If you notice that your baby appears fussy and resists breastfeeding from time to time, you will benefit from some of the calming tips offered here. Have you ever noticed that if your baby begins a feeding in a very fussy state, it usually worsens the longer you keep trying to put them to the breast. In a few minutes, this can escalate from fussiness to just outright refusing to latch on and feed. When this happens, just take a step back, breathe and try some of the following suggestions before continuing the feeding:
1. Some babies who are flailing their arms and legs can benefit from and enjoy being swaddled. It is worth it to experiment with swaddling your baby at different times of the day. Being held securely in a blanket gives some babies a sense of security and calmness. Here is just one example that shows how to swaddle your baby.
2. While some babies like to be swaddled, some have just too much going on with an undershirt and an outfit and socks. I encourage you to take off their clothes and bring the baby to skin to skin. Your body is a great warmer and your baby will respond to this closeness by calming down, regulating their breathing, body temperature, regulating their heart rate and providing a sense of calmness. If the room is chilly, you can place a warmed blanket over both of you.
3. Talk or sing to your baby, using a soft voice. Combining this with cuddling, holding and even walking while holding your baby. Providing close contact and cuddling until your baby calms down is a better option than trying again and again to latch a baby on when they are resisting.
4. Perhaps your baby is overstimulated. Nursing in a quiet and darkened room, away from the activity of a busy household and away from the television, computer, or people talking on the phone, can help baby to calm down and relax for a breastfeeding.
5. If your baby is fussy at the beginning of a feeding, you might try checking for a soiled diaper. Some babies have a hard time settling in for a feeding without a clean and dry diaper.
6. Most parents are use to offering their babies an opportunity to burp in between sides or when a breastfeeding session is over. You might try offering a burp before a feeding as this discomfort can make a baby resist a feeding.
7. When the fussiness or crying has escalated and is creating anxiety for you, sometimes the best thing to do is to just STOP what you are doing. Try drinking a glass of water, taking a deep breath and cuddle with your baby in a rocking chair.
8. My favorite calming technique: Babywearing. There is just no doubt about it. Babies love to be held. Babies respond beautifully to being held close to you in a wrap. Once you get the hang of using a wrap, you can practice breastfeeding with your baby in the wrap. This is the ultimate baby soother. To learn more about wraps or slings, read this: http://www.aabreastfeedinghelpinaz.com/sleepy-wraps-the-best-thing-since-sliced-bread/
9. Baby massage can be a wonderful and calming soother for both mom and baby. Their are some gentle massage techniques that you can easily learn from searching the internet or from reading a book. Local Arizona moms are lucky to have Tammy Roecker, a popular licensed massage therapist with tons of experience in teaching baby massage classes. Tammy can be reached at http://www.perinatalpartner.com/Infant_Massage.html
10. Prevention is often the key to many issues. You will want to be sure that your baby is not in any pain, restricted by any clothing, and has a clean diaper. Some babies are fussy because they are not getting enough food per feeding or interestingly enough, they are getting too much food per feeding. Regular weight checks will highly any possible issues in this area. It is helpful to keep baby close to you so that you can see their hunger cues before they have reached the crying stage. Offering your baby the breast when they are just beginning to rouse may offset any difficulties getting baby to relax before a feeding.
While it is normal for babies to have some level of fussiness, before and after feedings, this can usually be resolved in less than 15 -20 minutes. Anything to an excess should be brought to the attention of your healthcare provider. The above tips are just some of the ones that I have felt helpful to share, I welcome your input on what techniques you have found that works well for you. I can compile a list and add it to the next post.