Breastfeeding your baby is said to be one of the easiest ways for a mother and child to bond. But that is not always the case. If your baby is not latching or merely suckles a few moments, then pulls back unsatisfied; this can be a very stressful moment for a mother. Your first instinct is to assume your baby is not satisfied with the taste of your breast milk, but that is not always true. Many factors can contribute to a baby, not feeding correctly. Positively coaxing your baby back to breastfeeding is essential, and below are a few tools to help you along in the process.
Is Baby Truly Rejecting Milk?
Within the first few months, babies learn to latch and suckle much quicker than the first few tries. If your baby took upwards of half an hour due to trouble latching and now finishes feeding in less than twenty, it may be a bit startling. That does not mean the baby isn’t getting enough food, or the baby doesn’t like breast milk. It just means the baby has become a master at feeding. If your breasts are not becoming engorged even with feeding baby and baby is gaining weight the way they should, there’s no need to worry. Be proud your little one has mastered the art of breastfeeding.
Change Your Diet.
Was your baby once a great feeder, and now, after a few months, they don’t seem interested? Or do they latch, suckle for a few moments, then pull away upset or disinterested? Diet plays a big part in the taste of your breast milk. Eating extremely flavored foods that differ from the norm could be a shock for the baby in the taste department. While different flavors are good for babies to experience young, some may become too strong for babies to like. Try changing up your diet and staying away from spicy or super garlicky foods to see if it helps.
More Skin To Skin.
When breastfeeding becomes stressful due to nipple rejection, it can become extremely frustrating for the mother, thus creating a negative experience for the baby during feedings. Keeping a positive atmosphere will help the baby relax and know that breastfeeding is a fun and loving experience despite the challenge. Add more skin to skin contact throughout your day. Have baby lay on your bare chest during nap time to remind baby it’s a comfy and comforting place to be if you have a sling put the baby in while you’re going about the house with your breasts out, giving baby access to latch whenever.
For the first few months, the baby is getting used to the outside world. By three to six months, the baby will start to notice things around them. Colorful objects, sounds, and environmental changes like an older sibling being home or the television being on. Try feeding baby in a quiet, dim room away from noises and distracting lights or on the flip side give the baby a small toy or colorful necklace to hold. This can encourage more extended feeding if the baby has their object of desire in hand to stare at rather than pulling off the nipple to look.
It sounds silly, but nipple confusion is a very real and very frustrating thing that can happen. Working parents may not always be there to breastfeed, and bottles suffice while mom is at work or out.
But this can be fixed and reversed with some dedication. When a baby drinks from their bottle, the milk flow is faster, and the position is different. More skin to skin will encourage the natural latching of the nipple more often. Holding baby the way they are bottle-fed can also help and expressing milk quicker for baby while they’re latched by pressing on your breast gently.
Other Scent And Hormone Factors.
Most women do not know that resuming your period can change the taste of your breast milk. Talk to your doctor about what you can do to help your baby return to breastfeeding if your period is the key factor in what is altering the taste for your baby.
Changing soaps is another odd but common way to throw off baby from your breast milk. Babies identify their mother from the smell in the first few hours, and a change in scent after consistency for months can make them unsure of feeding. Try changing back and see if that makes a difference.
Pumping and storing works for most women, but some may have a higher level of lipase, which is a natural enzyme, but it will make milk spoil or smell odd after a few hours. All babies are different, and some may be turned off by this, while others aren’t bothered. See if there is a difference in feeding by latching versus feeding on stored or pumped milk.
Cutting teeth hurt! Some babies cut teeth by five or six months while others don’t pop one until a year. Even if you can’t see it breaking through the gums, yet babies won’t want to feed when they’re teething due to the pain and pressure. If the baby was feeding happily until a few days ago and seems fussier than usual, try giving a baby something cold. Chances are baby is going to pop the first tooth soon then return to their regular feeding schedule.
In the first six months of life, breast milk is all a baby needs to get a good, healthy meal and is the main source of nutrition for the first year. Trying too many solid food or table foods can be a reason the baby doesn’t want to feed. Their tummies are tiny and get full quickly. Trying solid foods is good, but don’t overdo it. If your baby likes their applesauce, just reduce the amount and make breastfeeding their main source of meals. Applesauce can be a little dessert after.
Breastfeeding is an important factor for both baby and mother. It comes easily to some and can be a challenge for others. It is extremely rare for your baby not to like breast milk and is most likely other factors that are making feedings complicated. Don’t despair, and remember you’re not alone. Trying different methods with a positive attitude will help feedings become a lovely time of bonding for you and baby