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Breastfeeding is hard work, for both baby and mom, and by far not as easy as most people think. Add issues, such as nipple confusion, to the equation, and you have a recipe for frustration. In this article, I will share the nipple confusion issues we had with our baby girl and how we got her back on the breast using a nipple shield and a skin-to-skin.
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Breastfeeding is hard work
The goal with both of our babies was to breastfeed them for as long as possible exclusively. Nipple confusion wasn’t a term we were familiar with three years ago. With our first child (Isabella), we quickly introduced a bottle into her feeding routine. It was a misguided attempt to help my wife with overnight feedings. We figured the delivery system wouldn’t matter as long as it was breast milk Isabella was getting.
What is nipple confusion?
What we didn’t fully realize was that getting milk out of a breast is hard work for a baby. To succeed, it takes a good latch as well as coordinated tongue and jaw movements in a sucking motion. Sucking from a bottle, however, is an entirely different motion. Without proper skills, the baby won’t be able to express milk from a breast, but almost any type of sucking motion will express milk from a bottle through the nipple. In fact, all it takes is gravity for milk to start dripping out of a bottle.
Babies are born knowing how to suck, and they’re hard-wired to nurse from their mother’s breast. But sometimes – in an effort to adapt when they’re unable to feed successfully from the breast – they develop a preference for a bottle instead. This is known as nipple preference or nipple confusion.
According to Dr. Sears