In the early days it is better to stay close to home so you can rest when your baby sleeps and so that you have time to get to know each other. This is nature’s way of giving you time to recover from the birth. Periods of skin-to-skin contact are absolutely vital and will actually stimulate you to produce the perfect amount of milk for your baby. If you are rushing around the chances are that you will not produce sufficient milk and its possible that your baby will not thrive.
My baby can’t latch on. What can I do?
Clare Byam-Cook says
This is an extremely common breastfeeding problem and is usually caused by poor technique rather than the baby not opening his mouth wide enough. But if you have large, flat or inverted nipples, latching can be more difficult, even if your baby does open his mouth really wide. I am not a fan of the ‘nose-to-nipple and wait until he opens his mouth wide’ advice (see below) as I think this makes latching much harder. Instead, I recommend that you help your baby by shaping your breast so that it fits better into his mouth –using the same principal of trying to fit a large parcel into a small letter box!
To do this, lay your baby on his side on a pillow so he is level with your breast, with his mouth (not his nose) opposite your nipple. Slide your hand underneath your breast and place the balls of your thumb and second finger level with your nipple and on the outside of your areola at the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock position. Then, gently squeeze your breast until your nipple protrudes and you can fit it more easily into his mouth.
Note: This simple technique which will help most babies latch on is demonstrated on my DVD and described in much greater detail in my books.
Note: The ‘nose to nipple’ theory
I am totally against this advice for the following reasons:
- Many babies don’t know that they must open their mouth really wide and these babies become very agitated and upset if they are made to wait until they do.
- Some babies physically can’t open their mouth wide enough to latch onto a large breast
- Lining your baby up with his nose (rather than his mouth) in front of your nipple makes it much harder for him to latch on
- If he does manage to latch on, he has to pull your nipple away from his nose towards his mouth and this pulling creates sore nipples.
- Bending the nipple slows the milk flow so feeds last longer
- Your breast may empty unevenly and this can cause mastitis