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You are here : home > Baby's Diet > Breastfeeding > Reasons for a Baby Not Sucking Properly

Reasons for a Baby Not Sucking Properly

Reasons for a Baby Not Sucking Properly

Sucking problem is a cause of concern for many new moms. This problem is quite common in the initial stages after the birth or when introduced to bottle feeding. The reason of baby not sucking properly should be analyzed to prevent the problem. There are many reasons for baby not sucking properly. Read on to allay your concerns.

One of the major breastfeeding problems which many new moms face relates to the baby not sucking properly. There are many factors which may be responsible for this. Here are some of the common issues which interfere with nursing.

Why is Baby Unable to Suck Milk from Breast?

Here are some of the reasons due to which baby may find difficult to suck milk from breast.

  • Cleft Palate or Lip - In case a newborn has a cleft palate or lip the baby will not be able to create a seal required for proper nursing and sucking. Another related factor could be a retracted jaw or tongue. To tide over this issue you can make use of nipple shields temporarily.

  • Incorrect Feeding Position - The head and neck of the baby must be properly positioned. If this is not done the baby will be uncomfortable and not in a position to suck. In case the problem persists despite your holding the baby properly while nursing try different breastfeeding positions to check out which position your baby likes the best while being fed.

  • Pierre Robin Syndrome (PRS) – Pierre Robin Syndrome (PRS) is a rare condition in newborns. Such babies, from the time of their birth have U-shape cleft palate. Due to this, the tongue positioning is far behind in the mouth. This makes sucking a little difficult for the newborn.

  • Oral Thrush - In many infants the cause of not sucking properly could be oral thrush which makes it hard to nurse.

  • Nipple Confusion - Nipple confusion arises in babies who are both bottle fed as well as breast fed. When a baby is offered synthetic nipple for drinking from, she will get confused about the way in which she should suck from the breast. This is because the feel, shape and size of the synthetic nipple are very different from the breast. Research has indicated that both these techniques involve completely diverse mouth-tongue motions and ingestion skills

    However, in most infants this confusion prevails only during the initial stages. Once the child is used to being both bottle fed as well as breast fed for a week or two she will easily shift between the two as and when required. You can introduce synthetic nipples as soon as your baby turns eight weeks or so. This may be particularly useful for working moms who need to resume their jobs after the expiry of their maternity leave period.

  • Drowsiness in Infant - A very interesting fact which most new parents do not realise is the fact that weak sucking could be a result of extreme drowsiness in their newborn. Since the baby is sleepy while being fed, the breast may pop out of her mouth. In such cases the mother must make sure that correct latching on is being done. She must support the baby’s head and jaws properly.
Despite breast feeding issues that you may face do continue to feed the baby. By keeping a track of your infant’s urine and stool output you will be able to determine if she is getting enough milk. In case your baby is losing weight and is not having an adequate amount of wet diapers and bowel movements it may be a cause of concern. Consult your doctor immediately and consider supplementing your baby’s feedings.

Please do not be discouraged by your baby not sucking properly in the initial stages. You have the option of making use of a breast pump to keep up your milk supply till such time that your baby becomes an efficient breast-feeder. The milk you pump can be fed to your baby to meet her requirements.

Breastfeeding does not come naturally to most moms and infants. New moms need to learn the art of helping their babies to latch on. Babies on the other hand must get used to sucking correctly. This entire process may take some time. It will require practice and commitment on the part of the new mom.  

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Gunjan Lal
Gunjan Lal.7 years ago
Most new mothers face similar problems so correct feeding position is a must for the baby to suck properly.
suhani.7 years ago
I have sores on my breast I am unable to feed my baby properly. What is the available option for me?
Mahi.7 years ago
My baby has suddenly stopped breast feeding. He was earlier feeding quite well but now has suddenly stopped. what could be the reason?
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