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What Do I Do If My Baby Doesn’t Latch Right Away? 7 Solutions That Work

What Do I Do If My Baby Doesn't Latch Right Away?

What Do I Do If My Baby Doesn’t Latch Right Away?

For quite a number of new mothers, their baby’s inability or refusal to latch is one of the breastfeeding problems they will face, right behind an inadequate supply of breastmilk.

This problem is a lot more common than most people know; research has found that 92% of mothers will experience one breastfeeding problem or the other, with over half of these cases being a latching problem.

Your baby not latching correctly comes with some ‘results’ as you would already have found out. Since newborns feed a lot, about 8-12 feeds daily, her not latching on properly will cause some soreness or bruises on your nipples and even areola.

Related: Why Do Babies Sleep So Much? Here are 3 Reasons Why?

In most cases, the nipple becomes reddened and peels (cracked), which will result in a painful breastfeeding experience for you and more frustration for your baby.

What Do I Do If My Baby Doesn't Latch Right Away?
What Do I Do If My Baby Doesn’t Latch Right Away?

Why Babies Refuse to Latch

Finding a solution to your baby’s latching issue will start from knowing why it is happening in the first place.

There are a few reasons why this happens:

1) She’s not quite comfortable in the position you’re in.

2) She hasn’t quite figured how to latch on.

3) She has a slight problem in her gum that’s causing her difficulty feeding.

4) She’s on a nursing strike. This typically happens if your baby has been feeding okay, but suddenly refuses to.

What Do I Do If My Baby Doesn’t Latch Right Away?

Depending on the reason for the problem, one or more latching solutions should help.

Proper latching occurs when your baby is positioned correctly and takes the entire nipple and some parts of your areola into her mouth.

If she’s finding it hard to do this, you should try the following:

What Do I Do If My Baby Doesn't Latch Right Away?
What Do I Do If My Baby Doesn’t Latch Right Away?

1) Consult a Lactation Consultant

Most mothers usually consult a lactation consultant before they even begin breastfeeding.

You can also do so if you start to experience difficulties, and the lactation expert will guide you on the right breastfeeding techniques to adopt and also help you identify other lactation problems your baby may be experiencing.

Related : 9 Home Safety Tips Every Mother Should Know

2) Make Use of a Nipple Shield

A nipple shield offers a few benefits, some of which are

  • Helping to draw your nipples out so your baby can get a firmer grip.
  • Protecting your nipples if it’s already sore or cracked.

You should use one until your baby masters her latching and can feed without one.

3) Stimulate Your Nipple

If you have flat or inverted nipples, your baby will become frustrated trying to latch on and may start refusing to feed altogether.

You should stimulate your nipples using your thump and fore finger before each feed, so they come out, making it easier for your baby to latch on.

What Do I Do If My Baby Doesn't Latch Right Away?
What Do I Do If My Baby Doesn’t Latch Right Away?

4) Use a Breast Pump

A good breast pump just before a feed will also stimulate inverted nipples for a better feed. These can also be used to express and store breastmilk for when Baby needs it.

5) Get in a Comfortable Position

One of the best and most common breastfeeding positions is the cradle hold. This position sees you supporting your baby at your breast with her head cradled at your elbow and your arms supporting her neck and back.

Your baby is placed chest to chest with you, with her nose and mouth facing your nipple, so she doesn’t have to turn her head to reach your breast.

6) Use a Nipple Healing Cream

If you have sore or cracked nipples that cause you pain when your baby feeds, you can usually use a good salve or balm like Medele or lansinoh to heal the nipple. These beands are safe for babies to ingest so, and won’t interfere with your breastfeeding.

7) Find Out if She Has a Problem with Her Gum

Older babies will refuse to feed if they are teething due to the pain and discomfort it causes.

You can offer them some relief by providing a teething ring to help with the gum itch, carry out a gum massage, or take your baby in for her pediatricto prescribe relief.

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