It can be very stressful for a mother if her baby is not breastfeeding. There can be multiple reasons behind it and you need not to worry as most of these strikes are shortlived. Sometimes, new born babies are not able to latch properly. There are also babies who are few months old and are not willing to breastfeed due to some other reason. Breastfeeding week is celebrated from 1st to 7th August around the world every year. This year, the theme for breastfeeding week is 'Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility.' Therefore, on the occasion of World Breastfeeding Week 2021, Onlymyhealth editorial team spoke to Dr. Anjana Singh, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Fortis Hospital, Noida, about the reasons why baby might reject breast milk and tips to make it work.
Reasons for baby not latching
There can be various reasons as to why a baby is not breastfeeding. It can be due to some issue with the health of the baby and sometimes babys can just be playful with you but if they are not breastfeeding for more than a day, you need to get it checked with the pediatrician once. You can also check the reasons listed below:
1. Baby has cold and cough
Sometimes, when your baby is suffering from cold and cough, he might feel suffocated while feeding. This causes distraction and the baby is not able to breathe due to blocked nose. You can try cleaning his nose, some nasal drops might also prove to be helpful. You can also express milk and then feed him using a spoon as it allows breathing.
2. Premature baby doesn't put effort
Premature babies are weak and they often need assistance in breathing. They do not have enough strength to suck milk. In this case, you can always use a bottle to feed your baby with breast milk, because they need to grow a little more outside the womb, hence they need more attention while being fed.
3. Baby is not hungry
It can be very much possible that the baby is not hungry at the moment. There is a probability that the child is facing some discomfort or pain like gas and acidity reflux. In this case, you must give your baby some time and try feeding him later. You must allow your child to take the lead while feeding.
4. Oral thrush
Thrush is an infection which usually passes from the nipples of the mother to the baby's mouth. An oral infection in baby's mouth can also cause discomfort and might be a reason of not breastfeeding. You must look for a whitish film on the baby's lips and whitish spots on the tongue and insides of his mouth. If you suspect any such infection, you should consult a practitioner as soon as possible.
5. Milk flow and feeding position
Sometimes, the mother might not be producing enough milk, and the baby needs to suck very hard. In this case, the baby might get tired and stop breastfeeding. You should also check if you have recently started some new medications or perfume. Sometimes, some new soaps or body lotions can also be a reason. You can also check if you are on your periods or if you got pregnant again.
6. Baby is distracted
Babies can be very playful at times. There is a possibility that he might want to play at the moment. Kids can also be distracted by noises, music and even toys. One of the other probable reason could be that he is distracted by pain due to teething or vaccination, which can make him not nurse properly.
Tips to make your baby latch
You must not panic and deal with these situations calmly. You can start from analysing the cause and you can try some of the tips listed below:
1. Change positions
The baby could be uncomfortable due to some or the other pain in the body. Sometimes, they experience ear pain and in this case, you can try to shift the baby from one position to the other so that it should not hurt the baby further.
2. Rock the baby
Babies can be hungry and still playful, so you can try swinging your baby from left to right, so that he becomes a little sleepy and then try latching him. Make sure to keep him alert during the feeding session so that he does not sleeps before his stomach is full.
3. Skin to skin contact
Skin to skin contact is really healthy for both the mother and the child. It helps the child calm down. It is also very helpful psychology and it helps the child to bond with the parent. Sometimes, when the child and mother are parted for some time after the birth, then also the child is not able to breastfeed. Skin to skin contact also increases the baby's interest in feeding.
4. Avoid distractions in the surroundings
This is very important that the child concentrates. He might not feed for long enough to meet the nutritional requirements of the body. You should breastfeed the baby in a silent room with dim lights. You should also avoid loud music and TV to avoid any kind of distraction. If you don't have an option of being alone, you can also try putting a scarf or shawl on the face of the baby and across your shoulder. You should make sure the cloth is breathable and opaque.
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