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Q&A: Nipple Confusion?

What is nipple confusion? Is it real?
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By Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA, Lactation Specialist
Updated January 30, 2017
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Nipple confusion is the term some people use to describe the difficulty some babies have trying to breastfeed after being fed by a bottle. It happens in some babies and not others. Nipple confusion is most likely to happen in the first few weeks of life, and some say it is most likely when the mother has flat or inverted nipples because exposure to a firm, protruding bottle nipple changes a baby’s expectations. Because your baby won’t be born with a label telling you whether or not he’s susceptible to nipple confusion, many lactation consultants recommend avoiding bottles before four to six weeks of age if possible. After several weeks of nursing, nipple confusion is much less likely to be an issue.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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