Breastfeeding Your Baby
Correctly latching your baby onto the breast is an important step in successful breastfeeding. A poor latch may cause sore nipples, a hungry baby, and a smaller milk supply. If you feel pain when your baby is on the breast (not a passing discomfort), a poor latch may be the problem. Gently remove your baby from the breast and start again. To take your baby off your breast and break the suction, gently place a finger in the corner of your baby’s mouth.
How can I get a good latch?
- Unwrap your baby. Blankets make it hard for baby to be close enough to latch well.
- Turn your baby’s whole body to face you (tummy to tummy).
- Support your breast but keep your fingers well back from the areola (brown part).
- Aim your nipple high in your baby’s mouth.
- Touch your baby’s lips with your breast to help open your baby’s mouth wide, like a yawn.
- Bring your baby in close to you.
- Put your hand on your baby’s shoulders, not your baby’s head.
When is my baby well latched?
- The initial latch may hurt but you shouldn’t feel pain in the nipple area. You should feel a tug.
- Your baby’s chin is touching your breast and her or his nose is slightly away from the breast.
- Your baby begins to suck. Your baby’s cheeks will be full and rounded. If there are dimples in the cheeks, your baby may not be latched well.
- While sucking, your baby may suck quickly, then more slowly, with short rest pauses. You may be able to hear the baby swallowing. Listen for a “ca” sound. You will hear this more easily when your milk increases.
- Sometimes you may hear your baby gulping, especially if you have lots of milk.
- Clicking or smacking sounds may mean that your baby is not latched correctly.
- You can’t easily slide your baby off your breast.
- Your nipple looks rounded, not flattened, when your baby comes off your breast.
- The nipple does not have any cracks, blisters, or bleeding.
The Let‑down Reflex
Let‑down happens as milk is released into milk ducts in your breast. This usually happens when your baby sucks on your breast. You may even have a let‑down when your baby or someone else’s baby cries, or for no reason at all. Some women don’t feel the let down. Others may feel a tingling sensation. Others may have a very strong sensation or discomfort.
What if my let‑down is slow?
- Find a private, quiet place if you are uncomfortable.
- Sit or lie comfortably.
- Have a drink handy (non‑alcoholic).
- Massage your breasts or apply a warm face cloth to the breast before feeding.
If you have followed these tips and still have a problem with let‑down, talk with your public health nurse, midwife, or a lactation consultant.
More feeding = more milk.
In other words, the more you feed your baby, the more milk you will make, as long as your baby is feeding well with a good latch.