How to overcome breast refusal

Nov 20, 2022

If your baby once fed well from the breast but now seems to refuse it, you are not alone. Many mothers and babies go through a phase of breast refusal. There are several possible reasons for this and there are things you can do to overcome it.

 

How to overcome breast refusal

 

It can be difficult to overcome breast refusal, but it is important to understand the causes of the problem before trying to solve it. There are many possible causes of breast refusal, including pain, illness, teething, and a fear of the breast. Once you understand the cause of the problem, you can begin to work on overcoming it.

 

Pain

 


One common reason why babies initially refuse the breast is because they associate it with pain. This can be due to various causes, such as:

• Teething – When babies are teething, they may not want to breastfeed because it hurts their gums. You can try using a teething ring or pain reliever to help ease their discomfort.

• Oral thrush – This is a yeast infection in the mouth that can cause soreness and irritation. Your baby may not want to breastfeed because it hurts. Your doctor can prescribe medication to treat this condition.

• Sore nipples – If your nipples are cracked or bleeding, it can be painful for your baby to nurse. Try using a Lansinoh nipple cream to soothe your nipples and make nursing more comfortable.

If pain is the reason why your baby is refusing the breast, there are ways to overcome this obstacle. Talk to your doctor about what you can do to help ease your baby’s discomfort and make breastfeeding more enjoyable for both of you.

 

Overstimulation

 


One possible cause of breast refusal is overstimulation. This can happen if baby is allowed to nurse for long periods of time or if baby is younger than 4-6 weeks old and still learning how to breastfeed. When a baby is overstimulated, they may start to suck erratically, pull off the breast, cry, and become fussy. If you think your baby is overstimulated, try burping them and/or taking them off the breast for a few minutes to calm down. You can also try nursing in a calm and quiet environment.

 

Poor latch

 


One of the most common causes of breast refusal is a poor latch. If your baby isn't latching on properly, it can be painful for you and may make your baby unwilling to try again.

To ensure a good latch, watch a lactation consultant or breastfeeding counselor demonstrate proper technique, and ask them to check your baby's latch before each feeding.

In addition, make sure you're positioned comfortably with plenty of pillows to support your back and arms, and use a nursing cushion if necessary. Hold your baby close to you so that their chest is in line with yours, and tilt their chin down so that their nose is level with your nipple. Allow your baby to open their mouth wide before guiding them onto your breast.

Once they're latched on, make sure you can see their tongue beneath the nipple, and that their lips are flanged out like a trumpet – if they're not, gently insert your finger between their gums to break the suction and try again.

 

Medical conditions

 

There are a few medical conditions that can cause a baby to refuse the breast. These include:

-Anemia: Anemia can make a baby feel too tired to breastfeed.

-GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease): This condition can cause pain and discomfort when your baby tries to nurse.

-Celiac disease: This is a condition that affects the ability to digest gluten, which is found in some breastmilk.

-Allergies: Some babies may be allergic to something in their mother's milk, such as cow's milk protein or soy.

 

Signs that your baby is breast refusal

 

It can be difficult to determine if your baby is truly breast refused or just going through a phase. Sometimes, baby may latch and nurse for a short time before pulling off and crying. Other times, baby may latch and seem to be nursing well, but then fall asleep after a few minutes and not wake up to eat again for several hours. If you are concerned that your baby may be breast refused, here are some signs to look for.

 

Crying

 


One of the most common signs of breast refusal is crying. Your baby may cry when you try to offer the breast, or may cry after nursing for a short time and then pull off the breast. This can be frustrating, but it's important to remember that your baby is not doing this to spite you. Crying is often a sign that your baby is uncomfortable, frustrated, or overstimulated. If you think your baby might be crying because they're upset, try to soothe them before offering the breast. You can also try nursing in a quiet place where your baby can focus on breastfeeding and nothing else.

 

Turning away from the breast

 


One of the most common signs that your baby is breast refusal is when they turn away from the breast. You may notice that your baby turns their head to the side or pushes away from the breast when you try to offer it to them. This can be a sign that your baby is starting toindependence and learning to explore the world around them.

Another common sign of breast refusal is when your baby arches their back away from the breast. You may notice that your baby's whole body stiffens up and they push away from you when you try to offer them the breast. This can be a sign that your baby is uncomfortable or in pain. It can also be a sign that your baby is feeling overwhelmed and needs some space.

If you notice either of these signs, it's important to take a step back and assess the situation. If you think that your baby might be in pain, it's important to see a doctor or lactation consultant to rule out any medical causes. If you think that your baby just needs some space, try offering them a toy or distract them with something else for a few minutes before trying again.

 

Clenching fists

 


One of the first signs that your baby is breast refusal is clenching their fists. This can be a sign that they are tense or overwhelmed. If you notice this, try to relax and offer your baby the breast again. If they still refuse, it may be best to try again later.

Other signs that your baby is breast refusal include turning their head away from the breast, pushing away from the breast, or crying when brought to the breast. If you notice any of these signs, try to relax and offer your baby the breast again. If they still refuse, it may be best to try again later.

 

How to overcome breast refusal

 

It can be confusing and frustrating when your baby refuses to breastfeed. You may feel like you've tried everything, but there are some things that may help. First, it's important to understand that breast refusal is often temporary and can be due to a number of things. Let's take a look at some of the most common reasons for breast refusal and what you can do to overcome it.

 

Try different positions

 


Different positions can help your baby latch on better, and can also help you to feel more comfortable. Try holding your baby in a different position, such as the clutch hold, the cross-cradle hold, or the football hold. You might also want to try leaning back instead of leaning forward, or sitting up higher instead of sitting lower.


 

Use a nipple shield

 



A nipple shield is a thin, silicone nipple that you can wear over your own nipple to help your baby latch on. Nipple shields can help if your baby has a tongue-tie, if you have flat or inverted nipples, or if you are experiencing breast refusal.

To use a nipple shield:

1. Wash your hands and the nipple shield with soap and water.
2. Place the shield over your nipple so that your nipple is in the middle of the hole in the shield.
3. Gently press the shield against your breast to help your baby latch on.
4. Once your baby is latched on, he or she will need to suck more strongly to get milk through the nipple shield. You may want to express some milk into the spoon before offering it to your baby to help him or her get started.
5. When you are finished nursing, remove the shield and wash it with soap and water.

 

Pump or hand express before feedings

 


Before each feeding, try Pumping or Hand Expressing for a few minutes to get your baby accustomed to the breast.

If you have trouble getting your baby to latch on, try using a nipple shield. Watch a video or ask a lactation consultant to show you how to use one.

Don't give up! It can take a few tries before your baby gets the hang of breastfeeding. Be patient and keep trying.

 

Offer the breast when baby is sleepy

 



It can be difficult to overcome breast refusal, but one of the best ways to start is by offering the breast when baby is sleepy. This will help to create a positive association with breastfeeding and may make it more likely that baby will accept the breast. Try to offer the breast during a quiet time when there are no distractions and baby is fed and settled. It may help to undress baby down to their diaper so they are more comfortable. If baby still refuses the breast, try expressing some milk onto your nipple and offering it again. You can also try offering a pacifier dipped in expressed milk.

 

When to seek help

 

If you have tried all of the tips above and your baby is still refusing the breast, it may be time to consult a lactation specialist or your pediatrician. They will be able to help you find the root of the problem and come up with a plan to get your baby back on track.

 

If you're experiencing pain

 


If you're experiencing pain while breastfeeding, it could be due to a poor latch, an infection, or a blockage in your milk ducts. See your doctor to rule out any infections or other issues. If you have a blockage, you may need to express milk manually until it clears.

 

If baby is not gaining weight

 


If you think your baby isn’t gaining enough weight, talk to your baby’s doctor. He or she may want you to supplement with formula or try a different approach. In the meantime, here are some tips that may help:

· Try different positions. Some babies prefer to nurse in the cradle position, while others prefer to sit up or lie down.

· Offer both breasts at each feeding. This ensures that baby gets all the hindmilk, which is higher in calories than foremilk.

· Use skin-to-skin contact. Holding your bare chest against your baby’s bare chest can help him or her latch on and encourage nursing.

· Try using a nipple shield. If your baby has trouble latching onto your breast, a nipple shield can make it easier. Ask your doctor or lactation consultant for help using one properly.

 

If you're feeling frustrated or overwhelmed

 


If you're feeling frustrated or overwhelmed, it's important to seek help from a lactation consultant, a La Leche League leader, or another breastfeeding support person. A professional can help you figure out if there are any problems that need to be addressed and can provide guidance on how to overcome them.

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