Is it possible for a baby to direct latch once they have been introduced to a bottle?
If a bottle was introduced when breastfeeding is not yet well established, a baby MAY have difficulty to direct latch again.
This is because both bottle feeding and breastfeeding have different mechanisms. (Refer to my previous post)
If a baby refuses to direct latch, the two most important things to do first would be:
to feed your baby using an alternative feeding method
to protect your supply: by expressing your milk regularly.
It not an easy process for a baby to direct latch again, but it is POSSIBLE. Here are a few things you can try.
Practice lots of skin to skin or just cuddle your baby. Remember, you can never spoil your baby by holding him too much! This is to get baby being comfortable at the breast.
Ensure that you are positioning him correctly, ie: baby tummy to tummy with you, head tilted slightly back with his nose pointed at your nipple.
Always talk to your baby and praise him when he takes the right steps. Never scold your baby for not latching! Your baby can sense that you are frustrated and angry and will refuse the breast even more!
Try to do breast massage or express/pump for a while before feeds, so that baby is instantly ‘rewarded’ for his efforts.
Attempt to direct latch when baby is showing hunger cues such as sucking his fingers, rather than waiting until he cries and is upset.
Most importantly, please get help from a Lactation Counsellor or Consultant if you have trouble to direct feed, as you may have latching issues that have not been addressed in the first place (e.g: tongue tie, inverted nipple, position, etc) before starting your baby on the bottle.
Hope this helps!