Sometimes, it can be hard to convince your baby to latch on to your breast. This can be stressful but there are lots of things you can try to make it easier. If you are struggling to get your baby to latch on, first try following our guide on how to breastfeed.
You might find that it helps to hand express some drops of milk onto your nipple so your baby can smell and taste it.
If possible, try breastfeeding as soon as your baby shows any signs of hunger. A very hungry baby may become distressed and this can make latching more difficult.
If your breasts have become very full and hard, it may be hard for your baby to latch. You can try expressing just enough milk to soften your breasts, so you feel more comfortable and to make latching easier for your baby.
Reverse pressure softening may also help if your breasts are very full or engorged.
It might help to spend some time in skin-to-skin contact, with the baby close to your breast and with access to your nipple, but without pressure to latch on and feed. You could try a laid-back position with your baby laid on your tummy/chest, so they can root and seek out the breast themselves.
Sometimes it helps to take a ‘Babymoon’. Sometimes families can have lots of visitors in the first few days and end up being busy making cups of tea and looking after visitors. This can impact on you as a breastfeeding parent, as you don’t have the time to sit and really spend time getting to know your new baby and work together on getting breastfeeding established. This is especially true if you are worried about feeding with people around. You are also less likely to be spending time in skin-to-skin contact with baby if you have lots of visitors around!
Sometimes when you are finding feeding isn’t working that well in the first weeks (or even later on) it could help to spend 24 hours or so just focusing on your little one and on feeding, especially if you have been busy. Some breastfeeding parents head to bed for lots of skin-to-skin and others just ask for no visitors (except those who are willing to look after you so that you can focus yourself and your baby!) This is sometimes called a babymoon.
If you are still having trouble with latching or breastfeeding, speak your midwife, health visitor or a breastfeeding supporter. You can visit a local support group or contact the National Breastfeeding Helpline as well.