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Thread: Baby doesn't open her mouth enough

  1. #1

    Unhappy Baby doesn't open her mouth enough


    I have had (and I'm still having) a very rough start in breasfeeding. Since day 1, the pain has been unbearable. My nipples are broken all the time and very very sore. The problem is a shallow latch and possibly a wrong position.

    My baby is now a little more than three weeks old. Things got better when she was about 2 weeks old, for a few feeds on the left nipple, and for a few days on the right one. I honnestly have no idea why it got better and why it got back to an unbearable plain.

    A consultant came to my place on wednesday and told me the problem was that my baby was not properly latched-on. She doesn't open her mouth enough and my nipples don't go deep enough. This results in broken nipples and excruciating pain.
    She tried to put her properly but didn't manage to do so. She tried so many times that my left nipple became extremely sore. So sore I was afraid again to feed my baby (but I did, fear not).
    She told me I should remove her from the breast every time she doesn't take it properly and that eventually she would understand that when she opens her mouth big, she gets to eat.
    The problem is that when she opens her mouth enough, she opens and closes it so so so quicky and repeatedly. I never have time to latch her on, or it is really really rare.
    In the end of the feeding, once she releases my nipple, it's all flattened and has a white line on it. She's pinching it (well, them).

    She obviously doesn't have any problem (frenulum or whatever) because I managed to feed her painlessly on both sides several times.

    So here is my question : how can I get my baby to open her mouth slowly with tongue out and all like in all the nice videos we see on the internet?
    I tried gibing her when she's half asleep. Either she doesn't care and pinches her lips to let me know she doesn't want to eat, or she wakes up suddenly and goes all crazy as if she had been already crying out of hunger (very fast movements, hands on the way, rooting quickly, getting frustrated, etc.)

    I fear every feeding but I don't want to and won't give up. I know the problem is fixable and I know it is not a big problem. But this whole pain all the time is becoming a real problem. I am crying several times a day, and I am losing patience. I really need this to be fixed asap. I am afraid it will (or already has) have negative effects on my relationship with my baby.

    Thanks for your attention.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2012

    Default Re: Baby doesn't open her mouth enough


    Hi mama! I hope we can help you. Hands on help would be best though. If the first lc was ineffective, ate there any other lc options in your area? LLL leader maybe? I've linked a few articles on positioning that might fit your issues. The first describes proper technique with cross cradle as it can cause some of the mouth clamping if baby is not feeling supported. The second and third are from Dr Jack Newman. One contradicts your lc's advice to continuously unlatch. I had problems latching with my first so I agree that unlatching can really frustrate babies. The other has tips on how to get baby to open his mouth wide.
    Stay determined, mama!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2014

    Default Re: Baby doesn't open her mouth enough

    You've said that she has fed without you experiencing pain... were you doing anything different those times?

    Have you tried different positions? Laid back nursing can work for some as gravity helps the mouth open wider.

    If you stroke your nipple nose to chin baby should open wide, if you do this a few times and try to latch the baby mid gape.. It does take practice tho.

    You can also use breast compressions, breast sandwich and the flipple to help widen latch. I will try to add links for these (am on my phone so these don't always work great).

    Has the frenulum actually been checked? Just because it hasn't always been painful doesn't rule this out. My DD's posterior TT never hurt me but it definitely affected her feeding.

    Try to look after your nipples between feeds - keep them aired or use nipple shields if clothing hurts, use a decent nipple cream... Basically try to help them heal.

    If your LC wasn't able to help with latch it may be worth seeking a second opinion too!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2014

    Default Re: Baby doesn't open her mouth enough


    Also you tube has lots of flipple videos, just take your pick

  5. #5

    Default Re: Baby doesn't open her mouth enough

    Hi congrats on being determined to continue breastfeeding despite some of the difficulties. Keep going strong. My son is 10 weeks and had, and still has, some difficulty opening his mouth. I tried doing the nipple sandwich where I pinch my aerola and get his mouth as close to the bottom of the aerola then rock his head forward and flip my nipple in. Then I hold him close and see if he will suck in my nipple further. It seems to be working for us. I would also check into another lactation consultant. I saw three before finding some assistance with our difficulties. Also I would get his mouth checked for any tongue or lip ties. My son latched without pain but could not transfer milk and we did not find out about his tongue tie until last week. Once we got his frenulum clipped his feeding has been better.
    Keep going strong and do try and heal your nipples.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Central FL

    Default Re: Baby doesn't open her mouth enough

    Definitely get a second opinion on the tongue and lip tie. My LO didn't open his mouth well to latch and I didn't have much pain early on but we had weight gain issues and we were supplementing and it wasn't till we started weaning off the supplements that he stared really compressing my nipples. Also, posterior tongue ties are often not obvious to see and can really make it difficult for baby to open wide or stick tongue out. Though you might have had a couple less painful days, that doesn't mean there isn't an oral problem with baby.

    Other than your pain and injury, how is breastfeeding going? How is baby's weight gain? Dirty/wet Diaper output?

    My LO had a poor weight gain issue and we had to supplement. Nursing wasn't really that painful for me though so it wasn't till later that he was checked for tongue/lip ties which he had but it wasn't corrected till 8 weeks and then we needed like 6 weeks of oral motor therapy before he could really transfer milk effectively. Don't wait, get a second opinion about tongue and lip ties since the sooner they are corrected the better.
    The bottom link in my signature has more links to help dealing with tongue/lip ties and other things that cause poor milk transfer.
    And to find an IBCLC in your area
    Last edited by @llli*tclynx; November 1st, 2014 at 08:04 AM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Baby doesn't open her mouth enough

    It was already really hard to find someone who knew someting about breastfeeding. I didn't get any help at the hospital, nor at the pediatrician, not anywhere. This lady was kind of my last hope. Now my next chance is on the 12th of november, there is a meeting in my city about breastfeeding issues, but I don't know if I can take it that much longer. It is really extremely painful and I fear every feeding.

    I must have done something different when I managed to feed her without pain, but I have no idea what. It just happens sometimes. The day before yesterday was the last time : no pain on the right side, a huge pain on the left one at latch-on, and then quite a lot less pain after a few minutes. But since then, just huge pain all the time.

    I tried the biological nurturing. It worked on one side painlessly. Not anymore. And on the other side, not at all, ever.

    The tongue frenulum has been checked, and is apparently fine. The other one has not been checked because I was told that "oh no, this doesn't affect breastfeeding". I live in Finland, and I think finding someone who knows about this issue is going to be mission impossible. I can try to take a picture of her frenulum. From what I have seen/read, I'd say it is too tight. Her upper lip is never like a fish when she feeds. It's always going inwards. But I have been told that it was normal, too.

    The breastfeeding itself is going great. She's gaining a lot of weight and delivers a s***load of soiled and wet diapers.

    We will call tomorrow and ask if anyone could check and fix her frenulum. But I don't have great hopes. I have only been told "it will get better, you are doing exactly what you should. She just has to learn how to open her mouth wide". :/

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Baby doesn't open her mouth enough

    Dentists are often more knowledgeable about lip ties than other medical professionals, since lip ties can impact how a child's teeth come in.
    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!"

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2014

    Default Re: Baby doesn't open her mouth enough

    The top lip should be out, is the bottom lip in or out too? My DD used to suck her bottom lip in and it hurt! But it is easy-ish to pull on the chin to flip it out.

    I had a Paed who believed TT didn't affect feeding; he was wrong

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2014

    Default Re: Baby doesn't open her mouth enough

    If you have contact details for the meeting on the 12th, try ringing them and see if you can see someone sooner! The breastfeeding community is usually pretty friendly and willing to help, and if not a wasted phone call isn't much of a waste!

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