Talking about breastfeeding, we describe latch and positioning, duration and frequency of feeds. That’s a lot of details. What we’re aiming for is a content mother and baby. When it feels comfortable, those details have probably worked out fine.
Several muscles, bones and nerves co-ordinate for breastfeeding. All infants have instincts to use their muscles and nerves to orient themselves on your chest and find the nipple. If it’s been days or weeks with difficult latching, it’s immensely helpful to return to the basics and let these rooting skills unfurl.
- Make time at the breast comfortable. When babies are crying, they don’t easily coordinate suck, swallow, breathe. Babies can get ‘fed up’ before they’re actually fed. Let your baby suck on your finger. Sucking is calming and this will help them ‘organize’ their facial muscles.
- With your baby resting on your chest, skin-to-skin, patiently watch what your baby does. Guide her with your voice. She’ll open wide when she’s ready.
- Lying securely against your chest, notice how your baby wiggles her head to find the nipple. Sometimes it looks like your baby is fussing, though actually, she’s adjusting her position for a better latch or to get more comfortable.
When you get off to a rough start, step back for a moment. Find one thing that works and build from that. As you overcome an obstacle, you learn more about what works for you and your child. Like learning to play music or ride a bike, it seems complicated at first. Then you’re just doing it without thinking about each step. It feels right.
When feeding your baby, listen to the cues from your baby and your body. Trust your baby and your gut instincts and enjoy your meals together.