Typically, a baby who WON'T latch, CAN'T latch. My job as an IBCLC (Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant) is to figure out what's getting in baby's way. Babies were born to breastfeed (they are mammals, after all). But for whatever reason if they have had zero luck getting milk from the breast time after time, they are not stupid – they figure out quickly that the breast is not working for them. They proceed to either fall asleep immediately when brought to the breast (play possum) or they scream and arch away (as if we are offering them vinegar). They will try for a little while, but if it's clearly not working for them, their body language will tell you a LOT. But just because they can't latch doesn't mean you're necessarily doing something wrong (I can't stress this enough, because I know so many women blame themselves). If this is happening to you in the early days, it's important to get pumping or hand expressing to PROTECT YOUR MILK SUPPLY (every 2-3 hours for about 15-20 min), KEEP BABY WELL-FED so they have the energy to continue trying at the breast (ask your pediatrician for the volumes needed based on baby's age and weight –and CALL TO SET UP HANDS-ON SUPPORT. Ask your obstetrician/midwife, or pediatrician for a recommendation or click here: https://www.ilca.org/why-ibclc/falc to find qualified IBCLC support. If you cannot yield any milk and have to give formula, it is not the end of the world. You will need to do what you need to do to care for your baby in the moment. But getting help sooner rather than later can help turn the bus around and make supplementation a temporary stop-gap. Hang in there. Reach out. Click here: https://www.babybelovedinc.com/book-online) for my phone and home visit options, as well as the list of pediatric offices I work at.
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