Clearing Up Nipple Confusion

What seems like the most natural thing on earth, surprisingly to some new moms, can be one of the most stressful and confusing part of motherhood. Though the subject can be controversial among some pediatricians and child development experts, those parents who have experienced their baby suffering with nipple-confusion understand the implications.

Nipple confusion is the accepted name for the situation that arises from when your baby has trouble distinguishing the difference between Mom’s and artificial nipples. By introducing the bottle too early, or trying to feed with a variety of nipples, parents can inadvertently cause their newborn or infant to become confused; not knowing how to adjust their feeding tactics for each one. Latching on to mom’s breast, compared to silicone nipples or even pacifiers, takes different mouth and sucking techniques. Baby must learn how to suckle from one nipple before being introduced to another. Babies who are confused by differing nipples may suffer from weight loss and can be deprived of nutrition.

Most pediatricians who understand nipple confusion will advise that it’s easier to avoid than it is to clear up. Breastfeeding mothers should stick to nursing for at least four weeks in order to allow their baby time to learn the mechanics needed to latch on and suckle successfully. Bottle feeding parents should stick to one exclusive style of nipple for several weeks also before switching to others or introducing a pacifier.

When transitioning from breast to bottle, parents will have to remember to be both patient yet steadfast in their efforts; not giving in to baby’s demands immediately. Let your baby figure out the difference, giving her time to work out the techniques naturally.