If you missed part 1 of this article you can find it here: https://myorganicformula.com/blogs/organic-baby-formula/resolving-breastfeeding-issues-part-1
If nursing your baby is not as easy as you thought it would be, there’s no need to worry. With a little practice and patience, breastfeeding can be a memorable experience for both you and your baby. In My Organic Company’s article Resolving Breastfeeding Issues – Part 1, we discussed the importance of a proper latch and avoiding synthetic nipples. In this article, we’re going to address a very common nursing problem – nipple confusion.
What is nipple confusion? Nipple confusion occurs when a baby finds it difficult to latch on and nurse because she’s previously sucked on a bottle or pacifier. Getting milk from mother’s nipple is a lot different than getting milk from a bottle. Bottles usually allow milk to flow faster than the human breast and if your little one hasn’t quite gotten the hang of breastfeeding, the difference can create confusion.
In some cases, babies like the faster flow of milk offered by a synthetic nipple. In cases where a baby likes the faster flow of milk, the issue may not be so much nipple confusion but rather nipple preference. When switching back to breast, your baby may get frustrated at the slower flow of milk.
If your baby seems a little befuddled at the breast or the bottle or both, you’ll find a simple game plan below for handling nipple confusion or as mentioned above, nipple preference.
Bottles don’t always require your baby to use the same techniques needed to feed properly from the breast, which is why you may need to revisit the basics of latching on (see our article Supplementing Breastfeeding with Bottle). Reminding your baby of how cuddly breastfeeding can be by offering skin-to-skin contact may also be helpful too.
You want to make sure your baby isn’t so full from her previous meal, she’s not interested in nursing, but no so hungry she gets frustrated if it doesn’t go as she expected right away. Hungry babies don’t always have the patience to suck hard enough or latch on correctly.
If your baby seems to prefer the bottle or seems confused by the difference of breast and bottle, stop using a bottle and/or pacifier until she seems comfortable with breastfeeding again.
To make it easier for your baby to get milk, manually or mechanically (with a pump) get your milk flowing before latching on your baby.
Make bottle feeding just as special as nursing
Cuddle her, hold her and make the experience of bottle feeding her just as special as when you nurse. If that doesn’t seem to help, try switching up her feeding routine completely. Try a different hold or maybe feed her in a different room. Sometimes, babies like the experience to be completely different.
Experiment with different bottles and nipples
Bottles and nipple brands can vary significantly and sometimes, it takes trying a few to find one your baby likes. Just make sure the flow of the nipple you choose is appropriate for the age of your baby.
Have a family member or friend offer a bottle
If you’re close by, your baby could be frustrated or confused as to why you’re not feeding her from the breast. To ease any frustration or confusion, have a family member or friend offer her a bottle until she gets the hang of it.
Patience is Key
Just remember, it can take time to eliminate nipple confusion or in some cases, nipple preference. But don’t give up trying because before you know it, your baby will have established a breastfeeding routine you are both comfortable with!
For more information about breastfeeding and for nursing support, please visit the La Leche League’s website. If you would like to learn more about supplementing with baby formula, please read Supplementing Breastfeeding with Bottle.