When a Baby Doesn't Latch...

Let’s talk about failure. Not a while ago I was helping a new mom to breastfeed her child; I tried everything, and spent so many hours; but no matter what we did, the baby refused to latch on. This is one of the most terrible feelings; I couldn’t stand the hopeless look of that mom. I knew she was thinking she’ll be one of those moms who “couldn’t breastfeed”. Her biggest fear. I went home that day later, but my mind stayed with that mother. I thought on the many possible causes that could make that baby to refuse his mother’s breast. I thought on what I could have done different. Every time a mom hires me, I feel I bring them hope. But this time, I felt I failed her.


That evening, when I was putting my kids to bed, an idea crossed into my mind. This is simply not about me. I may have failed her, but I cannot give up on that baby. We continued working for a few more days, and eventually that baby latched on. Beautifully, and for good.


Unfortunately, this is not every case. I see more moms giving up quickly when they face a challenge like this. There’s much more to learn about a baby who refuses the breast. But when cases like this knock to my door, I keep reminding myself these three things that I’ve learned over and over throughout every difficult case; until they became rules for me:


1) Some babies just need more time. And as long as mommy keeps offering the breast, and keep her supply up, he’ll come back to where he was meant to be.


2) Breastfeeding is a matter of two, but a mother’s strong willing can really bend that balance.


3) And… sometimes is good to feel the sour and sweet taste of failure. Only to remind us how much more is still out there…

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