Breastfeeding can be exciting as well as challenging if the baby has a shallow latch. Learn how to fix a shallow latch below!
The term shallow latch refers to when the baby does not open its mouth wide enough to be able to feed from the mother’s breast. This may cause excruciating pain to the nursing mothers. If a baby has a good latch, then the areola and the nipple should be in the baby’s mouth. If the baby has a shallow latch, the mother’s nipple is pinched, squeezed, rubbed, flattened, or blistered.
This happens due to excessive suction in the tiny area of the nipple by the baby’s mouth than the whole nipple. Furthermore, the baby’s tongue rubs this sore nipple like sandpaper. All of this can be painful to the mother and causes feeding problems for the baby as well.
Ways To Fix A Shallow Latch
Following are a few expert tips for mothers who are willing to gain knowledge on how to fix a shallow latch.
1. BreastFeed Before Baby Becomes Frantic
The first and foremost tip to avoid shallow latching is to feed the baby at the first sign of hunger. The calmer the baby, the more favorable it will be to nurse them. Frantic nursing will result in irritated nipples that can lead to a painful experience for the mothers. The early signs of hunger in babies include:
- Smacking of lips
- Turning the head from side to side, which is called rooting
- Putting a hand to the mouth
You should nurse a newborn as soon as they wake up from their naps. Experts advise making a skin-to-skin connection with the baby. Remove your baby’s clothes except for the diaper and lay him/her on your chest. Make sure you cover them with a blanket to save them from cold. The moment they become hungry, they will root and start feeding on their own.
2. Finding A Good Position
Finding a good position for both mother and the infant is essential to breastfeeding. One of the most recommended techniques is the “laid-back“ technique. Under this position, the mother should recline with their head propped up and both breasts exposed. Now, place the baby face-down on the mother’s stomach. Once the baby is hungry and starts rooting, support their neck and guide the baby’s head toward the mother’s nipple as they open their mouth.
Another popular technique is the cradle hold. In this position, the mother should support the baby with an arm on the same side as the breast while feeding the baby. The mother should ensure that their baby’s stomach is up against theirs and is not turned towards the ceiling.
3. Opting For The “Sandwich” Technique
This is one of the most recommended methods to fix the shallow latch. In this method, mothers should use their free hands to squeeze their breasts gently. The mother’s hand should resemble a “U” shape. Doing this ensures that the areola is pushed forward. This position is sometimes referred to as “C hold” or “V hold.” Now, tickle the baby’s mouth with the mother’s nipple to let them feel the sensation and open their mouth wide. Once they open their mouth, bring the baby toward the mother’s breast. This gives the nursing mothers better control over the latch of the baby.
This technique is called the “Sandwich” Technique because one has to squeeze the sandwich to fit in the mouth and then eat it with the lower jaw, similar to how the baby takes the breast. Please note that it is essential to squeeze the mother’s breast in the direction of the baby’s mouth.
4. Observing The Baby’s Mouth
Remember that a baby who latches deeply should resemble a fish’s mouth. Its lips should be wide open, parted clearly, and rounded cheeks. The baby should have both the nipples and areola in their mouths. Whereas in the case of a shallow latch, the baby’s lips are inward and very close to each other. When the baby latches shallowly, they tend to make a clicking or a smacking noise.
5. Realigning The Aim
Ensuring that the baby’s latch is from the “nose to nipple” is essential. Moreover, their nose must be direct across the nipple when the baby is ready to latch. Most of the time, the mothers will start with the alignment of the baby’s mouth directly across from the nipple. This allows the baby to have a better position to latch on to the mother’s breast.
A medical condition termed tongue-tie can interfere with an infant’s ability to nurse in a few cases. Mothers can take professional help to treat this condition. The babies have to grow into the mom’s nipples in many cases. It is advisable that if the mothers cannot breastfeed, they can always use a pump and feed their babies until they latch correctly.
Have you been facing the same problem lately? Tell us whether the list of methods we compiled for you helped you or not in the comments below.