Let’s get real here. The term ‘Nipple Confusion' puts us all on edge. The last thing any mother wants is a screaming baby who’s refusing to feed. If you’re worried your baby has nipple confusion or you're keen to be ahead of the game and avoid it, keep reading! The good news is, there are ways to avoid nipple confusion and overcome it too, despite what you may have heard! So, we're going to clear up the confusion around confusion and get things straight once and for all!
What does it even mean?
Mums & health professionals alike have used the phrase ‘nipple confusion’ for many years to describe a baby’s fussiness at the breast or their frustration at being offered a bottle before breastfeeding is well established.
When your little one’s hungry and is offered a new way of feeding, of course you're likely to be met with a little (or a lot of) resistance. It’s very common when using a different method of feeding that babies struggle, but it doesn't have to be that way!
Nipple-confusion and the bottle ‘taking-over’
Whilst these two may seem to mean the same thing, there are subtle and important differences. The bottle may ‘take-over’ when a mother's milk-supply drops, or a baby's appetite increases and the mother's milk-supply has not yet caught up. Thankfully these days there is plenty of help available, more knowledge about how to build milk-supply, more information about the stages when a baby's appetite may increase and the breast pumps are better too.
Nipple-confusion is when a baby happily feeds from a bottle, but is confused about how to latch when offered the beast, or latches with a lazy technique. This may come about once bub is offered a generic bottle because they very quickly get used to an easier feeding technique that’s unlike what’s needed to latch effectively onto the breast. With nipple-confusion your baby may cry when offered the breast because they now don't know how to feed effectively. It's as though bub is confused, but they've simply been able to enjoy a good feed with very little effort and are now unsure why this is harder. Whilst this may not seem like an issue, using generic nipples will affect the way bub latches on to you and could cause no end of problems. The Minbie nipple is unique in its design. When babies feed from the Minbie it avoids this type of confusion by replicating bub's instinctive breastfeeding latch and strengthening their breastfeeding coordination.
So how is Minbie going to help?
Whilst breastfeeding experts may struggle to determine whether it’s nipple preference or confusion, it can be very distressing when you're in the thick of it. If you've been using a generic bottle and your little one is latched and trying to feed but not extracting the milk, they're using a technique that works on other bottles but not on the Minbie. Bub will still be able to breastfeed (if you have a good let down), but they'll not strip your milk or help drain the milk ducts. In the long term this could hinder your milk-supply without additional support, such as expressing. The Minbie offers your baby a feeding experience that nurtures their instinctive breastfeeding latch, replicates the breastfeeding motion & prevents this kind of lazy feeding. Bub will continue to strengthen their breastfeeding coordination on the Minbie, helping you avoid confusion, rejection & pain.
Here are some tips that could be helpful.
Ways to avoid nipple confusion:
🍼It’s a good idea (if possible) to wait until breastfeeding is well established before offering a bottle.
🍼If baby needs to be supplemented, always offer Minbie as the first bottle. The teat has been designed to protect your breastfeeding bond from nipple confusion. Having a collection of Minbie bottles on hand will ensure you have everything you need to safely supplement feeds avoiding risk to bub's instinctive latching technique.
🍼Let someone else offer bub the bottle. Remember your little one associates your scent with breastfeeding.
🍼Skin-to-skin contact has been shown to support both the establishment and maintenance of breastfeeding, so try and add this into your feeding routine.
🍼Ensure both you & bub are comfortable and in the right position. Bub’s tummy facing yours, head in the crook of your arm or well supported, tilted slightly back with their nose pointed at your nipple. Then latch.
Getting the flow right right for your baby is key to successfully using the Minbie to support your breastfeeding. If your little one is used to a fast letdown they may find a slow paced nipple helpful because they can draw the milk at their own pace. Our kits and bundles come with at least 2 nipple sizes to help you find what works best for your baby. It's a case of trial and error so don’t give in too quickly Mom.