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Is Your New Baby Having Trouble Latching?

Is Your New Baby Having Trouble Latching?

Your baby is born with a reflex to look for the breast, but that doesn’t mean you or your baby instinctively know how to breastfeed. Breastfeeding takes support, time, and practice.

If your new baby is having trouble latching, you may need extra support. At Obstetricians & Gynecologists, PC, in Grand Island and Hastings, Nebraska, we provide comprehensive prenatal care before and during pregnancy as well as compassionate care after your baby is born. 

Our team includes lactation specialists who help new moms with breastfeeding, providing guidance before birth and anytime after birth. Here, we cover breastfeeding — including why your new baby may have trouble latching and what you can do about it.

About breastfeeding

Most new moms want to breastfeed their babies. Breast milk is the gold standard for infant nutrition, providing your baby with all of the nutrients they need to thrive. It also protects their health, reducing risk of gastrointestinal infections, ear infections, and severe respiratory infections.

Unfortunately, many women find it challenging to breastfeed and may stop sooner than they intended. That’s because breastfeeding isn’t something new moms automatically know how to do. 

You may also run into troubles, like your baby having difficulty latching. Or you may find nursing uncomfortable or painful. These are common and fixable concerns for new moms and new babies.

Reasons for trouble latching

Many new babies struggle with latching onto the breast to nurse during those first few days. If the problems last longer than three days, it’s time to figure out why. 

Some of the reasons your baby may have trouble latching include:

New babies may also have difficulty latching if they can’t coordinate the suck, swallow, and breathe actions necessary for breastfeeding. Sometimes there’s no obvious cause for why a baby is struggling to latch. 

Even if there’s no underlying cause, we can provide guidance on how to help your baby feed better. With time and practice, most babies learn how to breastfeed.

Help with breastfeeding

Our lactation specialists provide guidance on how to improve your baby’s nursing skills. We may recommend changing position, using a nipple guard (device that helps if you have a flat or inverted nipple), or gently squeezing your breast to deliver milk directly into their mouth.

We also recommend waking your baby to nurse every 2-3 hours, making sure you have skin-to-skin contact when nursing, and using a breast pump to remove any milk that remains (this helps keep up your milk supply). 

You and your baby are learning together. When you’re having a difficult time breastfeeding, don’t hesitate to reach out for expert support. Our women’s health specialists are here to help you before, during, and after your pregnancy. Call our office today or request an appointment online.

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