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Thread: Is it me?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    12

    Exclamation Is it me?

    I've posted before about the pain I feel when my son (now 5 weeks old) latches on. I saw a lactation consultant about a week and a half ago for help with his latch, and I was able to replicate her suggestions during the consultation. Since then, though, I have a really hard time getting him to latch properly at home. He is getting enough milk -- gaining weight well and having lots of poopy and wet diapers -- but it's still painful when he latches on. Sometimes it subsides after 30 seconds or so, but sometimes it just continues. I can't seem to get him to open wide like the LC showed me -- I've even read a bunch of articles and watched a couple of videos on latch-on and still can't get it.

    I usually just do the "cross cradle" hold. I tried the "laid-back" position today, thinking that might help, but it actually hurt a little more (and I can't see his latch in that position).

    I feel like I should have the latch/positioning down by now and not sure what else I can do. Any advice is appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    10,440

    Default Re: Is it me?

    If it abates after 30 seconds, it's ok. If it goes longer, unlatch and try again
    Susan
    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!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    21,006

    Default Re: Is it me?

    5 weeks is still so young! I know a lot of people will blithely say "Oh, everything gets better at 6 weeks!" like it works that way for everyone. And it doesn't. Many people see improvement by the 6 week mark, or before. And plenty of women have to wait longer. It took me months- but I had awful cracks. The fact that you don't suggests that it's not going to be months before you're able to nurse without that 30-second sizzle.

    Has anyone suggested the nipple sandwich technique to you? That can be really helpful when you're trying to cram a lot of breast into a tiny newborn mouth.
    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!"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,479

    Default Re: Is it me?

    Keep trying different positions. I am convinced positioning is 90% of the game when it comes to a comfortable latch. As far as laid back, how laid back were you? Laid back can mean even slightly reclined and baby can be in any position-longitudinal, angled, cross cradle, whatever you like. So you should be able to come up with a laid back position that allows you to see the latch. The idea with laid back is to make mom more comfortable and supported and allow gravity to bring baby into the nipple rather than pulling off it.
    With laid back, what often happens is it facilitates baby to self attach, so it can become less neccesary to control the latch-on so much. If it hurts when baby latches, adjust baby around a bit, sometimes it just a matter of shifting baby's bottom or body a bit. Or if necc. take baby entirely off and try again. I assume LC showed you how to unlatch baby without yanking baby off? Very important, as pulling baby off can cause nipple damage.

    If you like being able to see everything the football hold is good for that. This can be modified to a laid back positon as well. Also some moms find they can use laid back during the session but prefer to get baby latched on while sitting up and then relax back.

    Are you using a nursing pillow? If you are, make sure it is not putting baby at the breast at an unnaturally high level, and that it does not have a dip or crevice that baby might angle down into and thus pull the nipple down. (Boppies have this and they can make latch uncomfortable)

    It sounds like the LC helped but you are having trouble replicating that. Sometimes it is very helpful to see your LC again to fine tune everything. Follow ups are usually shorter appts so are usually cheaper.

    Likely you saw the Ameda latch video, I think it explains 'deep' or asymetric latch very well. But remember it does not matter how latch looks but how it feels to you. Some babies nipple nurse, have very shallow latches, and it does not hurt mom at all.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    429

    Default Re: Is it me?

    Totally agree that the 30 second pain is completely normal at 5 weeks and what you should expect. And of course its not you. This is a learning curve that both you and your baby are going through. Sometimes I actually gently pull open my baby's mouth a bit more by putting my thumb on her chin. Not sure if this would be advised but its what my instincts said to do. Don't give up mama
    Melissa

    Young SAHM of
    Afton (A1) (1/24/09) and
    Autumn (A2) (8/29/11)

    Sealed in the SLC Temple

    and and now CDing!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    1,110

    Default Re: Is it me?

    I agree with pulling off baby and trying again, even if it means doing that several times. I did this with DD1 and sometimes if I was lazy, DH was very good at reminding me to do it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    COUGARTOWN Baby! From here on in!
    Posts
    17,448

    Default Re: Is it me?

    I had blood curdling pain when my child initially latched on for the first four months then it just stopped. It was worse on one side. And it felt like steel pins with coming through my nipple. I was often a little surprised there wasn't blood in his mouth. All that to say no you are not alone. It's not just you. Initial latch is hard for a lot of people initially and 5 weeks is still very very young.

    Way too lazy for formula

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    81

    Default Re: Is it me?

    Still experiencing latching pain at 8 weeks, but it s definetly improving. I believe it will get better. Hang in there, everybody says it s worth it!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Is it me?

    Thanks for the replies, everyone. I think I will see the LC again - at least to fine-tune his latch. It sometimes feels OK after 30 or so seconds, but other times is excruciating, no matter how many times I take him off and re-latch. I've been doing the "nipple sandwich", trying to get him to open wider, etc. Both nipples are cracked, too - kind of like a gash down the middle of them - which isn't helping the pain. I do keep telling myself it will get better.

    This is my second child, and I only lasted 5 weeks breastfeeding my first (I had other issues then -- use of nipple shield, low supply, baby not gaining, going back to work stress, etc.). I'm determined to continue breastfeeding this one and am glad I found this forum this time around!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,006

    Default Re: Is it me?

    Ah, the gash in the middle of the nipple! OUCH! .

    BTDT, mama, and it hurts like a bear. Here are some things that can help:
    - Keep working on the latch, experiment with different nursing positions, see the IBCLC.
    - Moist healing. Use lanolin ointment or hydrogel pads.
    - Immerse nipples in a shot glass full of warm water for 30-60 second before nursing. The water will hydrate the scabs on the cracks, which will make it less painful when they re-open.
    - Keep the humidity in your house as high as possible.
    - Use a mix of 1% hydrocortisone cream and Bacitracin ointment on your nipples to help combat inflammation and infection. Use a pea-sized amount, mixed and applied using a clean finger.
    - Be patient! Time should eventually take care of this problem. It did for me- as my baby's mouth grew, she became better able to get a deep "bite" of breast every time she latched.
    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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