7 Clues Your Baby Isn’t Breastfeeding Properly and Why

A tongue tie can cause breastfeeding issues

Bringing a new baby into the world is perhaps the most monumental thing you will ever do in your life. For both mother and father, it is a special time full of love and discovery. But for moms who dreamed of nursing their little one, a baby who doesn’t seem to feed correctly can be disappointing and unsettling. All parents want their baby to thrive, so if breastfeeding isn’t going well, it is essential to understand why.

How to know if your baby is breastfeeding successfully

Whether you breastfeed your baby or provide a formula alternative, your baby needs adequate nutrition to thrive and survive. Parents need to learn to recognize signs that their baby is feeding normally and getting enough nutrients. Here are seven clues that your baby is feeding properly.

  1. Your baby is getting adequate nutrition if they seem calm and relaxed while feeding. If your baby is fussing or having trouble latching, it may indicate a problem.
  2. Your baby’s cheeks keep a round shape during feeding.
  3. You can hear and see your baby swallowing.
  4. Your breasts feel softer after your baby has completed their feeding.
  5. You feel sleepy and relaxed after your baby is done.
  6. The baby’s mouth looks moist after feeding.
  7. Your baby releases the breast on its own at the end of feedings.

On the flip side, there are some signs your baby is not feeding well. It is essential to note that babies who aren’t feeding well won’t always show signs of stunted growth, but if your baby is not gaining weight as expected, it’s time to let their pediatrician know. A few signs include:

  1. Your baby may seem sleepy or lack energy.
  2. Your baby is overly fussy, shows signs of colic, or is refusing the breast.
  3. Your baby spends very little time at the breast or falls asleep shortly after beginning their feeding.
  4. It is painful when your baby tries to latch on.
  5. Your baby seems to be demonstrating a failure to thrive and isn’t gaining the appropriate  5.5 – 8.5 ounces per week.
  6. Stools are infrequent (you should anticipate three to four stools per day by the time your baby is four days old).
  7. Urine is not pale or you see reddish-brown “brick dust” in the diaper.
  8. Your baby spits up green or yellow fluid, indicating signs of gastroesophageal reflux (GER).

A tongue tie may be the reason your baby isn’t breastfeeding properly 

There are various reasons your baby is not breastfeeding or latching properly. Babies sometimes get too comfortable at feeding time and can’t stay awake. Some babies can’t coordinate the suck, swallow, breathe combination. And other babies may have medical conditions that make it difficult to feed.

Below are some of the primary causes of breastfeeding and latch problems that parents should be aware of.

  • Labor and delivery medication given to mom that affects the baby for a short period of time
  • Premature birth
  • Down Syndrome, also referred to as Trisomy 21
  • Jaundice
  • Cardiac defects
  • Infection
  • Cleft lip or palate
  • Tongue tie or lip tie
  • Overstimulation, stress, or distraction

A laser frenectomy can help with your baby’s tongue tie

If your baby isn’t feeding properly, it is time to make a visit to their pediatrician. Often, it is discovered that the baby has a tongue tie. This condition occurs when a band of tissue connects the bottom of your baby’s tongue to the bottom of the mouth, which keeps the tongue from moving freely. If their doctor determines that your baby has a tongue or lip tie, they may refer you to a skilled pediatric dentist to conduct a frenectomy.

A frenectomy is an outpatient treatment designed to correct your baby’s lip or tongue tie. During the treatment, your My Chico Dentist in Chico, California, will remove the frenum, the thin piece of tissue that connects the lips to the gums, with a laser. The treatment itself is very fast, as is the recovery, and it is safe for your baby.

My Chico Dentist offers laser frenectomies so your baby can feed easier.

A lip or tongue tie can negatively affect your baby’s future speech, eating, breathing, sleeping, and even appearance when left untreated. If you live in or near Chico, California, and your baby has a tongue tie, we highly recommend you request an appointment at My Chico Dentist. Our dentists want to help you and your baby have a better connection. We assure you that you and your baby will be in good hands with our specialized dental solutions, state-of-the-art equipment, and our caring team.

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