safe motherhood


How to get your baby to 'latch on'

When you are sitting down comfortably, make sure your baby is lying on his or her side, facing you. They should be tucked in closely to your body, with their head resting on your forearm. Their nose should be opposite your nipple and he or she should be the same height as the nipple. Some mothers may find it easier to use a pillow at first.

When their mouth is open wide, bring your baby towards you so that they take as much of the breast into their mouth as possible. His or her tongue should be under your breast. If you feel a lot of pain, or your breast slips out of their mouth, take them off and start again.

Keep trying until you get it right and you can feel that they are firmly on.

What you should see

• The baby tucked in close to you.
• The chin should be against the breast, stretched upwards rather than tucked in.
• The baby's mouth should be wide open, with their bottom lip curled outwards.
• There should be face and jaw movement.
• The lower lip should take more of the areola than the top lip.

What you shouldn't see

• The baby's cheeks sucked in.
• Their lips looking like they're sucking on a straw.

What you should hear

• Some slow, some quick, sounds of milk being swallowed

What you shouldn't hear

• Clicking noises.
• Lip smacking.

What you may feel

• A feeling of being 'firmly gripped'.
• The let-down reflex, which is a tingling sensation in the breasts, often at the beginning of a feed, as the milk begins to flow.
• A fleeting pain at the start of a feed in the first few weeks.

What you shouldn't feel

• Pain that lasts longer than this slight, fleeting pain.

If you see, hear, or feel anything that you shouldn't, insert your little finger inside your baby's mouth, between your breast and the corner of her mouth. This will break the suction and stop her from making you sore as she comes off. Then re-position her.

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