Improving drinking at the breast

Improving drinking at the breast

After the release your child has to learn to drink differently. Now that the tongue is completely mobile, it is like getting your leg from plaster, as if you learn to walk again. As a result, the baby can be fussy for a day or a little longer. The longer the baby had to compensate to get milk, (remember that your baby was already drinking amniotic fluid in the womb with a tongue tie) the longer. Your baby needs some time to learn drinking in a “new” way. The tongue exercisis can best be done before feeding to stimulate the tongue to make more different movements. Stretching the entire tongue to the palate stimulates the movement upwards, this is essential for creating a good vacuum and prevents reattachment.

Sometimes the change is big for the baby and you can use some help. With breastfeeding it is good to ask your Lactation Consultant IBCLC for a consultation. A different position can be useful and tips for optimal latching or using a nipple shield temporarily . When choosing the right size of nipple shield, often Ardo or Medela Large or Medium is the best and for very large nipples Mamivac has an even larger size. Look carefully at this video for proper use  of the nipple shield.

If a baby does not want latch on immediately, you can first calm your baby with a bottle or some finger feeding (like here), you can also use a syringe like this father. For example, you can let your baby drink 10-30 ml. Massage the palm of the hand, this stimulates the opening of the mouth and hopefully sucking. You can also help lift the tongue by massaging the under”belly” of the tongue (behind the chin), massaging or pushing it upwards towards the palate.

It is possible that your production has diminished due to the ineffective drinking behavior before the release. Also have a look at the FAQ stimulating milk production and use breastcompression (video) all the time.

One way to get the baby breastfeeding again is to let him or her drink start with (paced) bottle feeding. Do this close to your bare breast (with the nipple shield in place can help) and when the baby becomes calm, switch to the breast without moving the baby. If additional feeding is needed, for example because your production has fallen behind, you can supplement at the breast with a tube or use the SNS, this is very simple and promotes going back to the breast and your milk production at the same time.