Breastfeeding technique

A good latch is essential if breastfeeding is to be successful. You will then avoid painful and sore nipples and your baby will get the milk he or she needs.

How can I help the baby latch on?

How can I help baby latch on?

Hold your baby close at breast height, with baby’s nose in contact with your nipple. This ensures that baby has to open wide to get plenty of breast into her mouth, while her head is tilted backwards slightly. That way, the nipple will more easily reach the roof of baby’s mouth. This triggers the sucking reflex so baby latches on and creates a vacuum. If you have problems getting your baby latched on, try moulding your breast to make it easier for baby to open wide around the nipple. Cup your breast behind the darker area around the nipple (the areola). Mould your breast according to the nursing position you are using.

How do I know if my baby has latched on correctly?

How do I know if my baby has latched on correctly?

Your baby has a good latch if you are not in pain and baby is swallowing milk. Your baby should be able to get a good latch if he is resting against you, correctly positioned relative to your breast, with his mouth wide open and full of breast tissue. Baby's head should be tilted backwards slightly, so that his nose is clear of your breast. His chin should be planted deeply against your breast. You can see and hear that your little one is swallowing milk; the sound may be quiet, and the swallows/gulps barely-there. It may take a little practice to be able to tell. Your nipple should be round after a feed. If it is lipstick-shaped or flat, this may indicate that baby may not have had a full mouthful of your breast. A good latch prevents sore nipples.

How do I shape my breast so my baby gets a good latch?

How do I shape my breast so baby gets a good latch?

To get a good latch, your baby must have plenty of breast tissue in her mouth. If this is difficult, because your breast is engorged (hard and swollen), you can try moulding your breast to shape. To do this, cup your breast a little bit in from the nipple and squeeze gently. Your fingers should not get in the way of baby’s open mouth. The shape of your breast needs to fit baby's mouth, to make it easier for her to open wide around it. Shape your breast according to the position you are breastfeeding in. If lying on your side, hold the side of your breast. In other positions, you should either hold your breast from underneath, e.g. in the cross-cradle or clutch position, or from above, e.g. in the cradle position. You can also try holding your breast at an angle to match the angle of baby’s mouth.

What if the baby doesn´t open her mouth wide enough?

What if baby doesn´t open her mouth wide enough?

What if baby doesn´t open her mouth wide enough?

Opening wide is important for a good latch. If baby’s mouth isn’t open wide, check the following: 1. Is baby positioned right to encourage opening her mouth wide? This means that your nipple and baby’s nose are touching. Then baby has to open wide to latch onto your breast. 2. Does baby have enough time to open wide? Baby prepares to suckle by nodding and turning her head (rooting) and by licking and tasting the breast. This triggers the reflex that makes baby open her mouth wide. To stimulate a large, yawn-like gape, you can stroke your nipple from baby’s upper lip to nose. Try laid-back breastfeeding, which helps release baby´s many feeding reflexes.

How can I stimulate the let-down reflex?

How can I stimulate the let-down reflex?

How can I stimulate the let-down reflex?

The let-down reflex is what causes breastmilk to flow. The let-down reflex usually starts a few minutes after baby has started suckling. Let-down is triggered several times during a feed. You may feel tingling or stinging in your breasts for a few minutes. The let-down reflex is controlled by the hormone oxytocin. The level of oxytocin increases when your breast is touched or when baby suckles. If you feel tense, the let-down reflex may be delayed or inhibited. To trigger the let-down reflex before putting baby to your breast, you can gently stroke or massage your breast, rolling the nipple between your fingers, or express some milk manually. Holding baby close, ideally skin-to-skin, may also help.

Sundhedsstyrelsen. Amning – en håndbog for sundhedspersonale. [Internett]. København: Sundhedsstyrelsen; 2018 [hentet 2020-04-06]. Tilgjengelig fra: https://www.sst.dk/-/media/Udgivelser/2018/Amning-h%C3%A5ndbog-for-sundhedspersonale.ashx?la=da&hash=EC99FE8977F85310B8E3C70A534921EAA6E0C113

Content provided by The Norwegian Directorate of Health

The Norwegian Directorate of Health. Breastfeeding technique. [Internet]. Oslo: The Norwegian Directorate of Health; updated Tuesday, April 6, 2021 [retrieved Sunday, June 16, 2024]. Available from: https://www.helsenorge.no/en/spedbarn/infant-food-and-breastfeeding/breastfeeding-technique/

Last updated Tuesday, April 6, 2021