Are you struggling to find a comfortable latch? Is your nipple pinched after each feed or shaped like a tube of new lipstick? You may want to try what Lactation Consultants call “baby self attachment”.
These fancy words simply mean: “Get comfortable and allow your baby to latch himself!”
Babies have natural instincts that allow them to find the breast and self attach. These instincts are present right after birth. Some mothers get their most comfortable latch ever using this simple technique. Other moms love it as it takes the pressure off their stitches.
Below is a short video by an Australian IBCLC, The Milk Meg demonstrating how it can work.
Important things to notice about baby self attachment as you watch:
- Self attachment seems to work best when you and baby are in skin to skin contact (Baby in just a diaper against your bare chest). This helps to encourage your baby’s natural feeding instincts and keeps baby calm. An upset baby will have difficulty latching.
- Lay back in a comfortable semi-reclined position. Think about how you would sit if you were relaxing to read a book or watch a movie. Use pillows as needed to make yourself comfortable.
- Support your baby in whatever way feels most natural to you. Try to use your instincts rather than thinking about a special technique.
- Watch how the baby uses his arms and legs to get into position. Baby will show he is hungry by turning his head side to side, putting hands towards his mouth and making sucking motions.
- Baby is able to lift and bob his head, searching for the breast.
- Once baby is latched, you may wonder if he will be able to breathe. The baby will adjust himself to lift his nose away from the breast.
- It is heart melting to see the baby looking straight into his mother’s eyes at the end of the video!
A word of caution
While we have seen self attachment work wonderfully well for many moms and babies, there are a few babies that seem to find this position uncomfortable. It is important to watch YOUR baby and see what works best for the two of you.
Learn other breastfeeding positions to try in the Simply Breastfeeding course.