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

  1. #1

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

    Hello, I have a three week old who I am trying to BF. After the first week my nipples were bleeding and cracked and I was crying and dreading every feeding. The LC told me to take a break from BF and pump/bottle feed (and supplement with formula because I'm not able to pump enough milk) until nipples healed. She said that the baby's 'gape' is not big enough to get enough of the breast. After a few days my nipples healed and I was to BF again but it was still extremely painful. THe LC suggested I BF once every 12 hours until the baby and I get used to it and then once every 8 hours etc. I tried for a few days but he's still only getting the nipple. Unfortunately, I have become so apprehensive of the pain that I am not BF at all. I am committed to giving him breastmilk but dread the thought of exclusive pumping. Any suggestions? Will his 'gape' get any bigger and when?

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Help: Baby's 'gape' not big enough

    How many LCs have you seen? Was this an IBCLC? or just one from the hospital?

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Help: Baby's 'gape' not big enough

    I agree about the question was it an IBCLC? They know much more. Most babies can manage even with the tiniest of mouths. Here are a couple things I'd try. First when getting LO to latch on first trace your nipple from the babe's nose to the chin until he/she open's his/her mouth wide and then bring baby to breast instead of trying to put breast in baby's mouth. Next I'd recommend lanolin. Apply it to your nipples after every feed. It will reduce the cracking and drying out. It's a life saver. Even though I don't think they are best you could try a nipple shield. That is at least better than EPing and you may be able to use it just long enough to get into the rhythm of BFing better. Don't give up! I promise BFing is a million times easier than EPing. I'm sure Susan can tell you that
    Melissa

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

    Sealed in the SLC Temple

    and and now CDing!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Default Re: Help: Baby's 'gape' not big enough

    Whoa. You are headed on a path to EPing, and it is downright HARD.

    Call an IBCLC TODAY. Or send one an e-mail. Someone needs to check your latch to make sure it is OK.

    I do have a question, because of what happened to me with all three of the ones who nursed....did the pain stop after a minute, or did it go the whole session? If it let up, to some extent, then this is what I call the 60 second sizzle. Whenever I latch a baby on --even with a good latch -- it hurts for the first minute. I always get super sore and even scab a bit and I know how to latch a baby on, and the last 2 had good latches. I have very sensitive skin. So what I am saying is that this still could be in the realm of OK, not great, but very fixable with time.

    But if you keep giving bottles, the chances of your baby coming back to the breast get smaller and smaller. And then your baby's first year will be taken over by thoughts of milk, trying to pump while baby needs to be held, stuck home because there is nowhere to pump, and then having a mobile baby mess with your pump while you aren't looking. These first weeks of BFing are hard, but nothing like what EPing IS.

    So...call that IBCLC
    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!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Re: Help: Baby's 'gape' not big enough

    with the PPs. Please see an IBCLC as soon as possible. There are ways to stuff more breast into a tiny mouth- google "nipple sandwich technique" and see what comes up.

    I know it's hard, but please do try to put the baby to the breast several times a day. I know it is painful, believe me! I lived with cracked nipples for a very long time with my first, and did do quite a lot of pumping and bottle-feeding in an attempt together my cracks to heal. But I always kept the baby on the breast part-time, and I am convinced that it helped her remember how to latch on and nurse when she was mostly bottle-fed.

    Are you currently cracked at all?
    Has your baby been checked for tongue-tie?
    When baby unlatches, what shape are your nipples- symmetrical, like pencil erasers, or asymmetrical/wedged/creased like new lipsticks?
    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!"

  6. #6

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

    Thank you for all the comments, its encouraging. To answer questions: I saw two LC before I was discharged from the hospital and then the one I visited (twice) was at the pediatrician's office. The pain lasts throughout the entire time he's latched and my nipples come out flattened. The baby has been checked for tongue tie and he's fine. I am not currently cracked, I think its all in my head at this point. He is waking up right now so I'll go give it another shot and then call a IBCLC.
    Last edited by @llli*wds; January 28th, 2012 at 11:51 AM.

  7. #7

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

    Update: BF for 15 min or so total (both breasts) today. The pain was manageable during the session but finally had to take him off when he wouldn't stop tugging and chewing. Other pain I have is burning in my breasts and shooting pains since then (4 -5 hours ago) and it also hurts to hold him to my chest. This is what I experience every time I nurse and am wondering if this is also the pain everyone mentions having at the beginning and just pushing through?

  8. #8

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

    I had this exact problem and called a local LLL leader. She told me about the asymmetric latch. You have the baby latch on so the nipple is pointing at the roof of their mouth. When they start to suck, the nipple gets pulled to the back of their mouth. Try to google it because there are videos on the web.

    The other thing that saved me is getting an Rx for all purpose nipple cream, which has to be compounded. It's around $60, but worth every penny. Healed my cracks in 12 hours, then I was home free. Good luck! Don't give up!!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    429

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

    That doesn't sound like the typical pain to me. I'd definitely talk to an IBCLC. And keep us updated
    Melissa

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

    Sealed in the SLC Temple

    and and now CDing!

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

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

    No, what you describe sounds to me like a latch problem for sure. While you can look at things online, a visit with an IBCLC will help a great deal and be worth every penny....Formula and EPing are expensive compared to even 3 visits with an IBCLC I spent about $2000 on EPing for my baby's first year. The hands on help can make a big difference.

    Some hospitals have IBCLC's on staff -- I know two personally who work in hospitals -- but they have so many moms to help that they often can't really help. So seeing one in a one on one basis will help you get advice pertinent to your situation.
    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!

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