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Thread: 6 weeks & struggling - poor latch, tongue tie *LONG*

  1. #41
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    Jun 2012
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    46

    Default Re: 6 weeks & struggling - poor latch, tongue tie *LONG*

    Thanks Susan. I agree with you about the pumping, it is really starting to get to me. Again, I admire your commitment in pumping for this long.

    Actually the whole thing is getting to me. I cope most of the time but now and again I have a complete meltdown, and today was one of those days. I went to a LLL meeting this morning and tried really hard to BF Toby while I was there, but he still wouldn't latch on properly so he got really hungry. In the end I had to give him some expressed milk in a bottle. One good thing that happened was when the Leader was giving me some advice - she said I need to wait for him to open his mouth before I try to latch him - well, I thought he couldn't/wouldn't open his mouth, but when I did wait, he did it! Unfortunately I couldn't get him on quick enough, so we didn't get anywhere, but at least I know he can open wider.

    I spoke to the Leader at the end of the meeting and she said I really need to get him off the bottles and back on the breast, as the bottles are getting in the way of him learning to latch properly. She said if I don't do this soon I may never do it, and will end up using bottles the whole time. She said the best way for me to do this is to use an SNS, and that it won't ruin things as he will have to work harder for it than for a bottle, also that we will get more practise as we won't have to supplement using bottles.

    So, I got home and basically spent the rest of the day trying the SNS on (it looks really fiddly), watching video clips online about how to use an SNS, latch a baby etc, and in between this, trying to BF him. I just couldn't get him to latch deeply, I tried for ages, used different holds etc (laid back, side lying, cross cradle, cradle, football) but just had to give him a bottle in the end as he was hungry! I decided to wait until my husband came home to try the SNS for the first time. Anyway, by the time he did get home I was massively frustrated and just broke down, weeping and wailing. We decided to wait until tomorrow to use the SNS as it just seems too much today.

    It is breaking my heart at the moment. Every time I try to BF him and fail, it chips away at me a little bit more. I feel so sorry for my little man, trying his hardest, opening his little mouth, and me not managing to latch him on. I'm in tears as I write this I know this kind of thinking isn't helpful and won't solve the problem, and that I need to stay strong, but sometimes it completely overwhelms me. I came really close to quitting today - BF still means the world to me, and I am frightened how it would affect me if I did give up, but I have no life at the moment and it is making me and my husband very unhappy. I do have another IBCLC coming round on Wednesday (I saw her before the tongue tie operation and she was really nice), as well as meeting up with another mum who had a tongue tied baby and used a SNS, and we are seeing the osteopath again on Friday, so I guess I'm not quite ready to quit yet. But I am very very unhappy.

    I don't know what the answer is - just wanted to vent, I suppose. Thanks for listening.

  2. #42
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    10,440

    Default Re: 6 weeks & struggling - poor latch, tongue tie *LONG*

    An SNS is not that bad. I did one for a while. Tape the tubes down very well so littlefingerscant get to it and pull it up. Use a Lact-Aid as you can even nurse with it laying down. because I agree with the LLL leader. More bottles decrease your chances of being able to go without and trapping you into EPing hell. Some moms prefer it, but if you get to talking to them, most complain about it a lot at some point, and many actually run into issues with supply no matter what they doin the process.

    ETA: and yes, I was very unhappy too. I figured out that most EPing mothers run into this at least once a month, where they want to quit. Most want to quit at 3 weeks, 6 weeks (and a lot quit then), 10-12 weeks, then every month after that. And very few mothers EP to 12 months and fewer still to 2 years. Because of the toll it takes on you emotionally and physically. I spent a lot of time crying.
    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. #43
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    21,343

    Default Re: 6 weeks & struggling - poor latch, tongue tie *LONG*

    If you can ditch the bottles, do. But don't take anyone's "never" as gospel. I always think of my mom when someone says that x, y, or z is going to ruin breastfeeding "forever"- she was forced to wean my sister at 3 months due to some bad medical advice. She didn't have a pump and had no luck hand-expressing, and when she was finally told she could nurse again, her milk was totally gone and her doctor told her that she had to make her peace with formula because she would "never" get her milk back. But she did, and she nursed my sis for 12 more months. So, yeah, bottles aren't ideal and they do decrease your chances of getting baby to nurse exclusively- but don't feel like they mean that you will "never" have your dream breastfeeding relationship.

    I know you are struggling so hard and I completely understand being desperate to quit at the same time that you are desperate to continue. You are working so, so hard and you should be really proud of yourself for what you have achieved so far. We're cheering you on from the sidelines, mama!
    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. #44
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    46

    Default Re: 6 weeks & struggling - poor latch, tongue tie *LONG*

    Thank you both for your replies. If it wasn't for the support of this forum I would be finding it much harder to carry on, I'm very grateful I found it.

    Mommal, that is very interesting to hear about your mom. It just shows that if you don't give up, success is possible despite the odds.

    So, an update:

    I tried the SNS this morning - I wanted to try it yesterday but had a really difficult day trying to breastfeed Toby, and was exhausted. Toby got very upset towards the end of the day, and I think it might have been because I had tried really hard not to give him a bottle. Just before bed I tried to BF him and he was screaming at my breast - he hasn't done this before, and it frightened me because it suggests he really is developing a bottle preference (and who can blame him when it is so much easier?). Anyway, I did my best to BF him through the night but we did have to give him bottles because we were completely worn out and we had to think of our sanity.

    So the SNS - we struggled a bit at first, because it was almost impossible to latch him with the tube there, as his latch is already poor. He was getting upset so we finger fed him using the SNS to calm him down - he took about an hour to drink just 50ml, so we realised we really had to try at the breast again. This time I latched him first, then slipped the tube into the corner of his mouth, aiming it at the roof of his mouth (this is something I saw on one of Jack Newman's videos). And it worked! I managed to feed him completely at the breast and he didn't need a bottle. He still didn't latch very well, but he did take some milk from me because my breast felt softer afterwards, and it kept him interested because there was already milk there from the SNS. I think it will take a bit of practise but I am happy with it so far.

    As for the bottles - I know nipple confusion is a debatable issue, but considering we are not making much progress, I think it probably is an issue for us. Plus if we can eliminate all possible barriers (the tongue tie, bottles etc), we can only go forward. And the SNS means he gets more practise at the breast I don't think we can completely eliminate bottles at the moment (e.g. if we have to go out somewhere, or in the middle of the night) but I think as we get more used to using the SNS, we should be able to gradually reduce them. I appreciate this may hold us back and progress may be slower, but we do have to do what works for us at the moment.

    We have decided to give it until he is 12 weeks old (so 3 and a half weeks from now), really making an effort with the BF and SNS, and eliminating bottles, and will review the situation then. If there really has been no improvement, he will have got 12 weeks of breastmilk, which is better than none.

    I will update again soon but feeling a bit better today

  5. #45
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Default Re: 6 weeks & struggling - poor latch, tongue tie *LONG*

    Two steps forward, one step back, and keep on going
    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. #46
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Re: 6 weeks & struggling - poor latch, tongue tie *LONG*

    And don't feel like you must set that 12 week goal in stone. You may get to 12 weeks and feel differently from how you thought you would. When I was having trouble nursing my first kid, I kept setting goals (one more session, one more day, one more week, etc.), and then slightly moving my goalposts. I'd tell my DH "Okay, so I was thinking of giving up today but I think I am going to tough it out for one more- just one more!- day, and THEN I'm going to give up". I ended up nursing that kid for 3 years.
    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!"

  7. #47
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    Jun 2012
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    46

    Default Re: 6 weeks & struggling - poor latch, tongue tie *LONG*

    Thank you both Three years is a long time! Although if I do manage to succeed at breastfeeding, after all the work we have put in I think I will want to do it as long as possible!

    So, I have another update:

    I saw another IBCLC this morning - I have seen her twice previously, but not for several weeks. I wanted to get her advice on positioning and latching, as well as where we go from here, as I was almost ready to give up by Monday evening. She was fantastic and basically told me I am doing really well and to try to relax a bit. She observed me feeding and said that Toby is definitely getting enough milk, and I shouldn't worry about the perfect position or perfect latch, as long as I'm not in pain or my nipples are damaged. I am still getting some discomfort so we experimented a bit, but she confirmed what the other IBCLC/tongue tie specialist had said about Toby's mouth still being quite small and his jaw being slightly recessed, and that his latch should improve as he gets bigger.

    I told her we had tried the SNS and she advised it might make things worse in our case, as Toby's suck is good but his latch is shallow. She was concerned that he might simply realise he gets milk from the tube and this might actually make things worse. She said although bottles are not ideal (because it is too easy to rely on them and therefore breastfeed less), in our case they are the best option, but only to use them if breastfeeding really is too painful and I can't face it, or if Toby is clearly very hungry but is not able to latch for some reason.

    She also gave me some really good advice about observing Toby closely and not always assuming he is hungry (which I do, as it is such a difficult issue for me). If I have fed him and seen him drinking well, even if the latch is shallow, not to hurry to give a bottle straight away but to watch him and see if he does seem to need more milk. I have tried this today and he seems satisfied, and I am pleased to say he has only had a tiny bit of milk from a bottle since 6 am (he had this just before we went to get his TB jab, as I wanted him to be well fed beforehand), the rest has all been from the breast. The feeding hasn't been discomfort-free, but I am am coping so far. So I think that is an achievement :-)

    I feel a bit nervous to be cutting down the supplements so quickly, but the IBCLC advised me of the immediate signs of him not getting enough milk, and I will have him weighed regularly at the tongue tie clinic we go to each week. Overall I feel much happier and more relaxed, and hopefully will continue to do so :-)

  8. #48
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    10,440

    Default Re: 6 weeks & struggling - poor latch, tongue tie *LONG*

    That sounds really good, mama! Yay!
    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!

  9. #49
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    46

    Default Re: 6 weeks & struggling - poor latch, tongue tie *LONG*

    Thanks Nipples are a bit tender but I'll see how we go.

  10. #50
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    Default Re: 6 weeks & struggling - poor latch, tongue tie *LONG*

    Things are still going well He had a bottle before bed last night and I pumped to give my nipples a break. We had some expressed milk on standby for the night, but I managed to BF him and he hasn't had a bottle for nearly 24 hours! He seems to be drinking really well, and even though my nipples are pink and tender, the feeding is uncomfortable rather than painful - certainly something I can live with. There are a couple of things I am a bit concerned about, but will post those in a separate thread as I'm not sure they belong here.

    So I think we are finally there! Hopefully his latch will continue to improve as he gets bigger, but even if it doesn't, as long as he continues to get milk and the discomfort in my nipples doesn't get worse, I will be satisfied

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