My Baby Won’t Unlatch

As you begin nursing your newborn, you will find that breastfeeding has its own set of problems that you may encounter. For new mothers, this can be somewhat overwhelming and sometimes even discouraging to them.

Encountering issues with breastfeeding will sometimes make new mothers give up on breastfeeding their newborns. Ending the breastfeeding early can be disadvantageous for both the baby and the new mother.

It seems easy enough

The easiest way to breastfeed a baby is to cradle the baby in your arms, then take out your breast and let the baby find your nipple to latch on. Doing something relaxing before nursing can also lessen the chance of the baby latching on too tightly.

Always make sure you feel safe and calm when breastfeeding. Being relaxed helps to allow the mother’s breastmilk to flow more freely, so less sucking by the baby is needed.

The sucking from the baby is what stimulates the nipple and causes the breast to produce more milk while at the same time, the baby uses its tongue for pressure against the nipple to release the milk.

Sometimes the baby won’t take the breast nipple or has a problem with latching on. Other times the baby won’t unlatch from the nipple. When the newborn doesn’t unlatch from the nipple, it can be a quite painful experience, especially for new mothers who have never breastfed before.

Why am I having trouble with having my baby unlatching?

One of the main reasons that the latching on and off can become problematic is due to what is called ‘nipple confusion.’ This can happen when the mother has supplemented bottle feeding with her breastfeeding.

It is often advised to refrain from using anything other than the breast when starting to breastfeed your newborn. There are times, though, when breastfeeding is not an option, and a bottle must be used.

When a bottle is used in conjunction with nursing, it can cause the newborn difficulty in determining how to latch and unlatch to each type of nipple.

Sometimes it is not nipple confusion, and instead, it’s a very eager and hungry baby at the end of the breast. Once the infant has had its fill, the sucking will lessen, and your nipple will be released.

It’s all in the nipple

Bottle nipples have come a long way from their first construction and allow for an easier transition for the newborn to go from the mother’s nipple to a nursing nipple for a bottle. These nipples are created to function like and take the same form as a mother’s nipple would.

Even though they are similar in form, the way a baby feeds from them isn’t the same, causing latching and unlatching problems.

Nipples do matter

When bottle-feeding, there isn’t latching onto the bottle’s nipple, only repeated sucking that so when nursing after bottle feeding, you may experience a difference in how your baby is feeding.

When latching on too tightly or not releasing, the baby uses different sucking as it would a bottle.

This type of sucking can cause a tight seal of the baby’s mouth onto the nipple. Having too much suction while nursing can be painful.

When this happens, the easiest thing to do is press down on your breast right next to the baby’s cheek.

Now at the same time, pull the nipple back from the baby’s mouth. By doing this, you release the baby’s seal and can comfortably move your breast as needed.

If all else fails, try these methods

There are other ways to get a baby to unlatch, but you want to be careful not to hurt yourself or the baby. Tapping the hollows of the baby’s cheek while it is sucking can also aid in having your nipple released.

There are other ways like letting gravity do most of the work. Start by sitting up taller and holding the baby down from you. You will notice a tugging feeling on your breast but gradually lower the baby until you have broken the seal.

The baby will tire of sucking so hard as you lower it and pull back at the same time that it will release the nipple. It is not recommended to do this method with sore breasts, though it can be painful if the breasts are too full.

What not to do

Don’t abruptly move the baby or yourself. Doing so could injure the soft tissue in your breast and make it uncomfortable and difficult to breastfeed in the future.

Do not pinch the baby’s nose to have the child release the nipple. It is startling to the infant and can cause it to choke and create fear and anxiety toward other feedings.

The other thing that you can do is just let time run its course. Nursing babies often fall asleep doing so. When that happens, it is usually a lot easier to remove the baby from your breast.

In need of more support?

There are also support groups that you can attend for more information about breastfeeding, some of them you can even find online.

When gathering information though, don’t be afraid to try different methods until you find one that works for you and the baby.

What worked for one mother you may find does not work the same for you. Breastfeeding should be as comfortable as it can be for both the mother and the baby.

Why you should breastfeed

Breastfeeding is a very important part of the bonding and development of your baby. By breastfeeding, you are also providing your newborn’s first immune system.

It is also beneficial to mention the fact that breastfeeding is great for getting back that pre-pregnancy figure. While it might seem a little tricky at first, breastfeeding is a treasured experience that you and your baby both benefit from.