What to do if my baby cannot latch?

 reasons why your baby cannot latch and what to do if your baby cannot latch

One common problem many new mothers encounter is that her baby does not latch easily or does not latch properly. She will not open her mouth, or will not grasp the breast, or she just takes the nipple in her mouth but does not suck.

 

Why is my baby refusing to breastfeed?

Doctors or lactation consultants are not able to tell the exact cause of this. Possible causes include the following:

1.Medications given to the mother in labour

2.Suctioning at birth

3.Forcing the baby to the breast

4.Holding the baby’s head for latching.

5.Bottle feeding

6.Distraction such as sudden loud noise.

7.Change in mother’s deodorant

8.A health problem such as colds or ear infection.

9.She bit you and got startled by your response.

 

How to encourage my baby to latch again?

Here are some tips that may be able to help you

 

1.Don’t wait until your baby is starving before you breastfeed her. Try to feed her when she is showing you early hunger cues such as opening and closing her mouth, putting her fingers in mouth, trying to position for nursing, putting her fingers in her mouth and rapid eye movements.

 

Crying is a late hunger cue, and if you wait till she is crying, she may be too upset to latch.

 

2.Express some milk before you put your baby on the breast so that the breast milk is already let-down and flowing immediately and she does not have to wait for it.  A drop of breastmilk on the end of your nipple may tempt your baby to feed. It can also help pull the nipple out and make it easier to grasp. Do not wait until your breast tissue becomes swollen as it may become more difficult for your baby to latch on.

 

3.  Try to nurse in a room without any distraction.

 

4.Change your breastfeeding positions; some babies may prefer to be breastfed in a particular position as it makes them more comfortable.

 

5.Give your baby lots of skin-to-skin contact between feeding; this will give her chance to initiate feeding for herself. You can try to nurse her without a bra and undress her down to her diaper.

6.Try offering your breast when your baby is asleep, or very sleepy. If she refuses to latch when she is awake, she may do so when she is sleepy.

 

7.If your baby still refuses to latch or cannot latch on properly, you can consider using a pump first. It can sometimes take a while for babies to begin nursing effectively, and your breasts need adequate stimulation during the early supply building days of milk production. You can use any milk you express to help with your attempts at latch on, and also to help ensure that she is getting enough milk.

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