My babe is 3 months today and exclusively breastfed although it took us a little to get there! He was in the NICU (one arm was nuchal and the other posterior during birth) for his first 11 days and didn't go to breast until he was 8 days old. He was given bottles of breastmilk/formula when I wasn't meeting his needs.
He has a very tense jaw and seems to clamp down from the moment he latchs until he is done.
My nipples constantly feel raw/sore and are very sensitive to any fabric touching them. From the outside his latch looks good (although one LC did comment that he seemed to be sliding down after the initial latch). He's gaining well and is satisfied after feeds.
Any advice on how I can get him to relax his jaw/take more breast in? After 3 months I'm ready to stop being sore!
Have you tried laid-back breastfeeding? Mom is reclined, almost lying down. Baby is on mom's chest. Everyone is unclothed (diaper for baby). Baby-led latch. You can support baby's head with your upper arm. You can put a pillow under your arm to support it. You can read more about it and see pictures in The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding 2010 ed. or online (also called biological nurturing). Many moms have found this can really help latch problems!
Latching in any position with skin-on-skin (mom bare-chested, baby down to diaper) can really help!
You can also have your baby checked for mouth problems like tongue tie, if you haven't yet. This might be affecting his ability to latch and maintain a latch. You could start with a LLL leader or a board-certified lactation consultant (make sure she has IBCLC after her name!).
My LO also had a really tense jaw/shallow latch. I found that putting a little coconut oil on my fingers and then lightly massaging her jaws helped. I also would massage the backs of her legs too (her hamstrings). One of the LCs that I talked to said that young babies tend to have tight hamstrings due to positioning in the womb. Based on a theory that everything is connected, tight legs puts strain on the back, then the neck, then the jaw, etc. I know, not exactly scientific, but when you're desperate -as long as it's not harmful, it's worth a shot! I found it helped anyway. The other thing you could look into is chiropractic or craniosacral therapy, though I don't have any personal experience with that to share. Hubby was against it, so I didn't try them.
I just noticed you're in Ottawa - if you're interested in having your LO checked for tongue and lip tie as the PP suggested, Dr. Fayad at Chapman-Mills Dental is very knowledgeable. He released my LO's ties, and I can't say enough good things about them there http://chapmanmillsdental.com/
I've seen to LC's and his ped, none of them suspect a tongue or lip tie (it was the first thing they checked when i mentioned the issue).
We did a lot of skin to skin after he came home (in an attempt to recreate the bonding time we didn't get after his birth). Haven't done a ton of it lately, I'll see if it helps.
We've tried laid back feeding and i can't seem to get in a good position... no matter how many pillows i use! He always seems to be about to roll off the side or comes up gasping because he has face planted into my breast.
We did cranial sacral once when he was about a month, but haven't been back since. My husbands not to keen on it (time and money reasons). But I think I'll book another appointment.
Hadn't thought of massaging him or the coconut oil. I'll give those a try! Thanks!