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Thread: Latch unresolvable??

  1. #1

    Default Latch unresolvable??

    I know there must be many similar threads out there but I wanted to know what you guys think of my story..

    I was blessed with my adorable dd over a month ago and began (trying to) bf as soon as I could after normal delivery. Wasn't sure how to go about it so called in 2 nurses (separately) to help but all I got was something like 'yeah, that looks fine' (with some adjustments to holding the baby), 'no it's not supposed to hurt' (no adjustments). Didn't seem like a big deal until I got home and the pain just got worse until we resorted to using a nipple shield to make it more bearable. It worked...for a while - then the pain was back even more, with bloody fleshy strings left over after dd was done. Then she wouldn't latch onto the breast (nipple confusion with breast shields??) - she'd try to latch then start crying and just wouldn't stay on. I was desperate so I expressed some and we gave her a bottle (one of those avent pro-bf ones). Fortunately I managed to get hold of an LC (thru the ped who was horrified at the sight of my scabbed, raw nipples). LC came home twice and helped to get dd back on the breast thank God, but the latch is still awful. She told me to keep relatching until dd gets it right but it never seems to work! I get frustrated and so does dd but my nipples always end up coming out looking flat or bleeding - i can even see where her lower jaw has been chomping near the base of the nipple.
    I don't know what to do...her mouth doesn't look too small but somehow she just can't or won't take in enough of the breast around the nipple - she starts out wide but her lower jaw always ends up too near the nipple. I use the nipple sandwich method as taught by the LC...trying the asymmetrical latch didn't work at all either (i've watched a hundred videos and read tons - if only it was before I gave birth!!)

    Any ideas? I've been through almost 5 weeks of it, cried, sighed, grinned thru the pain, almost given up and am so frustrated because there seems to be no improvement. Dh feels really awful about it too and wishes he could do something to help - nobody wants to resort to formula and my milk supply seems to be pretty good (baby is growing fast and pooping and peeing like anything). I suppose I shouldn't be looking at the 6 week mark with too many high hopes or the fall will be pretty hard if nothing improves!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011

    Default Re: Latch unresolvable??

    I feel your pain. I am in a similar situation with my 4 1/2 week old in that I cannot seem to get her latch better in spite of everything I try. I am going to call another IBCLC today to see if she has any other ideas to try and improve things. The last one told me that DD's mouth is simply too small and she needs to grow to make things better. I am so sorry that you are going through this as I know personally how hard it is. Thankfully I too have a good milk supply and DD is growing and gaining well. I wish I had some suggestions for you but I wanted to offer you at least some support and encouragement.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Latch unresolvable??

    Mama, I have been there and done that and I swear that it does get better. I know people throw out that tired old "it all gets better at 6 weeks" but that isn't always the case. When the baby is tiny and the latch is really bad and the wounds are really deep, it can take a much longer time to heal. It took me 4 and a half months for the deep cracks to close- but they did eventually close, and I went on to nurse my daughter for 3 joyous years. As the PP said, sometimes you just have to wait for the baby and her mouth to grow big enough to latch on deeply every single time.

    Your baby has been checked for tongue tie, right?

    ETA: here are some tips on dealing with severe cracks
    - See a lactation consultant, preferably an IBCLC. Nothing beats hands-on help, and maybe the IBCLC can help you troubleshoot the latch.
    - Rent a professional scale and do some weigh-feed-weigh tests on the baby to determine milk intake. When a baby has a marginal latch, milk transfer can be reduced, resulting in lowered supply. This can be a particular problem when using a shield, since shields can also reduce or slow milk transfer.
    - experiment with different nursing positions. Many moms have success with the football hold. I personally had the most luck with the side-lying position, since that allowed me to use both hands to assist the baby with her latch, since I didn't have to hold the breast.
    - keep the humidity in your house high. My cracks didn't heal until a steamy July with no air conditioning.
    - Use a combination of 1% hydrocortisone cream and Bacitracin antibiotic ointment on your cracks to combat inflammation and infection. Mix and apply using a clean finger, and use a pea-sized amount.
    - Hydrate the cracks before nursing by immersing your nipple in a shot glass full of warm water, or by soaking them with a sopping wet washcloth. Moist scabs tear open less painfully than dry ones.
    - google the "nipple sandwich" technique and try it out. It can really help you cram the maximum amount of breast into a tiny mouth.
    - give it time. I know that what you're dealing with is agonizing, but eventually it will end. I thought I'd be nursing on cracks for a whole year, but eventually they healed leaving no scars. I nursed my first LO for 3 years, and I know that things can get better even if you start at the absolute lowest low point.
    Last edited by @llli*mommal; May 31st, 2011 at 06:50 AM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Latch unresolvable??

    Thanks a lot for your support, mums!!

    mommal thanks for the tips, I believe dd has been checked for tongue-tie but I can confirm at the next visit to the ped - anyway she can stick her tongue out quite far so I'm hoping there's no problem there.

    I am using the nipple sandwich method to stuff it in her mouth - and I have to keep it sandwiched for her otherwise she starts slipping off. I've given up relatching - it doesn't work and just makes us both upset.
    Good thing is my nips are healing, no doubt I've noticed they've toughened up and the pain is becoming less excruciating (although I feel less positive after i've been chewed all the way through a never-ending growth spurt!)
    I guess it is a matter of time *braces oneself for 4 month-mark*

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011

    Default Re: Latch unresolvable??

    I would suggest having a good LC check for tongue tie. I had 3 LC's and a breastfeeding doc all tell me that my daughter did not have it and then the 4th told me that she absolutely did. I took her to see a pediatric ENT that I trust yesterday and he confirmed that she indeed had a tight frenulum and clipped it for me. It's too soon to tell whether or not it has had any benefit but just thought I would share our experience

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