How to teach your baby to properly latch onto your breast

When a mom initiates breastfeeding with her newborn, there’s a lot of trial and error involved. An improper or a shallow latch by the baby may cause nipple soreness and excessive air ingestion by your baby. This will usually lead to a frustrated, colicky and gassy baby, which often turns what should be a pleasurable time into a uncomfortable/painful experience for both you and your baby.

You would think that something so natural would just click between you and your baby. Unfortunately it is not that easy. I guess if it were easy there would not be so many websites, books and professionals dedicated to teaching you and your baby how to breastfeed. Yes you need a manual on how to breastfeed!

When you break all the research down it comes to one key component – getting your baby to latch on properly to your breast. The research shows that proper latching is achieved only when your baby’s mouth is wide open at the time he or she takes your breast. “How wide?” you ask. Well the wider the better. Aim for a mouth opening bigger than a silver dollar. Only then will the baby’s lips be far enough away from the nipple and make contact with areola of your breast (the darker part of the breast that surrounds the nipple) to achieve proper latching.

Proper latching will allow your nipple to expand up to 3 times its normal size and fit between the hard and soft palate of your baby’s mouth. This is your nipple’s comfort zone. The resulting perfect latch will allow the upper lip and tongue to form a seal when your baby begins sucking.

BARE’s Perfe-latch nipple, which is very small but expands upon suction, is designed to reinforce this proper latching technique. BARE bottles are designed to mimic a mother’s breast by requiring your baby to open his of her mouth wide to latch onto the areola and thereby attach his or her upper lip and tongue around the soft/flexible areola. By having a bottle simulate a breast there is less chance of nipple confusion when a mom switches between the breast and bottle.

Below is a list of breastfeeding resource websites that I think you will find very helpful.