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What Can I Do If My Baby Isn't Nursing Well?

As a new mom, breastfeeding can seem like one more challenge to overcome in the middle of all the other challenges, like middle-of-the-night feedings, lack of sleep, and just trying to get back to feeling “normal” again. Even though breastfeeding is a “natural” choice, it’s not always an easy routine to nail down. Plenty of moms encounter problems and frustrations — and plenty of babies seem to have some difficulty getting the routine down, too.

Breastfeeding offers babies important health benefits — so much so that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusively breastfeeding your baby for the first six months of life. But what if nursing isn’t as simple as you’d hoped — and maybe your baby is reluctant to nurse? At Pediatric Care of Four Corners, we offer comprehensive newborn care for moms and babies in Davenport, Florida, including breastfeeding assistance during so-called “nursing strikes.” Here’s what to consider if your baby is refusing to nurse.

First, try not to stress

When your baby won’t nurse, it’s easy to start worrying. But unfortunately, worry and stress work against you, decreasing your milk supply and making it harder for your milk to flow. While nursing, try playing some relaxing music and dimming the light. Take a few deep breaths and focus on enjoying the moments with your baby.

Change nursing positions

Sometimes just a little change in position makes it easier for your baby to latch on or helps your baby feel more comfortable and relaxed during nursing. You can even try nursing while your baby is asleep or very drowsy, times when relaxation is especially deep.

Soothe your baby

Nursing difficulties aren’t just frustrating for you — they’re frustrating for your baby, too. If your baby seems fussy when nursing, take time to gently stroke your baby’s skin, softly sing quiet songs, and focus on helping your baby relax and enjoy the closeness.

Eliminate distractions

If you can, seek out a quiet room with no TV or other people around. Keep the lights dim and create an environment of relaxation and calmness.

Use a sling

Carrying your baby in a sling between feedings helps reinforce the close bond and skin-to-skin contact between you and your baby, and it also helps your baby get used to your smell and the way you and your breasts feel. You can even try nursing while your baby is in the sling, as well.

Stimulate your mipples

If your nipples are flat or inverted, it can be hard for your baby to latch on successfully. Take some time to stimulate your nipples prior to feeding. Not only can this help your nipples “get ready” to nurse, but it can also stimulate better milk flow.

Increase skin-to-skin time with your baby

Spending time snuggling with your baby can help you and your baby relax more when it’s time to nurse. Taking a nap together is a good way to bond while also allowing your baby access to your breast with no real pressure to nurse.

Call our office

If your baby refuses to nurse no matter what you try, there might be an underlying problem — or you might need some more personalized assistance. When that’s the case (or if you just need some reassurance and guidance), give us a call and our team can help you figure out a solution.

Dealing with “nursing strikes”

Nursing strikes aren’t uncommon. Still, if your baby is refusing to nurse, it can feel both worrisome and frustrating. The good news is, most babies return to a normal busting routine without too much trouble. And if that’s not the case, help is just a call away.

If you’re dealing with breastfeeding issues or if you have other concerns about your newborn. call Pediatric Care of Four Corners at 863-201-8949 or use our online form to schedule an office visit. Busy schedule? We offer virtual telehealth visits, too! Give us a call to learn more.

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