A baby who has never latched on

Today I saw a woman with a 5 week baby who had never latched on at all. Well, she said he’d had a few sucks but that’s been it and she’s been expressing. I think she had sort of given up and thought it wouldn’t work. And who’d blame her? She hadn’t had much help at all and battling on on your own time is hard!

Getting a baby to latch who hasn’t been on is a process. It is not going to be instant. Think of it as weaning onto solids. Babies don’t start to eat and give up their milk there and then.

It’s a process and it’s important to manage our expectations (not least for our mental health and stress levels). Once we know it’s not going to happen overnight we can begin to plan, a few days at a time with a timescale of perhaps 4 weeks.

It is also important to consider the position. A baby who’s been fairly upright feeding from a bottle may not like lying down on his side at all. So if your baby starts to cry as soon he is in the cradle/cross cradle or underarm position, then try a position where he can be facing you. I’d suggest coming to group so you can practice with someone there to help you.

Baby will be used to a teat and may get really cross to be offered a nipple. If this is the case then try and use a nipple shield as a stepping stone. It is easier to go bottle-shield-nipple sometimes.

Remember that you have been doing a fantastic job expressing and feeding your baby. Just because it hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Keep calm, keep trying and get help!

If you have any questions about weaning your baby off the bottle and get him back to the breast, then contact me and I’ll do my best to help you.

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