Why is my baby a lazy feeder?

We are a survivalist species. Our babies are born with instincts to survive. They cry when they are put down because they know they are vulnerable to temperature and can’t feed themselves. They use their senses to find their food source and are familiar with their parents over strangers by sound and smell. They have reflexes to help them learn critical motor patterns for development.

When a baby isn’t feeding well, it isn’t because they are lazy. Lazy is a character trait for someone who volitionally doesn’t want to do something. If a baby didn’t feed well, historically that baby may not survive. We need to find the reason why they aren’t feeding well and address that.

Reasons a baby may not feed well at birth may include:
⏱️Prematurity. When a baby is born before 36 weeks, there is often a lot of support and expectation set that baby may need time to learn to feed. But 37 and 38 weekers are the great pretenders. They look like full term babies but often don’t feed like them. They may need 4-6 additional weeks to figure out how to feed because they really needed those extra few weeks to practice sucking and swallowing in utero without the expectation to coordinate swallowing as well
💊Medications. Medications cross the placenta to baby, and while most are safe, babies can have withdrawal symptoms from certain meds after birth, making them sleepy. These could be medications given during labor and delivery or even medications mother was taking during pregnancy. As these medications clear from baby’s system, they will perk up. Other medications, like SSRIs, can continue to make babies sleepy
👅Tongue and lip tie. The tongue needs to move in and out, side to side, and up and down. Babies need to protrude the tongue over the gums and keep it out while pumping the tongue up and down to effectively move milk from the breast. Ties can restrict this movement and make it challenging to feed.

If your baby isn’t feeding well and you’re being told they’re lazy, ask why. That isn’t a valid reason. If you’re struggling to feed your baby, work with a baby feeding expert: the IBCLC lactation consultant. #newmom #newborncaretips #prematurityawareness #prematurity


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