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Thread: Help: Baby's 'gape' not big enough

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Northern BC, Canada

    Default Re: Help: Baby's 'gape' not big enough

    Do you have a local LLL group? Someone there may be able to help you as well.
    You can get through this!
    Have you tried a nipple shield? I had to use one for the first three months with my lo. They're relatively cheap and the new ones don't have the same issues as the older ones. You can find them in most drug stores! They take the pain away almost instantly (if you got the right size)

    July 30, 2010-6lbs 2oz- 41w 4d (emergency c-section.) Known dairy, eggs, dogs and cats allergies, eczema, and asthma
    Bonus June 22, 2006 (is 50/50 Custody ) (born 32w) Sensitive to changing temps.
    We BF, BW, Co-sleep and use cloth diapers/pull-ups!

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2011

    Default Re: Help: Baby's 'gape' not big enough


  3. #13

    Default Re: Help: Baby's 'gape' not big enough

    A flattened nipple means there's something not quite right going on in baby's mouth while he nurses. Definitely not run-of-the-mill nipple tenderness.

    One more question for you...

    At the beginning of a feeding, a baby nurses with short, choppy sucks that help trigger the letdown reflex and get the milk flowing. With the faster flow of milk baby's sucks get longer, his jaw opens more -- you can see the movement of his jaw all the way up in his temples -- and you can hear him swallowing (sort of "kh" noise every few sucks). Then the flow gradually slows down and at some point baby goes back to the shorter, less active motions with less swallowing.

    Do you notice any difference in how comfortable/painful it is during different stages of the feeding? How does it feel when he's actively nursing and swallowing?

  4. #14

    Default Re: Help: Baby's 'gape' not big enough

    I have the same problem with a small mouthed baby. However, I found that my technique is largely to blame for the cracked nipples because I have since managed to get apain-free latch on a few occasions (feels more like tugging).

    You should see an LC but I also found these videos helpful in improving my technique.


    It's really tough but hang in there. Good luck!

  5. #15

    Default Re: Help: Baby's 'gape' not big enough

    Hi Karen, it is slightly less painful once he gets going but I wouldn't say it ever gets comfortable. Next time I'll try to pay more attention to the stages, thanks for the explanation!

  6. #16

    Default Re: Help: Baby's 'gape' not big enough

    Update: I saw an IBCLC, she suggested I quit trying and said that I need to consider quality of life/balance etc and that I should at least pump and give him breastmilk through the end of the cold/flu season/winter.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Help: Baby's 'gape' not big enough

    Wow, seriously? Is that something you want to do? Because if not, I am sure that you can nurse this baby. It may be a struggle, but you can do it. And if you do, it will probably get much easier. I'm not saying that you SHOULD nurse, because you need to evaluate for yourself whether or not it's worthwhile. But sometimes people- even IBCLCs- will give us answers that they think will "fix" our problems. And that "fix" might be right, or might not be right.

    What would you like to do, mama? We'll help you in any way we can. And is it possible for you to see another IBCLC? Sometimes a different pair of eyes sees more keenly.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Help: Baby's 'gape' not big enough

    Update: I saw an IBCLC, she suggested I quit trying and said that I need to consider quality of life/balance etc and that I should at least pump and give him breastmilk through the end of the cold/flu season/winter.
    I have, on very rare occasions, found that moms are coming to me (as a LLL Leader, I am not a LC) basically 'seeking permision' to stop trying to breastfeed. They are well and truly done, for any number of reasons, and they make that clear to me, and their conflict comes from feelings of concern about others or their own expectations not being met. I try to make sure I discuss the situation with them very thoroughly, ask lots of questions, and while I may very well make the suggestion that they do let themselves off the hook, that mothering is more than how one feeds baby, I also do suggest options for continuing should they feel differently about things the next day, or after taking a break, or getting some sleep, that kind of thing. Sometimes moms are done TODAY but feel differently about it in a week. If mom has kept up her milk supply by pumping and fed baby in a way that may cut down on nipple confusion, that helps in that case.

    So I am wondering what ELSE the IBCLC said, if anything. Was this a private practice IBCLC? How long was the appointment? It should have been at least an hour. Did she ask lots of questions, take a full history? Did she watch you nurse? Did she examine baby's mouth and your breasts? Did she offer any other suggestions, tips, ideas, anything for working on the pain? Did she give you a written plan for pumping, tips for how to feed baby? Most importantly, did you feel listened to? Were the comments you posted her only suggestion or was it presented as one option?

    I think it IS true that quality of life and balance should be considered, when making any parenting choices. But if you would prefer to breastfeed, and want to keep working on it, I fail to see how pumping only is going to help with quality of life at this point. (Although I can see how it may help short term, for healing) if I understand the situation properly, your baby CAN nurse, but nursing is causing nipple pain. This is not usually an unsolvable issue. But if you do not feel positively about trying to nurse any longer, then pumping is a solutuion that may indeed work well for you, and no need to put a limit or an expectation on how long you will pump.

    Also, looking back at the thread I do not see this suggested- have you tried laid back postioning? This type of positioning often help many baby's more or less self attach and the concern that "baby won't gape wide enough to latch" becomes much less important. Some babies DO 'nipple nurse' and if it does not hurt and in that case, and if baby gets enough, it's fine. In laid back positions gravity is working for you so small mouths and shallow latches are sometimes less of an issue.

    laid back http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfeeding.pdf

    and http://www.biologicalnurturing.com/

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Default Re: Help: Baby's 'gape' not big enough

    EPing is very, very hard. I will tell you how to do it if you choose that, but it is harder than breastfeeding becomes in the long run.

    And I too am wondering what else the LC said.
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    In Peace

    Default Re: Help: Baby's 'gape' not big enough

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*aprilsmagic View Post
    And I too am wondering what else the LC said.

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