What should I do if my baby has problems latching on?

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your baby has problems latching on. It can be frustrating, but it is not impossible for your baby to successfully latch on with some help.

There can be many reasons for your baby not latching on. If your nipples are large, inverted or flat, latching may take more effort on your baby’s part, but it will happen.

Effects of medication during labour may also have an extended effect on your baby. These will wear off, and some patience is all you need to successfully breastfeed your baby.

In short, there is no other way to teach your baby to breastfeed except through breastfeeding. Practice and patience are your keys to success. Do not be discouraged by unsuccessful attempts in the beginning. Your baby will feed soon enough. However, in the meantime, you may like to use nursing accessories to make the process a little less frustrating.

Types of nursing accessories available

A lactation aid or a supplemental nursing system is needed if your baby is not able to extract milk directly from the breast, or your baby needs extra supplements from formula milk for medical reasons. This lactation aid allows your baby to get extra nutrition without bottle feeding.

What it is is a narrow, bendable tube that is taped to your breast, with the opening right next to or on your nipple. As your baby latches on to your nipple, the opening of the tube is also taken into your baby’s mouth, and the milk¬† in the container that the tube is connected to will be swallowed by your baby.

A nipple shield can help your baby to latch on if your nipples are large, inverted or flat, or if your baby cannot suck properly because he or she is premature, not well, or very small in size. Besides making it easier for your baby to latch on and feed, the nipple shield also provides relief from your sore nipples by forming a protective layer over it while you feed your baby.

What it is piece of thin, soft silicone shaped like a nipple that is attached on your nipple. In this piece of silicone are holes at the tip to allow milk to flow into your baby’s mouth. As your baby tries to latch on, the nipple shield makes it easier by holding the nipple in an extended position that makes your baby find it more easily. At the same time, the sturdier feel of the nipple shield compared to the nipple stimulates your baby’s mouth to keep sucking, which gives your baby milk, encouraging further sucking.

How accessories help babies with difficulties nursing

These accessories help your baby to reap the benefits of breastfeeding, such as bonding, even when breastfeeding the natural way is proving difficult. With time, you can probably do away with these accessories, when your baby can start to naturally breastfeed without any aid.  In the meantime, your baby will be getting the nutrition he or she needs. The breastfeeding process will also be smoother and more enjoyable for you and your baby.