Are you having trouble nursing or low breast milk production? The reason comes from the shallow latch of your baby on your nipple. A shallow breastfeeding latch is extremely common in both first-time mothers and experienced ones.
What causes this painful problem maybe are anatomical factors, a lip or tongue bind. Even, it is sometimes a simple matter of position.
So, how can you fix a shallow latch? Is it too challenging and complicated for inexperienced moms? Don’t get yourself too stressed out! This article will recommend effective ways to correct this problem and improve your breastfeeding experience!
Let’s scroll down to learn more!
Ways to Correct a Shallow Latch While Breastfeeding
When your baby has a shallow latch, is it painful? Of course, yes. Besides, the bad latch also causes your milk supply to be lower than usual.
If your baby encounters this issue, he may not make his mouth wide open enough to hold your whole areola. He sucks only your nipple or a part of your areola.
It’s not too hard to know if your baby is facing improper lactation. Here are some typical signs:
- Sore or cracked nipples
- Dripping out milk while latching
- Painful while breastfeeding
- Low breast milk production
A shallow latch may be the leading culprit when you notice these signs or your baby is constantly fussy.
Below are the most practical ways to get your baby to latch deeper and make your lactation process more enjoyable.
1. Find Out A Proper Position
A position won’t be fit for all mothers. Being comfortable when you breastfeed is just as vital as being in the correct place. It would help try out a few different positions to determine which one is the most comfortable for your baby and you while latching.
You can consider two common positionings: football hold and cross-cradle hold.
Football Hold Position
When using the football hold technique, you will use your arms to support the baby while ensuring the right arm is level with the breast you are using.
When your baby’s backrest places your arm, make sure their head is towards you.
Cross-cradle Hold Position
You lay on your back with your breasts exposed while placing your baby face down on your belly.
When your newborn starts to root, it’s better to support his neck, then gently push his head to your breast while his mouth opens.
Whether you choose the first technique or the second one, here are some considerations to turn over your mind:
- Choose the most comfortable and convenient position for both mom and baby.
- Make latching simpler for your baby, and make sure his ears, hips, and shoulders are aligned.
- Assist your baby by flexing his hips and placing his feet on something for stability.
- You can use pillows for neck support. They also assist you in lifting your baby.
Most importantly, it would be best to contact skin to skin with your baby whenever you breastfeed them. Mom and baby will benefit from increased body warmth and relaxation.
Skin-to-skin contact encourages your baby’s natural capacity to look for and locate the nipple. As a result, your baby can expand and stretch their mouth to obtain a deeper latch.
2. Apply The Big Sandwich Technique
Let’s imagine your breast looks like a big sandwich. Assume your baby is biting into a massive overloaded sandwich. Take more notice of his lower jaw and head positioning.
To begin, squeeze your breast a little to ensure that it fits comfortably in your baby’s mouth. Use your hand to press the breast lightly to form a “U” shape.
Then let him grasp your breast with his lower jaw gently deep beneath it. It’s critical to compress your breasts in your baby’s mouth position.
Eventually, hook his lower jaw beneath your breast and clamp his upper mouth on. This method allows you to have more control over the lactation procedure.
3. Don’t Let Your Baby Too Hungry
It’s simpler to achieve a good latch if your newborn is happy and not too hungry. When he is starving, he may get frantic and fussy.
Many lactation consultants recommend trying to feed your infant as soon as he shows indications of hunger.
It’s best to be prepared to breastfeed infants as immediately as they awaken. Some signs that your newborn is hungry may include:
- Smack his lips
- Turn his head from side to side
- Put his hand to the mouth
4. Apply The Flipple Technique
The flipple technique is a fantastic way to get a deep latch with most newborns, particularly those with lip and tongue knots.
You can perform this technique with a few simple steps, as shown below:
- Make sure your baby’s head turns upwards and put your breast to his nose before you prepare to latch him. This act prompts him to widen his lips.
- Attempt to insert the base of the areola into your baby’s mouth through his lower jaw as possible as his mouth is widely open.
- Flip his upper lip onto your breast with your thumb or fingertip as he latches on.
5. Try To Re-latch
You should attempt again if your baby can’t get a deep latch after doing the above techniques. It’s ok to relatch 3–5 times before mastering a proper lactation. Before unlatching your newborn, you must pull him off your breast by releasing his suction. Follow the steps below:
- Gently insert your finger into one side of your baby’s mouth.
- Press your finger on one side of the breast and between his gums. The suction will be broken.
- Remove the breast as soon as your baby responds by opening his mouth. It’s time to re-latch.
6. Talk With Your Lactation Consultant
It is the final solution. If you try to apply all of the above ways to fix your baby’s latch, but they don’t work for your situation, you should consult with a professional. They will have more intensive treatment measures suitable for all cases.
Will A Shallow Latch Correct Itself?
The answer is yes, but that’s not always the case. Breastfeeding is a skill that takes time to master. A shallow latch can occasionally correct itself after a couple of weeks of effort and learning when you practice more.
Can Breastfeeding Hurt Even With a Good Latch?
The short answer is yes! If you don’t position your nipple far enough backward, your baby’s tongue will brush and press on it, causing hurt and discomfort. Plus, if you’re a first-time mom, breastfeeding can still be painful in the early days, even with a good latch.
How Do I Know If My Baby Is Latched On Properly?
It’s not hard to know if your baby has a good deep latch. Here are some signs:
- The latch is effortless and does not cause any discomfort.
- The lips of your baby protrude.
- The chin of your newborn rests on your breast.
- Your newborn’s mouth expands broadly over your whole breast.
- The stomach and chest of your baby press on your body. His head is not cocked to one side.
Fixing a shallow latch is not too challenging. You can try several solutions to correct the problem, like trying different positions or applying a big sandwich technique or flipple one. Try and feel. Besides, remember to feed your baby when he shows signs of hunger. If you are facing cracked nipples, try applying coconut oil. You should also talk to a lactation expert for advice.
If you have other ways to improve a baby’s latch, share them with other new moms in the comment below.