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Thread: gumming it instead of sucking

  1. #1

    Question gumming it instead of sucking

    since birth (4 days ago) DS has been gumming/biting the breast instead of sucking. LC said to use a breast sheild but it doesn't seem t be working and DS hates it. I know he has the ability to suck cz when i put my finger in his mouth he sucks. How do I get him to suck at the breast also?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: gumming it instead of sucking

    Welcome! Is your baby nursing at the breast, or are you currently feeding him some other way? The reason I ask is that gumming can cover a lot of territory- it would help us to know if you're just () suffering from a difficult latch, or if your baby is actually not sucking when he nurses.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: gumming it instead of sucking

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommal View Post
    Welcome! Is your baby nursing at the breast, or are you currently feeding him some other way? The reason I ask is that gumming can cover a lot of territory- it would help us to know if you're just () suffering from a difficult latch, or if your baby is actually not sucking when he nurses.
    he has been on the breast since birth but I did not realize at the time that it was not right (after 4 years I forgot the sensation). A nurse pointed it out to me when she put her finger in his mouth. Once it was pointed out I realized it didn't feel right. He is currently getting breast at each feeding then some feedings are being supplemented with formula from hubby via syringe. We are supplementing because he was a large baby (10 lbs at birth) and lost too much weight too quickly. I think his latch is also too shallow which I'm also working on. I just don't know how to get him to suck instead of biting me.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: gumming it instead of sucking

    So when he nurses, does it feel okay? Does it matter if you use the shield or not- that is, does it feel okay to nurse even without the shield? Because it is very possible to have a latch that looks bad and feels good, or one that looks good but feels bad- and what really matters is how the latch feels. A latch that feels good almost always is good.

    But it sounds like you are having pain, right? If so, there's normal pain and there's problematic pain. Normal pain generally lasts less than a minute when baby latches on, and does not come with damage to the nipple. Problematic pain may last throughout the feeding and even after the feeding is over, and tends to be accompanied by damage (like cracking or blistering) to the nipple. The nipple may also appear misshapen after feedings, appearing wedged or ridged, rather like the shape of a brand-new lipstick.

    Generally the best thing you can do when a baby has a troublesome latch is to see a lactation consultant, preferably an IBCLC, as soon as possible. Nothing beats hands-on help, and it is worth every penny! If that is not an option, you may find that a technique called the "nipple sandwich" may help cram more breast into your baby's tiny mouth. (You can google it.). You may also want to have your baby checked for tongue-tie- that can prevent a baby from achieving an ideal latch.

    Big babies don't necessarily require supplementation, though weight loss >10% of birthweight does indicate that supplementation is a good idea. Did you happen to have IV fluids during your birth? Sometimes moms who have IV fluids give birth to babies who are bloated with fluid from mom's IV. The fluid weight is quickly excreted, making neonatal weight loss appear more severe than it really is. Is that a possible explanation for your baby's rapid weight loss?
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  5. #5

    Default Re: gumming it instead of sucking

    I'll be going in for the well baby check-up so I can ask her to show me the "nipple sandwich". There is some pain during the feeding but I figured it was from him gumming me. There is slightly less pain with the shield but I think it's only because he's not "biting" directly onto my skin. When the nurses discovered the weight problem he had lost 9% of his weight. I was getting IV fluids during the c-sec but I only had it in for a couple of hours before the surgery.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: gumming it instead of sucking

    At the high end for normal weight loss but still not necessarily a huge problem, especially when IV fluids are in the mix.

    Can you nurse without the shield, or is it just too painful? The reason I ask is that shields can sometimes hinder milk transfer from mama to baby, leading to longer feedings and possibly to decreased milk supply and increased need for supplements. This is why the recommendation- rarely followed- is to use a shield only with guidance from a lactation consultant.

    When baby comes off the breast, what does your nipple look like? Symmetrical, like a pencil eraser, or asymmetrical or wedged, like a new lipstick?

    And please let us know how things go at the well-baby check-up!
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  7. #7

    Default Re: gumming it instead of sucking

    the shield helps only in that I have less pain when he "bites" but the milk doesn't come out well so I stopped using it.

    my nipple comes out looking fairly symmetrical after nursing.

    At the well baby visit he had lost a little more weight but DS has been nursing almost non-stop today when we were at home. I wasn't really given much help to stop the biting or increase the sucking.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: gumming it instead of sucking

    Okay, that actually sounds like at least some aspects of your nursing experience are okay. When your nipple looks symmetrical after nursing, that indicates that the baby's latch is on the better end. A lipstick-shaped nipple would be an indicator of a shallow latch, and of compression of the nipple.

    Sometimes a baby has a problematic suck, and has trouble transferring milk. Since you have symmetrical nipples after nursing, I wonder if this might not be the problem, rather than a shallow latch issue. It's why I am so glad you stopped using the shield- they can really impede milk transfer. I think based on what you've posted, I would really want to seek help from a lactation consultant, preferably an IBCLC.

    How's your baby's diaper output? Is he having the normal amount and color of wet and poopy diapers?
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  9. #9

    Default Re: gumming it instead of sucking

    I went and saw an LC but she did not addess the sucking problem. She was concerned with DS's weight loss and focused on how to get it back up. I still don't know how to get him to suck better. How do you teach something to a 2 week old that should have been automatic for him? I won't be able to see the LC again next Fri.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: gumming it instead of sucking

    If you google "suck training" you should get a lot of links. I don't know much aout this- here's what LLLi has to say about it: http://www.llli.org/nb/nbjulaug01p136.html

    The one thing that jumps out at me from a casual perusal of some of those links is tongue-tie. Has your baby ever been checked for that? It can prevent the tongue from moving properly and generating a good suckle...
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

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