Breast Feeding


Most babies suck easily and naturally. But occasionally a baby seems to have to ‘learn’ to suck. For you this is an exercise in patience. You should not give up trying, but at the same time you should not exhaust herself (or the infant) by incessantly trying to succeed. You should allow yourself and the baby time to rest and regain strength in between the sucking periods. Usually, the presence of a person whom you know, and who is kind and calm is likely to help you. But if you don't like it you may better try alone.

A baby sucks because this is a reflex that he is born with. To start the sucking reflex something has to touch the baby’s hard palate. Normally, it is the nipple that touches the palate, but to do this, it has to be right inside the baby’s mouth. If a nipple is very short, it may not go far enough into the mouth to start the reflex. This is the reason why flat nipples may cause problems in the early days. Most flat nipples are sufficiently protractile for normal sucking once they have been stretched a little. But some help may be necessary in the first few days.

If a breast is engorged, the nipple may be stretched flat and not easy protractile. The baby can only ‘chew’ at the tip of the nipple, and cannot get it far enough into the mouth to suck properly. As a result, the baby fails to extract milk, and also harms the nipple. The infant then becomes impatient, cries and turns away from the breast and from the despairing mother. On such occasions, the assistance of an experienced and calm person is invaluable.

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