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Baby SOS: How Do I Fix My Baby's Shallow Latch?
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  • If you think your baby has a shallow latch, it is important to correct this as it can impact your milk supply and also prevent him from getting enough breast milk, which contains the essential nutrients he needs to grow healthily. (Click here to learn more about shallow latch.)

    Take note of these tips to help fix a shallow latch.

    Breastfeed right after giving birth

    According to the  Global Health Media Project, breastfeeding your baby in the first hours after delivery helps promote his “instinctual feeding behaviors,” which will help him find your breast and latch deeply. “Many mothers find that continuing this natural position in the early days and weeks makes it easy for their babies to attach deeply.” This will also allow you to give your child colostrum, which can boost his immune system, help him pass his first poop, give him the nutrients he needs, and more.

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    Feed your baby before he starts crying

    Watch out for signs that your baby is hungry — like opening his mouth, turning his head from side to side, and bringing his hand to his mouth — to tell when you need to give him a feeding. “DO NOT wait for the baby to cry — crying is a late hunger cue,” Armi Anastacios-Baticados, a breastfeeding peer counselor from L.A.T.C.H. Los Baños, tells SmartParenting.com.ph. Aside from helping him latch better, this will also lessen stress for both you and your little one.

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    Find the right position

    The way you hold your baby can also help him latch better to your breast. Instead of pushing your nipple into his mouth, lightly touch it to his upper lip. When he opens his mouth very wide, bring him close to you so that he takes a big mouthful of breast and latches deeply.

    The most important thing is to find a position that is both comfortable for you and helpful for your baby to latch well. Laura Coulter, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, tells Milkology that laid-back and side-lying positions and positions which promote skin-to-skin contact, encourage a baby’s innate ability to find his mother’s nipple and latch deeply.

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    Click here to learn about common breastfeeding positions every mom should know.

    Observe your baby during feeding sessions

    Certain factors can help you tell whether your baby has a good latch or not. For instance, you’ll know he’s latched deeply if his mouth is wide open, his chin is pressed into your breast, and his cheeks are rounded. On the other hand, if his mouth is nearly closed, his chin is far from your breast, and his cheeks are sucked in, he likely has a shallow latch.

    It can also help to look at the motion of your baby’s jaw while he’s feeding. Global Health Media Project says that the jaw of a baby who is drinking well drops every time he swallows, while the jaw of a baby with a shallow latch makes a fast and continuous sucking pattern.

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    Practice makes perfect

    Like any other skill, it takes practice to achieve breastfeeding success, especially if your baby has a shallow latch. Baticados says, “Fix shallow latch by breaking the suction (put your clean finger in the corner of baby’s mouth) and try to latch again.”

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    Seek help

    If you have tried the tips above but are still struggling with breastfeeding your baby, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes, those issues might be caused by conditions that need medical attention, like a tongue-tie. “Have baby checked for tongue and/or lip tie and ask your doctor to release the tie if it interferes with breastfeeding,” Baticados recommends.

    Breastfeeding can be tough, but it has many benefits for both you and your child. Click here to learn about these advantages.

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