Top Three Tips for a Great Newborn Latch

One of the best ways to prepare yourself to be a new mother is to do some level of reading and reflecting BEFORE you have a baby – know where you stand on issues like breastfeeding and vaccination so that you are not trying to do research with a babe in arms!

Latching like so many other baby issues goes back to the birth.  If you can choose to have a gentle birth the chances of you and your baby having breastfeeding success with be so much higher.

Gentle Birth – means that a baby is only suctioned if it is necessary – not as part of a routine procedure.  If their first experience of opening their mouth is painful they will not want to open their mouths again.  Babies who have been suctioned or deep suctioned need to recover from that experience.  They will often clench their jaws, close their eyes and clench their fists – making a good latch very difficult.  Talk to them about what has happened and then allow them to suck your finger, explore with their mouths at their own pace – nothing can be thrust into their mouths like tubes, soothers, bottles etc.

Head and Jaw Injuries – forceps, vacuum, cesarean sections and suctioning on the perineum are all painful and create injury for newborns.  It is not a gentle “lift” out as some doctors like to call it – there is a significant amount of torque on their head, neck and spine and this can make turning the head and opening the jaw painful.  This impacts your latch. Babies show us this by choosing to only nurse on one side and refusing to take the breast on the other side.  Pediatric chiropractic and cranial sacral therapy are both fantastic tools to remedy these issues.

Stay in Bed with your Baby

It takes about three weeks to really establish a good breastfeeding relationship with your baby – especially if there has been a difficult birth experience to overcome.  The best way to recover and start fresh is to stay in bed – skin to skin with your baby.  You will get to know one another and you will both have time to create a great breastfeeding relationship.  Plan for this time when you are pregnant.  Ask for help and food if you have other children – it is a great shower gift.

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