Nozzle Confusion: Signs and How to Reverse

In the confusion of nipples – a common and controversial issue in breastfeeding – the baby literally unlearns how to breastfeed . The use of pacifiers and baby bottles , which can often seem like saviors in difficult times of motherhood, can cause this big headache as well.

It is important to note that nipple confusion can occur even in older babies . It is common to see mothers of small babies saying that the baby uses a pacifier and continues to breastfeed normally. However, it is necessary to be aware that the problem may appear further down the road .

Those stories we hear about babies who stopped breastfeeding “on their own”, in most cases, are related to nipple confusion.

If you think you’re going through this situation, look for signs that a beak mess is happening.

Signs of beak confusion

Here are some signs you should always look out for if you offer your baby a pacifier or bottle:

  • It hurts to breastfeed: with the exception of the first 15 days, it is not normal to feel pain while breastfeeding. If it’s hurting too much, the catch may be wrong. And many times a wrong grip is due to the use of artificial nozzles.
  • The baby makes a lot of noise when sucking during the feed: Ideally, the feed should be silent, with no air entering the baby’s mouth.
  • The baby is only sucking the tip of the nipple: In the correct grip, the baby grasps the entire areola of the nipple, not just the nipple. This is usually what causes pain when breastfeeding.
  • The baby cries to breastfeed: a lot of crying while breastfeeding as well as a lot of agitation can be a sign of wrong attachment. Wrong attachment can reduce the flow of milk, which can irritate the baby.
  • Baby is rejecting breast (prefers nipple or bottle): This is a late sign of nipple confusion. If the baby has already started to reject the breast and prefers to be bottle-fed or sleep with a pacifier, this is a strong sign that breastfeeding could end soon.

Beware of early weaning!

The less the baby breastfeeds, the less milk the mother produces. The less milk the mother produces, the more milk in the bottle the baby drinks. Have you ever stopped to think about this cycle? That’s exactly how it happens.

It is common to hear the phrases: “my milk has dried up” , “the baby left the breast alone” , “the baby prefers the bottle” . But is this as natural as it sounds? The answer is: no! weaning before two years is considered early . Hardly a child on demand will stop breastfeeding on their own before 2 years of age. 

If you choose to wean your child before age 2, that’s fine, you’re free to make your own choices. But if you care about free demand and breastfeeding for at least 2 years, we need to warn you about nipple confusion and the link to early weaning .

You may also be interested in the article Extended Breastfeeding: Until When to Breastfeed?

Harms of artificial nozzles

In addition to compromising breastfeeding, there are other harms when offering artificial teats to a baby. 

Some dentists argue that pacifiers should not be offered at any time. Others say that it is necessary to take it out before the age of 2 years. The fact is that the pacifier can deform the dental arch and the position of the child’s teeth .

Another problem is that, when you let go of the breast and continue using a pacifier and a bottle, there is a false weaning . This is because the child’s need for suction continues, especially at bedtime. The best way is to teach the child other ways to calm down, so that the pacifier and bottle are not addictive .

It is also important to point out that thumb-sucking is not a problem . This is a question that many parents bring as a justification for offering a pacifier to the baby. Thumb sucking is natural , babies suck their thumb from inside their belly. Cases of people who continued to suck thumbs throughout life are strongly related to early weaning . This child probably did not have free access to the chest and ended up creating this habit to satisfy his need for suction.

How to avoid

The best way to avoid nipple mess while breastfeeding is to prevent it .

Do not offer artificial teats: pacifiers , baby bottles and cups with a straw . They are the reason for most cases of difficulty breastfeeding. Even the silicone nipples used to protect the breast when breastfeeding can be harmful. So avoid.

If it is necessary to supplement with artificial milk, the milk must be offered in a small cup (like a cachaça cup) or in a measuring spoon . This is also true when a breast-feeding mother needs to leave the baby in someone else’s care. 

how to revert

The first step in reversing nipple confusion is to remove all nipples from the baby . This can be challenging and require a lot of patience on your part as the baby will protest . 

Fix the latch , be patient again, find a milk bank or breastfeeding consultant for help. Have I already said that you need to be patient?

Think about the importance of breastfeeding for your child and seek information and help. Do not give up! Count on us!

Dr. Tabriella Perivolaris, Sara's mother and fan of fashion, beauty, motherhood, among others, about the female universe. Since 2018 she has been working as a copywriter, always bringing to her articles a little of her experience and experience as a mother and woman.

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