Getting started with breastfeeding can be difficult and we are sure that you would have heard (or even experienced with a prior baby) some horror stories about breastfeeding gone wrong. Below are some tips and some useful information to get your breastfeeding journey started on the right boob (ha ha, see what we did there!).
Skin to Skin
The best thing for mom and baby immediately after giving birth is allowing them to tap into their instincts. The moment your baby is born give your naked gooey baby a cuddle on your naked chest and watch as your baby’s instincts take over. The smell of your milk will make them raise their head and inch (incredible right!) towards your breasts seeking out their first feed. Watch as your baby latches themselves on (with a little help from you if needed).
Having Skin to Skin cuddles with your baby immediately after birth (your partner will also benefit from skin to skin cuddles) will make breastfeeding that much easier. Your baby hears the familiar sound of your heartbeat, smells your familiar scent and is calm and content with all those lovely Oxytocin hormones rushing around.
Remember to be kind to yourself. You have just done something amazing and your body and hormones are all over the place. So, if your baby isn’t getting the hang of it straight away, don't try to force it. Take a deep breath, embrace the naked baby cuddles and then try again.
Getting a good latch - Burger or Spaghetti
Pre-baby you would have read (or watched) up on breastfeeding and maybe even attended antenatal classes. They all would have mentioned holding your baby in a football position and bring baby’s nose to your nipple, then having them latch on. What they might not have mentioned is that your baby’s chin should be towards your breast, so their head is tipped back, the tip of their nose pointing up to the ceiling, and you should be able to see up their nostrils. So It should really be called nostrils to nipple!
Sounds so simple doesn’t it? But how do you know if you are doing it right. Here’s an easy trick: does it look like your baby is enjoying a delicious burger or slurping up some spaghetti?!
Spaghetti (or nipple feeding) latch almost always results in excruciating pain as your baby’s sharp gums are gnawing on your sensitive nipples. Yikes!
Burger (proper breastfeeding) latch, your baby should have a mouth full of nipple and areola (this is the darker colored area surrounding the nipple) which hurts a lot less and once your nipples have become accustomed to the process it won’t hurt at all.
If you are struggling with the nose to nipple technique try this:
- have baby’s cheek rest on your breast (like a lovely pillow) and let them smell the milk.
- hand express some colostrum if they are sleepy. Wait for them to open their mouths as wide as they can.
- pop a big mouthful of areola and nipple in there by holding your breast like a burger. Be confident and quick!
Remember it always helps to have baby skin to skin when breastfeeding in the beginning as it calms them and triggers their instincts. If you continue to struggle to get a good latch reach out to your local Health Visitor, breastfeeding support peer or other mums for help and don’t forget to ask them to check that your baby doesn’t have a lip or tongue tie.