how to avoid nipple confusion in newborn

Does Your Baby Have Nipple Confusion? The Reasons, and Solution

Breastfeeding is a special moment both for you and the little one in your arms. It is through breastfeeding that you develop an intimate connection between you and your baby. Sometimes, a new mom including you would also want to strike a balance between breastfeeding and bottle-feeding. Well! While making your above-mentioned dream a reality you might have to face few challenges. For example – your baby might suddenly refuse to breastfeed or your newborn might have nipple confusion.

Read on to find out what is nipple confusion and how it occurs.

What Is The Meaning of Nipple Confusion? 

You’ll notice your little one will learn to suck differently on different types of feeding nipples. However, when you give your little one an artificial nipple in the form of feeding bottles and pacifiers, after breastfeeding, nipple confusion or nipple preference occurs in your baby.

What Causes Nipple Confusion?

By now you know that when your baby is confused about shifting to bottle feeding after breastfeeding nipple confusion occurs in your baby. However, there are several other reasons for nipple confusion. They are as follows:

The Milk Supply From The Bottle Is Continuous

The bottle nipples are different in shape from breastfeeding nipples. In fact, the milk supply from the bottle is continuous. In this case, your little one wouldn’t need to work hard to get the milk. Therefore, after the introduction of the pacifier or bottle, your little one will find it difficult to latch on to your breasts.

The Baby Does Not Know The Breastfeeding Technique

According to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, to properly latch on your breasts, your little one needs to open his or her mouth properly so that your nipple and the areola tissue goes deep inside your baby’s mouth. To draw milk from the areola, the baby’s gums compress the areola and their tongue moves rhythmically from front to back. Moreover, while breastfeeding, your baby controls the flow of the milk by creating suction to swallow and breathe in between.  Well! If in case, your little one is reluctant to breastfeed and gives the teats of the bottle more preference, that means the baby, does not know the breastfeeding technique.

Your little one would also find it difficult to understand why the milk supply is different and refuse to breastfeed while moving to bottle-feeding after breastfeeding.

There are many babies, who do not have any problem accepting this shift between artificial nipples and breasts. However, premature babies are more likely to be undergoing this condition.  

What Are The Signs Of Nipple Confusion?

Due to your little one’s difficulty to keep up with the milk supply from your breasts, refusing to latch on to your breasts may be one of the earliest nipple confusion signs.

Well! There are also other signs of nipple confusion. They are as follows: 

  • You little one is struggling to latch on to your breasts
  • Your baby is crying during the feeding sessions 
  • Your little one might change the pattern of sucking while breastfeeding. 

Also, as a breastfeeding mummy you might experience symptoms like:

  • Breast engorgement (breasts are filled with too much milk. They are swollen, warm, and tender, thus making it difficult for your baby to suck on to your breasts)
  • When you have nipple problems like sore nipples 
  • Less milk production

Although you should not confuse the above-mentioned nipple problems with nipple confusion, however, getting rid of these problems, you can get rid of nipple confusion also.  

However, there are other ways to treat nipple confusion in your baby.  

What Can You Do To Treat Nipple Confusion In Your Baby?

Since the confusion has already been created, you need to be patient with your little one and allow him or her the time to get back to breastfeeding. You can also use these tips to help your baby:

Cuddle Your Little One As Much As Possible

In this way, you can be close to your little one and give him or her skin-to-skin contact for as long as possible. This will make your baby feel relaxed and safe.

Focus On Breastfeeding Technique

Ensure that you take the correct breastfeeding position and your little one has a good latch. That means your child should open his or her mouth to suck on your breasts. 

Learn Your Little One’s Hunger Cues and Feed Proactively

  • Understand when your baby is hungry
  • His or her head-turning looking for your breast
  • Your little one is sucking his or her hands 
  • Your baby opens and closes the mouth

So, nurse him or her before he or she’s upset with hunger. 

Try Pumping Your Milk

Before feeding your little one, keep your milk pumped a little. You can even drop some milk in your little one’s mouth. This will keep the baby encouraged.

Try a Nipple Shield For Your Newborn

Nipple shields, which are pieces of silicone that are placed over your nipple, may coax babies who have developed a preference for artificial nipples to nurse.

Consult Your Lactation Specialist

He or she might give you suggestions, on the treatment for nipple confusion.

Is There a Way You Could Prevent or Avoid Nipple Confusion in Your Babies?

Yes! You need to wait to offer a feeding bottle to your little one till such time that he or she establishes the breastfeeding techniques. In fact, researchers from American Academy of Paediatrics suggest you not give your baby a bottle or pacifier till he or she is 4 weeks old.  In lieu of a bottle, you might consider using a cup or supplemental nursing system.

Well! There is no one-size-fits-all solution to bottle-feeding or breastfeeding. You can enjoy both flexibility bottle and breastfeeding by spacing out feedings, and finding out a formula that your baby loves both the bottle as well as breast milk.

You might also interest