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Thread: Baby opens mouth big but closes down on nipple

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Newburyport, Ma
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    Default Baby opens mouth big but closes down on nipple

    Hi,

    My baby and I are in the process of weaning from the nipple shield. She is 5 weeks. I have been using the cross cradle position to wean her, compressing my breast from below and waiting for her to open her mouth before putting my nipple in. Things were going well at first but now she doesn't seem to want to take the breast in very far. She will suck well a few times, then begin to close her mouth until she is hurting my nipple. I have to break the latch most of the time and she is becoming frustrated (as am I). I do have a pretty intense let down and possible oversupply (no doubt from the nipple shield) but even when I start her on the shield and remove it, she seems to behave the same way. When she is feeding I hear a lot of clucking and clicking noises and she clamps down then too. Is this her way of resisting the transition? She gets mad at the breast but she sometimes does this with the shield too. I am beginning to worry that I won't be able to wean her from the shield.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Baby opens mouth big but closes down on nipple

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    Karen
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Default Re: Baby opens mouth big but closes down on nipple

    That sounds like what my three babies have all done during the initial letdown (I have a crazy fast and big letdown). I have found it helpful to let my babies suckle until the letdown starts, then pull them off and catch the spray in a towel, then put them back to the breast when the flow has slowed to a more manageable pace. This wait really frustrated one of my babies, but the other two have been fine with it. If you could try it for a little while (maybe just a few sessions), it might give you some information about whether a fast letdown is the problem. Does she stay farther on the breast during other times in the nursing session?

    I don't have any experience with a nipple shield, though, so I can't offer any insights about the transition away from it. Hopefully some others will chime in soon.
    Teal

    25 May 96 and 14 January 08 and 27 February 2012

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    209

    Default Re: Baby opens mouth big but closes down on nipple

    It sounds like you have forceful letdown. Do you feel your let down? Can you tell when it is about to happen? I have OALD and am very aware of when it is happening. For awhile in the beginning my DD would choke a bit during initial letdown, would clamp down really hard or completely change to a poor latch. I found it helped to take her off as soon (and I mean right away) as I felt the first signs of letdown, let the initial stream spill into a towel then get her back on asap. She would sometimes get mad when I took her off, but not always and we were much more successful overall. It was a little awkward at first, but got smoother quickly. Eventually she learned to deal with the letdown by clamping in a way that didn't hurt. My supply evened out a bit, she got bigger and she became more skilled at dealing with the OALD so now I don't even have to worry about taking her off. She just knows now to let some spill out. Also, she clicks / clucks while breastfeeding almost all the time. I have no idea if this helps at all, but I thought it couldn't hurt to share. I have no experience with a nipple shield so maybe someone else on here who does will have better advice. Good luck. It is so difficult and frustrating to have a hungry baby mad at the breast.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Baby opens mouth big but closes down on nipple

    LOL, Duckpond, we must have been simultaneously typing. I posted then saw yours. Great minds think alike

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Baby opens mouth big but closes down on nipple

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*m11612 View Post
    LOL, Duckpond, we must have been simultaneously typing. I posted then saw yours. Great minds think alike
    Teal

    25 May 96 and 14 January 08 and 27 February 2012

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    5,473

    Default Re: Baby opens mouth big but closes down on nipple

    Is this her way of resisting the transition? She gets mad at the breast but she sometimes does this with the shield too. I am beginning to worry that I won't be able to wean her from the shield.
    I think it is more likely that she is having difficulty with the flow, or difficulty latching without the shield, not resisting.
    Weaning from a shield takes time, it takes patience, but as long as whatever initial issue there was that made the nipple shield needed has been resolved or is resolving, you will be able to wean baby off the shield. I have personal exp with using a shield and I know how frustrating this process can be, but remember that nursing with a shield is vastly superior to pumping and bottle feeding on many different levels. Take your time, don't push it, and remember anytime baby takes the breast, even for a second, without the sheild is a step in the right direction.

    There is an article on kellymom about nipple shields and weaning off. She also has good tips for forceful letdown. Sorry my links are not working so you will have to go to kellymom.com and search. I think some of the tips in the kellymom article "Help-my baby won't nurse" might be helpful as well if not exactly on point.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Newburyport, Ma
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    Default Re: Baby opens mouth big but closes down on nipple

    She doesn't seem to have a problem latching without the shield but I think she may clamp because she was able to clamp with the nipple shield without me noticing. She does clamp at the beginning of the feed but she does it at other times too. It is very stressful and she is getting progressively more angry about it too. I break the latch often but she doesn't seem to be getting the picture. : (

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Baby opens mouth big but closes down on nipple

    I suggest that you keep going back to latch and positioning basics and try different techniques for both latch and positioning. Biting/clamping on the nipple is sometimes caused by early bottle feeding and I suppose it could happen from nipple shield use as well, but also some babies just do this, and in either case there is no reason to think this cannot be fixed. Latch issues early on are very common and almost always solvable. It may be helpful to have an experienced breastfeeding helper(s) watch you nurse, having that other pair of eyes can help alot when pinpointing tricky latch issues. You could contact you local LLL or consider hiring an IBCLC if you have not done so already. Also, nurse very frequently and at the earliest cues, a calm baby has an easier time latching/experimenting with latch than one who is frantic.

    Also, again, oald will cause a baby to clamp, is that a possibility? OK, going to try some links hope they work-

    General positioning tips: http://www.llli.org/faq/positioning.html

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

    also see http://www.biologicalnurturing.com/

    oald: http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/supp.../fast-letdown/

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