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Thread: Newborn twins, horrible latches, ready to quit.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    31

    Default Newborn twins, horrible latches, ready to quit.

    Hey y'all, thanks in advance for your help...

    2 weeks ago, I delivered my twin boys via c-section. The birth went well, I was able to breast feed immediately, they roomed in with me, etc. but from the very beginning, I've struggled with their latch. I don't end up with just lipstick nipples... They're straight up flat and creased by the time they get done.

    I've tried lots of things to fix this. I've been using a nipple shield to protect my nipples a bit, but they're starting to feel bruised even with the shield. I saw an IBCLC a week ago, and she confirmed that my supply was low, and that they were clamping down. She helped me with positioning, and I've been using those tips, but still not having much luck. She recommended cranial sacral therapy, which we've been seeing a chiropractor for, but it doesn't seem to be helping a whole lot.

    Their pediatrician recommended 1 oz of formula after nursing since my supply kinda stinks, and I've been doing that part of the day, as well as pumping afterward. I'm also taking fenugreek. I think my supply has gotten better, but the pain is making it unbearable.

    I feel like I'm about a few days from just saying "to heck with it" and just pumping what I can to add to their formula. I feel like one of them has NO idea how to latch at all, and I don't think he ever will. I feel completely hopeless about it. I nursed my daughter for 15 months, and I was hoping to do the same with these guys. She had a bad latch too, but it worked itself out and I was able to ditch the nipple shield after about 3 days. It's been 2 weeks this time, so far.

    I'm not very hopeful that anyone will be able to help at this point, but maybe one of you have had a similar experience? I just kinda feel like I'm losing my mind here. Sorry for any typos, I'm on an iPad and having a rough time typing.

    X-posted to Kelly Mom forums

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Default Re: Newborn twins, horrible latches, ready to quit.

    Hopefully more ladies with directly relevant experience will stop by soon. For now, I just want to say, 2 weeks is SO EARLY. With preterm babies or multiples, it can take a lot longer (and more work) to establish a good latch. Yet that breastmilk is even MORE important to these babies, who have some catching up to do in the early days. So your situation is far from hopeless, and there is plenty of time to work out these issues and go on to have a nice long breastfeeding relationship. You can do it! I know it's hard, but it will be worth it - don't give up so soon!

    Have you had either baby checked for tongue tie? That can cause persistent bad latch. I'm especially wondering about the little one with the worse latch. Can he fully extend his tongue? A lot of times when women feel "hopeless" about a latch, there is a tongue tie involved. It's easy to fix, and definitely worth ruling out as an issue.

    I would consider going back to the IBCLC you saw before, or if you didn't like her so well, finding another (they are not all created equal). If you consider the cost of formula, paying for a few sessions with an LC is small change (and if you're in the US it should be covered by your insurance under the latest reforms). You need more than one session. Even if you eventually decide it's not going to work, you'll feel better if you do everything possible to try to make it happen, right? So consider going back to the IBCLC, contact your local LLL leader, and reach out for some local, hands on help. There is only so much we can do on this forum for latching issues - you really need someone there helping you in person.

    Hang in there. We have several moms here who have nursed twins, and hopefully they'll show up to offer you support as well. I'd say (and they can correct me) that it's generally no picnic getting twins to latch on well, as they tend to be a bit preterm or behind for their age, and of course, having a c-section makes things a bit harder. But it can be done, and every bit of breastmilk you can provide is a wonderful thing.


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    140

    Default Re: Newborn twins, horrible latches, ready to quit.

    I didn't have twins but my DS was a month early and we had to use a nipple shield for close to 8 weeks. It helped me when my pedi said she has had some moms use them for 15 months! (Not that that is something to look forward to but it let them give their lo the best food, and I realized it was worth it to me) So, hang in there! The shield didn't effect my supply at all but I have read that it can. So maybe someone can give your some other ideas on that. I just didn't want you to feel discouraged about using the shield for any length of time. I don't think 15 months is the norm but a few weeks isn't that long, you can do it
    Married to the best husband ever since Nov 2009
    DS born 1/7/12 at 36 wks after PROM and Gestational diabetes happy and healthy ~

    Taking it one day at a time.

    Currently and !!!

  4. #4
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    Sep 2009
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    Default Re: Newborn twins, horrible latches, ready to quit.

    Both the pedi and the IBCLC said they didn't think they had tongue ties... They're able to extend their tongues out past their gums. Most of the time, it looks like the latch is good (lips flanged out, tongue in the right place, etc), they're just super chompy.

    They were born at 38 weeks and were 6.5 and 7 lbs. Would the extra 2 weeks cause that much of a difference? DD was born at 40, so I have no experience...

    I'm not too worried about using the nipple shield, only that I'm still getting bruised nipples, even with the shield. Ouch.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    10,440

    Default Re: Newborn twins, horrible latches, ready to quit.

    I see something in there that you said that I want to address...the pumping.

    While pumping and feeding might help with soreness for a few days, it really sucks to exclusively pump long term. I have done it for over 15 months for a baby who was born unable to nurse, and it is about a thousand times harder than breastfeeding. I can't imagine doing that for twins! When would you have time? EPing is a very rigorous schedule of pumping every 2-3 hours around the clock to establish supply. It was perhaps the most mentally and physically challenging thing I've done, and I've done a lot of very difficult things in my life.

    I would consider seeing an ENT. They might have one of several forms of TT that is difficult to evaluate.

    I would keep going with the shield. If it takes months to get rid of it, that is Ok.

    Can you pump after feeding? If they have less than ideal latches, that is why your supply is low. Extra stimulation might help with that, which might help with their latches.

    A lot of moms hit a wall about now, especially if there are problems and want to give up.

    Could you guys have thrush? I had super painful nipples with my third baby, like crying painful, and with my fourth (the one I pump for) and it was thrush.
    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!

  6. #6
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    Sep 2009
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    Default Re: Newborn twins, horrible latches, ready to quit.

    Thanks for the responses, all...

    I think I'll try to find an ENT around here to get them looked at, just in case. I'm kinda over the idea of pumping today, I think I was just having a moment..

    As for the pain being thrush, I'm not sure. I haven't seen any white patches in their mouths, and my nipples don't really look like they have thrush... I seem to only have pain when they first latch in, not much in between feelings. Could it still be? I got lucky and never had to deal with it with my first, so I'm totally clueless.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    5,317

    Default Re: Newborn twins, horrible latches, ready to quit.

    What positioning have you tried? Positioning can be crucial for a comfortable latch. Even if there are physiological issues, you may be able to improve the latch somewhat just with different positioning. Have you tried all the ‘traditional” holds and laid back positioning (aka biological nurturing?) What works best for each baby may be a bit different.

    I agree nursing with a shield if either baby cannot latch without it is way better than pumping and supplementing, I am a bit worried that you say there is bruising from using the shield? A shield used unnecessarily or a poorly fitted shield could possibly cause a worse latch. (It needs to fit baby and you.) Kellymom has a good article on nipple shields.

    Many IBCLCs still recommend moms pump when using nipple shields to help milk supply. Of course if you are supplementing, pumping is needed anyway. If you cannot pump after every feeding, and who could blame you, pump when/as much as you can.

    How was it ascertained you have poor milk supply? Is the issue poor milk supply or poor milk transfer (or both.)

    Make sure pumping is comfortable and you are using the best pump you can.

    Have you checked out the book Mothering Multiples or this website http://www.karengromada.com/ ?

    I know you are incredibly overwhelmed but I have seen alot of moms go through this, have been there myself, (but with one baby) and there is no reason to think this needs to be the end or there is nothing else to try. Many, many moms experience painful latch issues adn supply concerns in the first several weeks and go on to nurse very happily. Do you have good support at home, any local breastfeeding groups like LLL? If you call a local Leader she may be able to put you in touch with other local moms or Leaders who have breastfed twins. Also see multiples forum here.
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; April 22nd, 2012 at 06:06 PM.

  8. #8
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    Sep 2009
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    Default Re: Newborn twins, horrible latches, ready to quit.

    I've tried the usual positions, but I haven't tried laid back... I'll definitely try that next! I'll look up that KellyMom article too. I used a medium size shield last time I nursed, but I suppose it could have changed in 2 years, heh.

    I've got a Madela PISA, it seems pretty comfortable. I'm able to pump a couple of times a day, I'm gonna try to increase that next week, since we won't have as many appointments and places to be.

    The milk supply issue was probably just that my milk hadn't come in yet (I think we did the weighted feed 5days after they were born, and I still wasn't feeling full, but they were getting some milk, 1oz each. It's definitely come in more since then). I'm not sure how much they're getting now, I'll probably see the IBCLC again next week, just waiting to hear back from her to schedule an appointment.

    Thanks for the multiples website, I didn't know about that! I'm a part of a Mothering Multiples group, but the last meeting kind of gave me the impression that most of the ladies there believed that nursing multiples is impossible

    Thanks so much for all the good info, meg!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Newborn twins, horrible latches, ready to quit.

    Thanks for the multiples website, I didn't know about that! I'm a part of a Mothering Multiples group, but the last meeting kind of gave me the impression that most of the ladies there believed that nursing multiples is impossible
    Unfortunately I have heard that so often about multiples groups. Well, it's not impossible. It's harder, as is everything with twins. But not impossible by a long stretch! Keep going to your multiples group for support and understanding from other moms of multiples, but try to find breastfeeding supportive groups/pals as well. I strongly suggest you buy or borrow Karen's book and check out her website, it will give you a different perspective. Also the book The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (8th edition, 2010) has very up to date info on all aspects of breastfeeding.

    Karen's website has pictures of moms nursing twins laying down, often in a 'laid back' position. For more specific info on laid back (you will have to adjust things as needed if you are going to nurse both babies at the same time) see: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfeeding.pdf and www.biologicalnurturing.com

    Always remember that there is no right or wrong way to position or latch a baby. If nursing is comfortable for you and milk transfer is happening, it is a "good" latch and position. So use the tips, suggestions and pictures as a guideline but feel free to experiment!

    Wow if you really don't have a milk supply issue and can get off the shield, you will be able to stop pumping. That makes life so much simpler. If you are saying babies were getting an ounce at the before and after weight check on day 5, that does not sound like low milk supply OR poor milk transfer to me. It sounds normal. After two weeks, transfer at a before and after weight check you would want to see is 2 ounces or more per baby.

    I know that does not sound like much but, look at it this way-once milk supply is established, each baby still needs to nurse at least about 12 times a day (in these early weeks-up to 6 or 8 weeks) in order to get enough milk-which is 'about' 24 ounces per day. (Exactly how much baby needs varies from baby to baby.) So if a baby is getting two ounces at a before and after weight check that is a good sign. Of course, before and after weight checks are limited in what they can tell you, as they only tell you what happened during that single nursing session and this will vary. So it’s important to not put too much stock in before and after weight checks, use the info from them as well as other indicators like output & weight gain. And maybe do a few before and after checks over a few days.

    Your IBCLC should be working with you on improving latch and positioning, even if latch "looks good." If it does not feel good, it's not good. This requires the IBCLC to watch you nurse both babies, perhaps repeatedly. If your IBCLC is flummoxed about the latch and it still hurts, you may want to consider seeing someone else. Latch issues can be so tricky and different helpers will have different ideas for you.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    381

    Default Re: Newborn twins, horrible latches, ready to quit.

    I am sorry I didn't come in here sooner. Another nursing twin momma. Yea!! welcome!!

    I am glad you are reconsidering pumping-it would not be easier than nursing. Nursing 2 babies is hard enough, if you pumped you would have to pump in between feeding the babies and it would have been a nightmare.

    I am no expert on latch problems or shields.

    What I can suggest as a mom who is nursing her twin girls (who will be 1 on sunday), is to relax, get a comfortable pillow ( still love and use mybrestfriend for twins, a lifesaver) and place to nurse, nurse simultaneously as much as possible so you will only be nursing 12x a day instead of 24. I always nurse in double football hold, unless I nurse 1 laying down overnight.

    My nipples were so sore that after 3-4 weeks I stopped nursing for 1 nighttime session and pumped instead. My girls would get my pumped milk. however my output at that pump soon dropped and I supplemented with formula. But that was still success for me. I have slowly reduced the number of times I nurse my girls (down to 3 now) and replaced those sessions with formula (or cows milk).

    Take it day by day. Seek more help with lactation consultants and doctors to fix any issues that are impacting your nursing relationship. Do not stress, you are doing the best you can. Some milk is better than no milk. It is so hard. But also very rewarding. I *only* nursed my son for 12 weeks before giving up. I am nursing twins who are almost a year.
    Full time working Mom to 3, DH is my hero as a SAHD:
    DS July'09, nursed for 12 weeks
    DD1 & DD2 April'11, tandem nursed for 16 months

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