How to latch


A common struggle that most new moms have is latching. Remember that your baby is learning just as much as you are. It's a common misconception that they are born knowing exactly what to do. While some babies do just get on with it without much hassle, there are a good few who need some help.

La Leche League Leader and registered doula, Vania Truter, always shares these two videos with moms who are struggling to breastfeed:

Disclaimer: These videos contain breasts and nipples and might be considered not safe for work.

Some tips for when you're in the hospital:

As a registered Le Leche Leader, Vania's guidance and advice is free of charge as it's volunteer work. She has a few tips for first time moms who might be struggling in the hospital:

  • The breast crawl is a great way to establish breastfeeding with a newborn baby. Straight after birth a baby is placed on mom’s chest

  • I would say that the baby should go through the 9 instinctive stages without being removed from mom.
  • Most important is uninterrupted skin to skin for at least the first 2 hours. In most cases the baby will latch on his own without assistance.
  • The nurses should not try to help or interfere.
  • Baby should be skin to skin on mom not dad unless there is a real emergency, even when she has had a c- section. There should be zero separation of mom and baby.
  • Try to request an alternative to pethidine as it can make mommy sleepy and drugged.
  • No nipple shields, mom needs to get the right advice so she can latch correctly from the beginning.
  • No bottles or formula and definitely no top ups.
  • Baby should feed on demand and not be on a feeding schedule. A newborn needs to feed between 10 to 12 times in 24 hours.
  • While it may be difficult as a new mom, she should have confidence in her body and know that she can do it. She doesn’t need to express to see how much milk she’s producing as that’s an inaccurate measure.
  • Don’t listen to advice from people who are negative like family or the clinic sister who are not supportive of breastfeeding.
  • Get help when you need it from either a qualified IBCLC lactation consultant or a LLL leader. Join the La Leche League South Africa Facebook group.
  • Try to visit a support group before you have your baby.

Vania Truter is a registered doula with Wombs Doulas. To enquire about her services you can contact her on

Do you have any advice for moms who are struggling to latch? Send us your tips to

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