Breastfeeding and breast refusal

Breast refusal can be a common problem. Especially if your newborn has had some bottle or uses a pacifier a lot. Your baby may seem confused and even refuse the breast. Sometimes babies have difficulty latching-on if your nipples are soft and flat.

When baby decides he or she doesn't want to get on the breast, try these tips to stoke some interest.

Skin to skin holding

Try this several times each day for an hour or two. Not only is skin-to-skin contact great for promoting breastfeeding, it helps enhance your baby’s nervous system and is fun to do.

Laid-back breastfeeding

If your baby needs more assistance, try laying back for the feeding. Babies seem to feed better when their tummy is in full contact with the mom.

All you have to do is lean back, find a comfortable position and lay the baby near the breast. When he is ready he will find the breast with little help from you.

Give him or her a taste

Express a few drops on milk on your nipple or drip some milk over your nipple for your baby to taste.

Stroke your baby’s lips with your nipple (from nose towards chin) until his mouth opens wide and pull him quickly onto the breast. Encourage your baby softly and calmly.

Sandwich hold

If your nipple is difficult to grasp, roll it gently between your fingers to make it stand out. Make your breast into a “nipple sandwich” by gently compressing behind the edge of the areola.

Keep your thumb in line with your baby’s nose and your fingers on the opposite side.

Temporary feeding measures

Sometimes lactation consultants recommend additional feedings given in a way that will not compromise breastfeeding, in addition to trying at the breast.

It is best not to persist beyond about 10 minutes if your baby is resisting. You want the breast to be a pleasant place for your baby to be, not a battle ground. Get advice on alternative feeding methods.

Persistence and patience will remedy this situation. Don’t confuse your baby with bottle nipples or pacifiers at this time. After breastfeeding is going well, they can be used.

If using these hints doesn’t help resolve these problems, make an appointment to see a Lactation Consultant.

While you are working on transitioning the baby to the breast, be sure to use a hospital grade breast pump at least 8 times per day to maintain your milk supply. Returning the baby to the breast is always easier if there is an abundant flow of milk available.