Why Nipple Confusion is a Problem

Regardless of what some doctors believe, nipple confusion among infants and babies is a real problem faced by many breastfeeding mothers. Though it is impossible to pinpoint which baby will suffer from nipple confusion, the signs of the issue are simple to spot. When a baby who is breastfed is required to also eat from artificial nipples thorough bottle feeding, they may become confused as to how to drink from both. The confusion stems from the fact that two feeding methods entail different skills required on the baby’s part. The mouth and tongue movements are different when eating from the breast than those required when eating from the bottle. Because flow rates differ between natural and artificial nipples, and require work on the part of the baby, he/she may develop of preference for one manner of feeding over the other.

If your baby is confused by the differing nipples, he/she is likely to do one or more of the following:

  • Repeatedly thrusts the tongue upward and pushes the breast out of the mouth
  • Doesn’t fully open the mouth, sucking only the tip of mom’s nipple.
  • Becomes irritable and fussy when breastfeeding because of the reduced amount of milk
  • Refuses the breast completely.

Preventing the likelihood of nipple confusion takes a few steps but is worth it.

One recommended way to avoid nipple confusion is to not introduce the baby to the bottle until after the first six weeks of life. This will allow your baby enough time to learn how to breastfeed and to get your milk supply established and flowing at a better rate.

Make sure to breastfeed your baby when all is calm. An irritated baby is one that is not likely to be one that latches on easily. Pump some milk before attempting to get baby to feed so that they don’t have to do the necessary work of getting your milk to “come down”. While nursing, keep your baby close to you, making sure to have skin to skin contact.

The choice of artificial nipples can also have an impact on whether a baby is confused by breastfeeding also. Selecting a nipple that more closely resembles the natural shape and feel of a mother’s breast is key in reducing the likelihood of nipple confusion or breast rejection. Comotomo nipples are made from medical-grade silicone and are mounded to closely mimic the natural shape of the breast. Because of their pleasing feel and shape, babies are less likely to have to learn how to use Comotomo bottle nipples; reducing the risk of bottle rejection or nipple confusion. Learn more about our innovative infant feeding bottles and nipples by visiting the rest of our website now.