It is important to know if your baby:
- Is interested in breastfeeding but has a latching problem and is unable to latch and stay latched (latching problem).
- Is no longer willing to latch and actively refuses to breastfeed (breast reluctance or refusal).
- Is normal and occasionally lets go of the breast while feeding.
A latching problem means that even when using proper latching techniques and good breastfeeding holds and positioning, the baby cannot keep the nipple and nipple root in the mouth (latch) in order to breastfeed. Latching problems are most common in newborns but some older babies may change from breastfeeding effectively to being unable to do so.
There are a number of causes and solutions for babies with latching problems. Such babies should be seen by their health-care providers and may need supplementation with appropriate milk.
The baby’s latch is often blamed for causing nipple pain and even damage. However, while babies who cannot latch may occasionally clamp onto the nipple causing nipple pain and damage, most nipple pain and damage is not caused by latching problems.
Some babies lose interest in breastfeeding and become upset when pushed to do so.
Many babies will occasionally let go of the breast for normal reasons. They may be incorrectly assumed to have a latching problem.