What is Nipple Confusion?
Introducing a bottle or pacifier could cause your baby to reject the breast, which can lead to problems if you planned on excessively breastfeeding your baby. If your baby refuses the breast, it is possible that your baby is refusing the breast because they prefer an artificial nipple because they don’t have to work as hard to eat. To avoid nipple confusion try to avoid introducing a bottle filled with breast milk or formula until your milk supply is fully established around 6-8 weeks; however, if you have to introduce a bottle to your child try to have someone else feed your baby. Some babies will even refuse a bottle because they prefer the breast.
How Do I Deal with A Nursing Strike?
A nursing strike happens when your baby refuses to nurse for a variety of reasons, including nipple confusion. This happened to me after I returned back to work and I had to use this technique to get my baby to latch onto my breast again. I took off my shirt and bra so that my nipples were exposed. Then I undressed my baby down to his diaper or you can do this after your baby’s bath time routine when your baby is more relaxed. Next, I laid him on my chest giving him skin to skin contact. The skin to skin contact allows your baby to smell the milk and the hormones that your body produces which triggers your baby to want to latch onto the breast again. After, you have laid with your baby skin to skin for a few minutes, offer your baby the breast.
Help, My Baby Won’t Latch on the Breast Anymore!
A baby who prefers a bottle and doesn’t respond to skin to skin contact, might leave a mom with no choice but to provide pumped breast milk or formula to her baby. If your baby refuses to nurse, it might also be a sign of low milk supply and you should seek help to increase your breast milk supply. Contact a lactation consultant for additional help.
My Experience With Introducing a Pacifier at Birth
As a mom, I knew that if I didn’t get my baby to become attached to the pacifier at a early age that it would give them the opportunity to find their thumb. My first daughter found her thumb and ditched her pacifier, I had the hardest time getting to to give up the thumb. In fact, she sucked her thumb until she was 7 or 8 and I tried everything to get her to stop sucking her thumb. So with my two youngest children, I introduced the pacifier to my child in the hospital. I was able to nurse both of my youngest children for over a year. I only had one episode of nipple confusion with my youngest child and the problem didn’t occur until after I returned to work. Once I returned to work, he was getting breast milk from a bottle while we were apart. I felt that it was easier to take away my child’s pacifier when they are older because of the trouble that I had weaning my daughter from sucking her thumb.
Continue offering your baby the breast but if you continue to have problems with nipple confussion, try using a nipple shield. Click on the photo for more information.
Did you baby have problems latching onto the breast?