Top 6 Solutions for a Baby Who Refuses to Breastfeed

Breastfeeding not only provides food and necessary nutrition to the baby but also helps in creating a strong bond between the mother and the baby. Sometimes it gets harder for the baby to breastfeed or the baby totally refuses the breastfeeding. This is a very distressful time for the mother as it affects the mother not only physically but also emotionally.

To help the breastfeeding mothers, we have enlisted top 6 solutions and steps to follow if they face this predicament:

1. Feeding Schedule:

If you are trying to feed your baby according to a schedule, then you will have problems nursing your baby especially if the baby tends to be fussy while breastfeeding. The best way to feed your baby is to nurse him/ her when he/she is hungry. When the baby is hungry he/ she will give you feeding cues which will help you determine when to feed the baby. Some babies get fussy while feeding in the daytime while feeding peacefully to their full at night. You have to patiently learn the pattern how your baby tends to feed and adjust your schedule according to that instead of trying to feed the baby according to your schedule.

2. Engorgement and Milk Flow:

Sometimes the breasts get engorged due to the extra flow of milk or blood flow. Due to this reason, it gets difficult for the baby to latch on to the breast for feeding. This problem usually goes away when your breasts will adjust to your baby’s feeding cycle. If the breasts remain persistently engorged and have inflammation, then you should try expressing. It will help you relieve the pain, maintains the supply of milk and reduces any risk of blocked duct or mastitis. If this does not help then you can use the reverse pressure softening technique in which you can press against the tissue in a circle around the nipple. This will leave an indented are where the baby can latch on to and breast feed easily.

3. Skin-to-Skin Contact

The babies who refuse to breastfeed and are fussy about it can be helped a lot by skin-to-skin contact. It takes a lot of patience and time to make your baby get used to the idea of feeding through the breast for nurturing. The skin-to-skin contact will also help the baby to find the best position for feeding and the baby will fall into a comfortable habit of feeding on the breast. Further, it will help to reduce distractions while breastfeeding. You can breastfeed our baby in a peaceful, quiet room with a low light setting or warm water bath tub. Giving a toy to the bay can also help in curbing the distractions.

4. Stimulate the Sucking Muscles

Sometimes your baby needs some face stimulation like stroking your baby’s face gently but firmly. The stimulation can be done in the following patterns:

  • Stroke the cheek in a line running from the center of the ear to the corner of the mouth.
  • Stroke the skin above the upper lip, moving from the centre of the lip to the corner of the mouth (repeat on both sides).
  • Stroke the lower lip from left to right and from right to left.
  • Place a finger under baby’s chin and gently massage in small circles – this stimulates baby’s tongue from below.
  • Use your finger to tap baby’s lips. If baby opens his mouth and roots for your finger, allow him to suck on it for a bit (with the pad of your finger on his tongue and the nail at the palate). Once baby is sucking rhythmically, try to slip the finger out of his mouth and the nipple in.

5. Interference of Other Foods

Babies also tend to stop breastfeeding when they are also fed by bottles. Or when they are older, other baby foods are added to their diet so they don’t feel hungry enough to work hard for breastfeeding. In this case you should reduce the amount of other foods that you have incorporated in baby’s diet. Plus you can hold your baby in the similar position while breastfeeding as you did while feeding with bottle. This will help baby to easily fall back into the habit of breastfeeding. The key is as much skin-to-skin contact as possible.

6. Health Issues in Mother and Baby

There are certain medical conditions which make it difficult to breastfeed the baby. In these conditions you need to see a doctor who will give you medication for the problem or provide an alternative for breastfeeding:

  • Insufficient glandular tissue is a problem in which mother does not have enough milk making ducts.
  • Thrush is an overgrowth of organisms called Candida albicans which causes pain or itching in nipple of mother and white patches inside baby’s mouth
  • Hormonal or endocrine problems
  • Suckling difficulty due to having a tongue-tie in babies
  • Previous breast surgery
  • Using birth control or certain medications and herbs

Breastfeeding issues can be solved with a lot of patience, spending time with the baby and making him/her comfortable. When a child cannot or refuses to breastfeed using a breast pump can be a viable solution.

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