The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months and continued breastfeeding until the child reaches the age of 2. This is because breast milk is not only packed with nutrients but also helps in the baby’s cognitive development. However, many mothers find it challenging to breastfeed their child. In fact, according to a study by WHO, 80% of new mothers have trouble with latching on to their newborns. This article will help you understand the importance of latch and how you can improve yours if you are having a hard time breastfeeding your child.
What is Latch?
Latch is an important part of the breastfeeding process. It is the process by which the baby attaches to the breast and begins to feed. When the baby latches well, it is easy for the mother to breastfeed. When the latch is faulty, it can cause many problems like sore nipples, low milk supply, etc. Latch is the connection between the baby’s mouth and the mother’s nipple. It can be either a good latch or a poor latch. The type of latch that your baby uses to feed can make breastfeeding a lot easier or more difficult.
Importance of a Good Latch
A good latch prevents any nipple pain and ensures that your baby is receiving the right amount of milk. A bad latch can cause your baby to get frustrated while feeding and lead to him not receiving enough nourishment from breastfeeding. A bad latch is also a sign of a weak suck and can be a cause of future issues for your baby like ear infections and asthma. A good latch can help protect the mother’s nipples from pain and injury. It also helps the baby receive enough breast milk. A bad latch can cause a baby to take in only a small amount of milk or even none at all.
Tips to Achieve a Good Latch
Here are a few tips on how to achieve a good latch.
- Find the Right Position – Place your baby in a way that is most comfortable for both of you. The best position for breastfeeding is called the “cradle hold”. In this position, you sit upright with your knees bent and your baby sits on your lap facing you with his legs wrapped around your waist. This way you can have an unobstructed view of his mouth, and he can have an unobstructed view of your breast.
- Clean Your Breasts – Wash your breasts with lukewarm water and soap before breastfeeding. This will remove any traces of dirt and grime from under your breasts, which could lead to infections if left untreated.
- Apply the Right Pressure – Squeeze your breast carefully and apply the right amount of pressure to get the milk out. You should not squeeze too hard as you may damage your milk ducts.
When to See a lactation consultant
If you are still having trouble breastfeeding your baby, see a lactation consultant near you. A lactation consultant is a trained expert who can help you with breastfeeding. If you have had a c-section, you may find it challenging to breastfeed your baby. In such cases, the lactation consultant can help you by providing you with special breastfeeding pillows and advice on how to position your baby. If you have a low milk supply, you should also consult a lactation consultant as soon as possible. This can be a cause of great stress for both you and your baby. The lactation consultant will also help you identify breastfeeding latch problems and suggest ways to solve them.
Breastfeeding is a natural process but it is not easy and can be challenging for new mothers. This is because it requires a good latch, and this can be hard for some mothers to achieve on their own. If you have tried everything to improve your latch and you are still struggling with breastfeeding, see a lactation consultant near you. This will help you get the support you need and help you improve your latch.