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Nipple Confusion: What Can You Do?

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I’m sure you mommies have heard if not experienced the nipple confusion issue first hand. After spending time away from you, at a daycare or a nursery, your little ones starts to reject direct breastfeeding. They get used to the easy flowing milk from the bottle and do not have to work as hard to get the milk, leaving you with sleepless nights, breast-pumping as the only option. It is depressing and takes a lot of your energy.

But trust me you are not alone. And we have helped countless mothers overcome this problem.

For this edition of Lactation Counselling, let’s take a look at the cause of Nipple Confusion and what can you do.

What Can You Do?

  1. Number one cause of Nipple Confusion is when the baby tries to apply the same technique from bottle feeding to the mother’s breast. This transition needs to be done correctly and timely. Mommies need to allow the little ones become accustomed to direct feeding (usually after 3 weeks), so that they will develop the technique into something intuitive. Latching requires the babies to open their mouths wide, coordinate the jaw-gum and tongue movement to massage the breast and create a suction motion to the breast. Bottle feeding too early will make it too easy and they will forget how to suckle from a breast.
  2. The general consensus from the Ministry of Health in regards to using bottle to feed the babies is to avoid it entirely. If you are not able to breastfeed, still try your best to avoid using bottle. The recommended alternatives are to spoon feed, using a cup or feeding syringe. If your babies have difficulties transitioning between bottle and breast feeding, try avoiding bottle for a while so the babies will regain the technique.
  3. Try doing skin-to-skin feeding again. Sometimes it is worth that much to go back to square one. Put your babies on your chest with nothing else in between so that you have direct contact. Let the babies take their time familiarizing with your body again. Don’t feed your nipples to the babies forcefully. They will get hungry and their natural instinct to get milk will kick in to “re-learn” the technique. The best time to try this is when they are almost asleep.
  4. Babies can get cranky when the milk isn’t flowing. Don’t let them become too hungry. Retry breastfeeding when they are comfortable. Just before you try, use the breast pumps. Not to fill your containers, but just enough to see the milk is flowing steadily. Once you can see the juice spurting out, introduce the little ones to the breast again. This way, they will not be frustrated as soon as they try again.

Breastfeeding is a monumental challenge for some. But every research have shown it is worth all the hard work. Your babies feel safe, less gassy tummy, and they work all their muscles to get the milk, improving their motor skills at a very young age. Not to mention, the bond between the mommies and the babies is good for their hearts, lungs and overall health.

Nothing else is worth that much and your babies deserve nothing less.

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