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Thread: can you teach a 9 week old how to latch

  1. #1

    Default can you teach a 9 week old how to latch

    I have a 9 week old who is not latching on right and it really hurts. Both a LC and an OB/Gyn (who didn't look at me just told her I was in pain and she prescribed canadian nipple ointment) said I had a yeast infection. My DD has no sign of yeast (just left the peds office) and I've been driving myself crazy with a no sugar no carbs diet for the last week. Anyway upon some more research I came across a post about vasospasm and how a poor latch can cause it. After my DD comes off the breast my nipple is severly creased and turns white at the tip. When I went to see the LC she really didn't help me, she lached my DD on using her hands and not allowing me to do it myself so I still don't know what to do. Does anyone have any suggestions to help me. I do think she's not opening her mouth wide enough and her lips don't look like a fish. I hope I'm not too late in teaching her.help ty.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: can you teach a 9 week old how to la

    Welcome! It's totally not too late to get a better latch. Things will probably improve even if you do absolutely nothing- small babies have small mouths and even at the best of times they can have trouble achieving a perfect latch. But babies grow and their mouths grow, and eventually they can get a deeper "bite" of breast each time, without much assistance from mom.

    Can you tell us a bit more about how nursing is going? When the baby latches on, is it painful? Does the pain persist throughout the feeding, or does it cease after a 10-30 seconds? Are you cracked or blistered at all? Has anyone checked the baby for oral thrush?

  3. #3

    Default Re: can you teach a 9 week old how to la

    According to my ped she's getting enough milk was born 5lb 6oz and weighed in today at 9lb 2oz. As far as her latching on it used to be excrusiating I wanted to cry but now it's not so bad. It only hurts sometimes when she's nursing. The real pain comes afterwards. My nipples will be creased (like flatened) and I have scab like skin on the tips. I had her checked last week and today for oral thrush and the ped said she has nothing. hope this helps if you need some more info please let me know. Ty for all your help.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: can you teach a 9 week old how to la

    Does this sound like a possibility: http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/mom/...blanching.html

    If your nipples are shaped more or less like new lipsticks when baby unlatches, the problem is likely to be a shallow latch. And compression from a shallow latch can cause vasospasms, which can cause pain after nursing. Vasospasm is often mistaken for thrush!

  5. #5

    Default Re: can you teach a 9 week old how to la

    What can you do to fix a shallow latch?

  6. #6

    Default Re: can you teach a 9 week old how to la

    Hey momma! My DS is 6 weeks old and we've had some of the same issues. It does sound like a shallow latch, I am still working really hard to get DS to latch deeply enough to not be uncomfortable and not have vasospasms afterwards. I have to hold his head while I make a sandwich with my breast and literally almost bury his face in breast to get a deep latch that doesn't hurt. This is how my LC taught me to do it. Most times I have to pull off and relatch several times to get it. One thing I was doing wrong when latching was when I made My sandwich with breast I was holding too close to the end of it, my LC told me I shouldn't be touching the areola at all, that way enough breast tissue can go in his mouth. Sometimes we are great for a week or a few days and spasms start back and we have to really work on latch again. Heat helps the spasms not hurt so bad. Maybe a visit with a different LC who will help you learn the latch and Not just do it for you. Good Luck and don't give up!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: can you teach a 9 week old how to la

    I agree with previous posters. Certainly latch can be improved-at any time! But just FYI, thrush is sometimes asymptomatic in the infant, so seeing no sign of thrush in the infant means little. (But if it is thrush, both mom and baby need treatment.) On the other hand, thrush is way over-diagnosed and I agree with you and mommal, what you are describing sounds more like a shallow latch & perhaps a resulting vasospasm. (And of course, if one is unlucky, one can have both shallow latch and thrush.) What was the LC seeing that made her think it was thrush?

    Other ideas: Shallow latch is caused by many things, so how to fix it would depend on what exactly is going on. For example, if it’s that baby has a small mouth or needs to open up more, different positioning, helping baby 'gape' by brushing baby's lips (upper and/or lower, try both) with your nipple, the breast sandwich technique described in pp, etc. all certainly may help baby get a better latch-but if baby has tongue tie and/or palate issues, rare but a possibility, then baby may be physically incapable of a comfortable latch & may need a frenulum clip and those other things will not do much (but may help a bit.) If you suspect this, then you need a doctor or LC who knows how to check for all types of tt to examine baby. Also, some moms find that cranial facial therapy or other adjustments (there are few different kinds I am frankly not up on) are helpful when baby has a particular difficulty latching comfortably. But this requires seeing another practitioner aside from your LC, usually, and certainly may not be needed, just throwing out ideas.

    LC's are just like any other practitioner. Some are better than others, and even a very good LC may not be the perfect one for YOU. If you were not happy with your first LC, can you can see a different one? A professional LC appt should take time-at least an hour. You should feel listened too, you, your body & baby respected, comfortable and and not rushed. If at all possible, an entire nursing session should be observed. If latch is the issue, the LC should be helping mom learn to latch her baby comfortably, not only putting baby on for mom. Not everything can always be solved in a single appt, but in any case a follow up plan should be given.

    If you saw a LC at a hospital or if she is working for a government agency or some type of health care facility, she may be over-scheduled through no fault of her own, and unable to give the time needed for a difficult latch issue. A private practice LC may have more time per appt. Also, you have a right to know what the LC’s training and experience is, no matter where you see her. ANYONE can call themselves a lactation consultant. If your LC is International Board Certified (IBCLC,) that tells you she has a certain standard of training & education and is required to keep her knowledge reasonably current. However, imo there are some outstanding LCs who are not board certified and unfortunately, a few IBCLCs who are not so great. In the best case scenario, I suggest moms talk to at least two and hopefully more LCs on the phone before deciding who to hire for an appt.

    If you cannot see an LC, what about a local LLL Leader? Leaders are volunteers and do not have the kind of education & training an IBCLC does, so do not expect from a Leader what you would from a professional you have hired. On the other hand, we are free. A rare few Leaders do home visits, or you might be able to attend a meeting and work with one there. I suggest contacting the Leader first, if your local meeting is well-attended, she might want to meet with you shortly before or after the meeting to give you some one on one time. Just talking things out with a Leader on the phone often helps a lot. Again, if you don’t like the first Leader you call, call another, in your area or anywhere.

    Over and over, I have seen positioning changes help with a painful/shallow latch. Laid back positioning (biological nurturing) is often particularly helpful. You can also try nursing standing up or side lying. If you have been using a nursing pillow, try nursing without it, and vice versa. (This does not mean you will always need to be in these positions to nurse this is just to fix the immediate issue of painful latch, once that is achieved, you can begin to experiment with other positions.) Try latching when baby is calm and relaxed- try latching baby when baby is asleep or just waking. Babies can and do nurse in their sleep. If baby is crying when attempting to latch, try to calm baby and try again, and next time, try nursing at the earliest cues, or even prior to any cues. There is no ‘wrong way’ to do this. Try anything you hear of or can think of. If something you try hurts worse, stop, if it seems a bit better, keep going in that direction.

    As previous poster noted, sometimes mom is inadvertently doing something that makes it difficult for baby to latch, fingers supporting the breast getting in the way is a common one, others are pushing on back of babies head (many babies push right back) and cradling baby so his chin is tucked or holding baby in such a way he has to turn his head to nurse. Sit down and slowly drink a glass of water, and think about what your body is doing naturally. Most likely, your head is tilted, so your chin is up & your neck open, rather than your chin tilted down into your chest. You are facing the glass, likely with your entire body. This gives you a basic idea of how to position baby to nurse. HOW this is best achieved likely depends on where you are nursing and how you and your baby fit together best.

    How a latch looks is largely irrelevant, descriptions of what a good latch looks like are just guidelines. Some babies do not havee lips that flange, or never gape, they may even ‘nipple nurse’ and it feels just fine to mom & baby is getting plenty of milk so all is good. Other times, a latch looks great and mom is in agony, so that latch obviously needs adjusting. Go by how it feels.

    Article on positioning and latch: http://www.llli.org/faq/positioning.html

    Ameda Latch-On video–about 5 minutes long, partly animated: Latch video: http://www.ameda.com/resources/video

    Laid Back Breastfeeding Video http://www.biologicalnurturing.com/video/bn3clip.html

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