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Thread: So frustrated with persistent latch problems with my toddler

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    463

    Default So frustrated with persistent latch problems with my toddler

    I haven't been around at all really the last few months, life got really crazy...but I really need some ideas with this.

    DS is 13 mo and we've had latch issues on and off since birth. I've never seen anyone for it mainly because we've never had milk transfer problems and the issue would come and go, making me think we'd resolved it...then come back. So I just kept trying to fix it myself. Now I'm at the end of my patience and out of ideas.

    I have always had a very strong letdown (OALD earlier on when I had OS, I still have an abundant supply and he doesn't seem to struggle with the flow so it's hard to tell what it's really like) and he gulps and could probably do just about anything as far as latch/suck pattern and still get plenty of milk. So that's not an issue, it's just about my own comfort.

    Sometimes he curls his lips inward, over his teeth, especially the lower lip. When he was younger he would try to "slurp" the nipple in like a noodle but I really cracked down on that and he usually doesn't try that anymore, but will try to latch, then pull it further in so his lips curl over. I can fix his lips but then his teeth are exposed and he doesn't push his tongue out to cover the bottom teeth. Other times the latch looks good on the outside (lips turned out) but is uncomfortable on the inside. When he dives in, he usually puckers his lips to try to get to the nipple rather than opening his mouth wide. Other times especially on the left side he will try to turn his head and readjust so he is nursing out of the side of his mouth!! He does not have a tongue-tie, he can stick his tongue WAY out past his lower lip.

    Sometimes he does not cover his lower teeth with his tongue, and I can feel a ring of teeth digging into my areola. (and then can see marks when he is done.) Other times the tongue is in the right position but the top teeth still dig in.

    Almost always he has a shallow latch. I feel sensations of the nipple being compressed uncomfortably, or actually pushed toward the opening of his mouth with every suck combined with something like sandpaper (his tongue, I guess) on my nipple. The sensation is not what I'd call pain, but it's EXTREMELY irritating. If he leaves teeth marks, they are usually very close to the base of the nipple, like a quarter of an inch or less. We have more trouble at night when side-lying. He has a chewing/chomping kind of suck, and his latch has always been narrow and tight.

    I keep trying over and over to get him to relatch correctly. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. There have been times especially during the day when I have just ended the session saying nursies are all done if you won't latch nicely, usually after 5 or 6 attempts. I talk about what I want him to do in as simple of terms as I can manage and try to demonstrate but I don't know how else to communicate with him and it typically doesn't make a difference.

    I just can't handle the sensation emotionally. It's overwhelmingly irritating and it triggers an intense rage, and a feeling of shaking like adrenaline is shooting through me and it's all I can do to not hurt him. Especially at night when I am exhausted and half-conscious and have already tried several times to correct it.

    I really need something to change, and not cycle back around to this. I fantasize about weaning but I really don't want to. I can definitely see us weaning earlier than I want to though because I dread nursing and I'm sure my vibes put him off too.
    Sharon
    SAHM to my boys:
    Z, my land-lubber born 11/09
    Nursed for 22 months, 18 of those with a tongue and lip tie
    Allergies to peanuts and tree nuts

    E, my water baby born 05/12
    Currently nursing through the aftermath of a tongue and lip tie revision, still trying to work it out

    We , , and !

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    18,063

    Default Re: So frustrated with persistent latch problems with my toddler

    any way you could be pg? I got thoose intense fealings when I was pg with my dd....
    and nursing my older one.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    463

    Default Re: So frustrated with persistent latch problems with my toddler

    Zero possibility. I've been getting my period regularly and DH is away at Navy boot camp. I've had these sensations as well as the emotional reaction to them since he was about 3 months old, after things improved enough that latching was no longer intensely painful. and I've just finally reached my limit of my own resources and ability to deal with it. No other symptoms of pg either.
    Sharon
    SAHM to my boys:
    Z, my land-lubber born 11/09
    Nursed for 22 months, 18 of those with a tongue and lip tie
    Allergies to peanuts and tree nuts

    E, my water baby born 05/12
    Currently nursing through the aftermath of a tongue and lip tie revision, still trying to work it out

    We , , and !

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    558

    Default Re: So frustrated with persistent latch problems with my toddler

    have you tried latching by aligning your nipple with her UPPER lip and then move it down and into her mouth (if that makes any sense )? My LO is kind of like yours - she doesn't like opening her mouth wide (she's a bit tongue-tied too though not serious and we didn't have it clipped). We had milk removal problems when she was a newborn and the IBCLC I worked with showed me how to latch that way. DD is now 14.5MO and I still have to pay close attention to her latch and use that technique quite often. Good thing now she understands when I ask her to open her mouth wide with me demonstrating.


    First time, SAH mom to my precious daughter born October 2009
    Nursing 27 months and counting... I still love nursing so much and am SAD thinking the end can come anytime now...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    18,063

    Default Re: So frustrated with persistent latch problems with my toddler

    thats good... it might just be all the stress...!
    how often would you say he is nursing in 24 hours?
    Sometimes getting them to sleep beter at night or weaning from a few feeds during the day helps mom to feal beter about the few feeds that remain.
    Hows he doing with solids?
    are you giving any bottles? they can cause some babies to have latch problems.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    463

    Default Re: So frustrated with persistent latch problems with my tod

    It's been a long, long time since I was around here last, but I came back looking for information to help with my new baby and thought I'd update this thread. It turns out my older son, the one I posted this thread about, was indeed tongue and lip tied. I came across information from Dr. Kotlow when he was 18 months old that turned on all kinds of light bulbs for me. By then he was having problems with gagging and vomiting when eating solids, nursing very little, poor weight gain from not taking in enough solids OR nursing enough, using only vowel sounds in his speech, and a big gap between his front teeth. We traveled to have Dr. K revise his ties soon after, and everything but his latch completely resolved right away. His latch did improve to a more tolerable level, but since he already had such strong habits as a toddler, it was never perfect. But it did buy us 4 more months of nursing- he weaned via the "don't offer don't refuse" method at 22 months when I was in the first trimester with his baby brother and it was just too painful for me to encourage him to continue. It was a peaceful weaning though as he seemed ready by then, and I'm so glad we had a gentle end to our very tumultuous nursing journey.

    I do wish I'd had more information in the beginning with him, and enough of the right kind of support to identify the ties at birth. It still makes me sad that we spent so much of our time nursing with so much pain and frustration. I am proud that I fought through and gave him almost 2 years of mama milk. I wish it could have been different, though.

    Now I am trying so hard to fight through to a better place with his brother, who was also born with a tongue and lip tie. We had his revised at 10 days old...I hoped if we just did that right away, we could have that blissful bonding nursing experience. Not so. Every day of his just over 6 weeks of life has been a fight to keep nursing. Now I'm thinking he might have a high palate as well. I hope I can keep going and give him at least as much time as I gave my first.
    Sharon
    SAHM to my boys:
    Z, my land-lubber born 11/09
    Nursed for 22 months, 18 of those with a tongue and lip tie
    Allergies to peanuts and tree nuts

    E, my water baby born 05/12
    Currently nursing through the aftermath of a tongue and lip tie revision, still trying to work it out

    We , , and !

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    19,926

    Default Re: So frustrated with persistent latch problems with my tod

    Thank you for updating us! What an interesting journey you have had with both your kids. I am amazed that you persevered through so much.
    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!"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    855

    Default Re: So frustrated with persistent latch problems with my tod

    Welcome back to the forums Sharon! and congratulations on the birth of ds2!
    Now you are strengthened with knowledge
    and now you know the medical resources available to correct physical barriers to optimal breastfeeding.
    i always say the first baby is for learning how to get it right for the next baby.
    You are an inspiration to other moms struggling to make nursing comfortable and productive.
    DD#1 July 1986 VB
    DD#2 April 1988 c/sec
    DS#3 April 1990 VBAC
    DS#4 June 1993 VB
    and suprise!
    DD#5 April 2001 c/sec
    BTDT scars and stretchmarks,: wrinkles and grey hair

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