There are many reasons why a baby won’t latch on and there are a number of things you can try in order to help your baby to successfully breastfeed. Many experts are now saying that some babies are refusing to latch on as a result of medication given to the mother during labour. Research suggests that drugs can linger in the baby’s system for the first few days which can affect the way she sucks and can cause drowsiness.
 
Another reason can be an abnormality in the baby’s mouth such as a cleft palate which is not always obvious. If a baby has been given a bottle after birth then this can also interfere with their latch. If they are used to the fast flow from artificial nipples they may be unwilling to feed from the breast which has a slower flow. Flat or inverted nipples can also make latching on difficult for a baby but this can usually be resolved by the use of nipple shields and pumping before breast feeding.Your doctor or lactation advisor will be able to give you tips on how to overcome inverted/flat nipples.
 
Never force the baby to take the breast, the baby will usually latch on when he/she is hungry. If you are getting concerned (usually after 12 to 24 hours after birth) you can try expressing your milk and use the finger/cup feeding method. Don’t give up as you and your baby have to learn how to breastfeed together and this takes time and patience. There are lactation specialists, doctors and nurses who are there to provide support.          
 

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