Nothing compares to the excitement of becoming a new parent, but the experience is also incredibly stressful. Between learning how to take care of a baby and dealing with postpartum life, becoming a mom can be overwhelming even when things go well. Add in issues with baby won’t latch breastfeeding and that stress compounds.
When your baby won’t latch, breastfeeding becomes a challenge. And breastfeeding is important for the baby and for a new mom.
If a new mom can’t breastfeed, it can lead to painful breast engorgement from excess milk swelling up the breasts. It can also cause issues with plugged milk ducts and mastitis. This, plus the baby either losing weight or gaining weight too slowly, can easily overwhelm a new mother.
Obviously, it is very important for both the mother and baby that the baby can breastfeed well. This requires the baby to latch on to the mother’s nipple. If you are having issues breastfeeding, read on for seven tips for what to do when your baby won’t latch.
1. Calm Fussy Baby
If your baby is already crying, it is hard to get them to latch because often a fussy baby won’t latch. And it can be frustrating when your baby won’t stay latched on and cries. If this is the case, try to calm the baby down before attempting to breastfeed.
Don’t wait until your baby is crying to attempt breastfeeding. Feed your baby before he or she gets too hungry, and breastfeed when your baby is awake and calm. If your baby is already fussy, try swaddling him or her or moving to a darker environment to calm your baby before attempting to breastfeed.
2. Keep Baby Awake
One of the most common reasons why babies won’t latch is that they fall asleep. Sleepy babies can’t breastfeed well as they have no interest in latching. And for your sanity, it’s important that your baby stays awake for a full feeding rather than multiple small feedings throughout the day.
If your baby dozes off while breastfeeding, there are several things you can do to keep your baby awake. Try adjusting your position, switching sides, or tickling your baby’s feet. You might even consider taking your baby’s clothes off so that your baby is not so warm and comfortable that he or she is likely to fall asleep.
3. baby won’t latch then Use a Nipple Shield
Your baby needs to take your entire nipple in its mouth, plus a significant part of the areola, which is the darker area around the nipple. If your nipples are too large, your baby may have trouble latching because it can’t fit your entire nipple in its mouth.
Nipple shields are particularly helpful for women with large nipples. Nipple shields are essentially silicone nipples that you put over your own nipple to help the baby latch. Luckily, this will only be necessary early on since the baby should have less trouble latching as it grows.
4. Have Someone Help
If you have larger breasts, it can be difficult to see both your baby and your nipple to position them correctly. If your baby won’t latch on one side, the problem may be that the positioning is awkward. Or if you just can’t get your baby to latch at all, you may need a different perspective to figure out what the issue is.
It can be extremely helpful at first to have someone else help you position the baby correctly on your nipple. Once you get used to the position, this should no longer be necessary. If you’re uncomfortable with getting help, you could try using a mirror to ensure that you are positioning your nipple and your baby’s head properly.
5. baby won’t latch then Use Pump
Breast engorgement is common in the first couple of weeks after childbirth. It is not only uncomfortable but also can make it difficult for your baby to latch. When your breasts are too full, they can become hard and flat, meaning your baby won’t have anything to latch on to.
Using a pump like the BabyBuddha breast pump can help soften the breasts so the baby can latch more easily. Pumping can also help if you have flat or inverted nipples, as the suction of the breast pump may help draw out the nipples enough for the baby to latch on.
6. Hand Express Some Milk
If you don’t have a pump available or prefer not to use one, you can also hand express some milk. This can help with engorgement.
Hand expressing a bit of milk on your nipple can also help your baby want to latch. The smell and taste of milk will make them want more, which can be a great trick, particularly for fussy or tired babies. Just squeeze a few drops of milk on your breast and they may be tempted to latch.
7. Check for Tongue-Tie
If you’ve tried everything and still have issues getting your baby to latch, your baby may have a condition called ankyloglossia, or tongue-tie. This is a condition where the tissue under the tongue restricts the tongue’s range of motion. If your baby’s tongue can’t reach your nipple, that may be why your baby won’t latch.
Symptoms of tongue-tie include a poor latch, a clicking sound while nursing, gassiness, reflux, or colic. Your baby might struggle with gaining weight or gag on milk. Additionally, if your baby pops off your breast to gasp for air frequently, you may want to check for tongue-tie.
If you suspect your baby has tongue-tie, check with your pediatrician. They can refer you to a specialist who will help find a solution based on the severity of the issue.
Stop Worrying That Your Baby Won’t Latch
There are many reasons why a baby won’t latch. Tiredness and fussiness can make breastfeeding difficult. And breast engorgement, large nipples, or large breasts can also make it a struggle to get your baby to latch.
Luckily, there are several tricks to help a baby’s latch. With these seven tips, your baby should start breastfeeding in no time. If you enjoyed this article, check out our blog for other great tips and tricks for new parents!