How To Help Your Baby Latch On

Help your baby latch on appropriately and breastfeed comfortably.

Mothers generally breastfeed their babies 8-12 times a day, for 10-30 minutes each time. This means that it is important for the mother to be able to feel relaxed in a stress-free environment so that she can continue to breastfeed.

Holding your baby appropriately (positioning) and helping your baby suck on the nipple (latch on) are very important for smooth breastfeeding. Appropriate positioning and latching on will help prevent various problems and reduce risks, will help the baby drink breastmilk effectively and will reduce stress on the mother's breasts. Here we will introduce specific tips for breastfeeding.

How to help your baby latch on to your nipple

"Latch-on" means the way the baby attaches to the nipple and breast for the purpose of breastfeeding. Proper positioning is key for effective latch on so that the baby can get enough breastmilk.

First take a look at how the baby latches on to mother's breast and how the baby is breastfed.

When being breastfed, a baby moves mouth and tongue in a different way from that of an adult when drinking something through a straw. It is called "peristaltic movement", and derives from innate sucking reflex movements. 
A newborn baby also has a round dent in the center of the upper jaw, called the "sucking fossa." This dent appears during the specific period of time when the baby is breastfeeding; the nipple is held between the dent and the thick fat layer inside the cheek. The sucking fossa disappears by itself when the baby is done with breastfeeding. In other words, the mouth and tongue of a human baby is innately and elaborately developed for the purpose of breastfeeding.

The peristaltic movement causes negative pressure, which pulls the breastmilk out through the nipple.
The tongue moves in a wave-like motion (peristaltic movement) that passes from the tip of the tongue to the root of the tongue in about 0.7 seconds.


The Sucking Reflex of The Newborn Infant

Pigeon was the first in the world to explain the mechanics of this special muscle contraction in infants, using an intra-oral camera.This video "The Sucking Reflex of The Newborn Infant" was created in 1988 by professor Kazuko Eishima using this intra-oral camera, revealed movement of sucking reflex by video taping inside the mouth while the babies are actually sucking.

 

Help your baby latch on properly to take full advantage of this peristaltic movement that the baby is born with.

Position the baby so that the baby's nose faces the nipple. The baby's lower jaw should be touching the bottom of the areola.

Touch the baby's lips with a nipple or areola to stimulate the searching reflex. Wait until the baby opens the mouth, and move the baby closer to the nipple.

The part of the areola next to the baby's lower jaw enters the baby's mouth first. Check to see if the baby has firmly latched on to the nipple.

Your baby will usually leave the nipple when he or she has had enough milk, but sometimes not. If that happens, slide your finger into the side of the baby's mouth to break the seal and stop the baby from sucking.