Breastfeeding is the natural act of a woman feeding a newborn or young child with milk produced from her breasts. One of the concerns of new mothers is that their child might refuse breast feeding. There are a number of causes of breast refusal that can overcome a baby's natural reflex to breastfeed. This article will discuss a few of the major causes of breast refusal also known as nursing strike.
One possible cause of breast refusal is formula feeding. Breastfeeding is the most effective method of getting quality nutrients to your newborn baby. While the nutritional makeup of formula can be an effective alternative, the taste is considerably different. Give both breast milk and formula milk a taste test on your own and you will see the difference yourself. Your baby may be refusing the breast because it has begun to recognize the palatable difference between the two fluids.
Another common cause for nursing strike is nipple confusion. The term
"nipple confusion" describes when a baby forgets how to nurse from a mother's nipple because of the introduction of an artificial nipple into their feeding routine. This adjustment period may manifest itself as a nursing strike. For example, the child readily taking a bottle but will cry and refuse a breast. Fortunately, nipple confusion is generally not a problem after the early weeks of a child's life and there are a few easy ways to help avoid nipple confusion. One is to delay feeding from a bottle until your child is at least three or four weeks old. Once bottle feeding begins, ensure that the bottle is being thoroughly rinsed and cleaned after each use.
Poor feeding technique can also result in breast refusal. There are a number steps you can take to ensure that you are practicing the most effective methods for feeding a newborn. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that weighing, measuring, bathing and other testing should wait until after the first feeding between mother and infant is complete.
In the weeks immediately following childbirth, you should make use of a nursing station that you can repeatedly use for feeding your child. The nursing station should allow you to maintain a comfortable position for you to sit with the baby in your arms. If your baby is sleepy, it may be necessary to unwrap the child and check his or her diaper; changing if necessary. Following this sequence can help rouse your child and allow you to nurse.
Breast refusal generally lasts anywhere from two to five days. Because of your care and dedication to giving loving care to your child, getting a baby back to breast may require your utmost patience and persistence. Be aware that until you are able to get your baby to breast you must pump as often as you would normally be nursing. Both breasts should be pumped for around fifteen minutes at least eight times a day. If you avoid routine pumping in lieu of normal feeding you risk decreasing your supply of breast milk. Look for a quality electric breast pump with a double pump kit to help you during nursing strikes and beyond.
It may be helpful to spend some time reviewing the American Academy of Pediatrics policy on breastfeeding. But, be sure to sure check in with your pediatrician if you encounter any significant deviation from normal feeding patterns. With hope and patience you and your child will overcome breast refusal and enjoy the loving connection breastfeeding provides between mother and child.
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