour. Expect to feed every hour or two and if you are going home after delivery within the first 24 hours – try and get a couple of practice feeds with a midwife or care assistant, just to help you with some tweaks, if needed.
- Practice different feeding positions – you may prefer the rugby hold or cross cradle for a while because it helps you to see what is going on.
- First day, nappies will be quite light in volume if you have a normal delivery and no drip, by day 2 it will have more fluid and she will have meconium poo, she will nurse a lot today as your milk comes to volume, maybe every 1-3 hours is normal with bursts from 10 minutes to an hour. By day 3 your milk will be in usually and you may have fuller engorged breasts which are heavy and sore, practice hand expressing a little milk off to help the nipple to soften a little and then latch.
- You need a and position. To latch correctly a big wide mouth is needed to help the nipple to sit in her mouth correctly and comfortably for you. Support her neck and shoulders (not her head) by placing your hand on her shoulder blades so that she can slightly tilt her head back. Keep her in a virtual straight line – nose in a line with her belly button orear in a line with her shoulder and hip if she is side-lying. You cannot open mouth wide if you are twisted or if chin is on her chest. Nipple to her nose, chin to breast and stroke her lip, encourage a few blobs of milk by gently hand expressing so she can taste you, when she opens her mouth wide she will have a lovely deep latch. If it doesn’t feel right take her off and try again.
- If you have a sleepy little one you can express after feeds to support your milk coming to volume but it is also important that you chat with your midwife if she isn’t feeding well.