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Thread: 1 wk old, not opening wide enough

  1. #1

    Default 1 wk old, not opening wide enough

    Hi everybody, really hoping i can find some help!

    My son Finnegan was born just last week on july 24th, he does great with breast feeding, as in he definitely eats enough, and though i have been using a bottle to give hi breast milk he always goes for my breast even directly after drinking from the bottle. were having some problems with his latch though, its just not wide enough. maybe about two times last week he "accidentally" latched properly, i couldnt even feel it it was wonderful, but he didnt seem to feel the same way. I saw a LC yesterday at m local wic office and she said that while everything im doing is correct, he seems to have a sort of little mouth, especially for his size.(born 8lbs, 11oz) so since the scabs (ouch!!! ) are almost healed by now because i have been pumping when i can not stand the pain (I would prefer to put the bottle away until a later date) that it looks like i need to wait it out, keep practicing and hope he grows a bit soon.

    so maybe im just not getting it, but im working so hard and these things that are supposed to coax him to open (brushing cheek, lips etc. with nipple, etc) just dont seem to work :[ once yesterday i did even get him to open wide, his lips were flanged out, it was PERFECT, and he just hung out like that looking at me and wouldn't even try to suck, i tried tickling his chin/neck, nothing. has anybody had any experience with a stubborn baby? and if so have you any tips that led to success??! thank you all for your time!!

    (ps. ive tried different positions as well, he will NOT stand for football hold no matter what, he hates it but cradle works great)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012

    Default Re: 1 wk old, not opening wide enough

    I really have no good advice, just wanted to say I had a similar problem with my guy and it just took a while for us to get to where it was comfortable. I tried unlatching him and relatching, over and over and over trying to get it "right" so that it was comfortable, and it seemed like nothing worked. It sucked, but as he got bigger (around a month), it basically clicked. It was a long time to deal with discomfort but it did eventually work out and it's been mostly smooth sailing ever since. I'm sure some of the ladies here will have awesome advice, I just piped up because I've been there and know even if you don't get it 'right', it gets better, and wanted to throw my "hang in there" out into the interwebz for you.

  3. #3

    Default Re: 1 wk old, not opening wide enough

    thank you so much! Iv'e just been dealing with the fact that its going to be painful for a while, but it makes me feel much better to know that things worked out for you! I will have to remember to keep this in mind when i'm getting really upset, it makes me feel terrible when i'm tense because i'm in pain and frustrated and he just wants to eat and relax with me!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2012

    Default Re: 1 wk old, not opening wide enough

    I don't have much advice to add, i just wanted to send a your way!

    Have you tried putting a little bit of Lansinoh lanolin on your nipples? I had sore nipples at first, nothing wrong with baby's latch, it just seemed like my nipples needed to be "broken in" because I have always had such sensitive nipples (lol). It really helped during the first couple of weeks.

    It will get better! Good luck!

    Mommy to Baby Sage: 6lb, 19in, born on 5/20/12

    love: hotsling AP, bumgenius diapers, ergoBaby
    loving fiancée to SAHD

    visit us at: mommy & sage

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: 1 wk old, not opening wide enough

    some babies just do not or cannot seem to open wide, or will not do a wide gape. And this can actually be fine if the latch is still comfortable for mom and baby is getting milk. Worrying about getting the perfect asymmetric latch is helpful when otherwise, there is latch pain or injury or milk transfer is not happening. but many babies can and do latch well basically on their own without all that. I am interested in what happened when the latch felt good when baby 'accidentally' latched.

    anyway, since what you are doing, while certainly nothing wrong wiht it, is not working, I suggest you try a different approach. What positions have you tried? have you tried a laid back positioning, which is actually a wide variety of mom and baby positions, with either you helping baby latch or basically showing baby were to go and letting baby more or less self latch? Some moms find side lying helps with latch issues as well.

    I have a newborn 3 days old and am also dealing wiht very bad latch pain, although no real injury yet beyond bruising thank goodness. in her case i think it is based in part with her slightly young gest age and c section birth with no labor, she is very curled in, like a c, and is coming at the breast very nose first rather than chin first in almost any position. basically she is very tight, so I will be looking into infant massage or cranio sacral therapy maybe.

    anyway this is my third, her eldest brother had a really bad latch, could not get him on there and when I did, he chomped me up. Had to use nipple shields and see two IBCLCs three times to get that figured out. Next one we never had any latch issues. IN both cases we went on to nurse happily for years. painful latch needs seldom be a barrier to breastfeeding but of course it does require mom keep on top of things and keep working on it while feeding baby and maintaining a good milk supply.

    Some moms chose to nurse through while finding answers to nipple pain and injury issues, as once latch improves healing can begin, others pump when it gets too bad so they can heal before trying again. Both are legitimate approaches. I would only add that if you choose pumping, it very important to be sure you are using an appropriate pump for the job, pumping frequently enough, and feeding baby in as breastfeeding supportive a way as possible, which could include cup or syringe feedings or paced bottle feeding. Also getting to the breast as much as possible is important as babies learn to nurse by nursing.

    can you keep working with this lc or any lc through wic? have you gone to a lll meeting? you never know who will see something that is the key to a comfortable latch for you.

    also, if you get him into what looks& feels to you like a good latch and he does nothig, you cpuld try an inatnt reward technique see the 'help my baby wont nurse' article on kellymom. but remember what a latch looks like is unimportant- what is important is how it feels and if baby can transfer milk.

    keep trying diff posttions and latch techs etc, over and over. this is super early days. what does not work today may work tomorrow.

    also while I do think sometimes it does help when babies havr time to kind of "grow into" a comfortabel latch, the fact is, babies of all sizes and shapes nurse perfectly well from mommas of all sizes and shapes every day.
    http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfeeding.pdf and www.biologicalnurturing.com

    and paced bttles-http://www.llli.org/docs/0000000000000001WAB/WAB_Tear_sheet_Toolkit/22_bfabreastfedbaby.pdf
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; August 2nd, 2012 at 07:31 PM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: 1 wk old, not opening wide enough

    thank you everyone for your insight and well wishes!
    things have gotten better, my nipples are almost totally healed, while still a bit sore/tender, we've returned to fully breastfeeding. it still hurts when he latches on but for the most part the pain goes away once he really gets going.(except for the past day or so, i think hes going through a growth spurt so he seems pretty eager for the whole of most feedings) he seems to really like cradle or cross cradle hold, and recently i tend to lean back and he sort of lays on top of me while eating, this seems to be nice and comfy for both of us (especially since the bruising on my tailbone seems to be coming back) he absolutely hates football i got him to latch once in that position but it wasn't that comfy or different and we do side lying sometimes, it seems like that will be easier once hes a little bigger though. while the pain was really bad i pumped and did my best to alternate between breast and bottle, luckily when it was time to eat he still always went for the breast! we've had no problems in that respect! I think that i will see the lc at wic again at my next appointment, just to see how things are going, but now i'm thinking i may have a bit of an overactive letdown(baby choking a little sometimes when at breast, or eating too much until he spits up) so i will be seeing what she thinks about that!

    I hope that everything goes well with your little one! it seems maybe she just wasn't expecting to make an appearance when she did! I wish you the best of luck!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2012

    Default Re: 1 wk old, not opening wide enough

    Glad things are getting a little better!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Middle of nowhere in Ohio

    Default Re: 1 wk old, not opening wide enough

    Sorry you are having trouble! I would encourage a lot of skin to skin. They have found that babies who have never breastfed (even months old) latched and ate perfectly when doing skin to skin. Sometimes bad latch problems can be solved by doing this.
    Passed my CLC exam!

    Mother of 3: 12-25-04 12-3-07 1-13-2011

  9. #9

    Default Re: 1 wk old, not opening wide enough

    My baby is just 4 days old & I am/was having the same problem. She latches fine, but she's just not opening very wide...which is causing her to "gum" my breast more than suck. My midwife recommended I have my chiropractor look at her. Took her Monday and going again today...so happy! Turns out my midwife was right, she had some things out of place (which is VERY common, especially if you needed any sort of intervention to get our baby out), and my chiro is fixing! It sounds like a crazy thing if you aren't used to the holistic realm, but check into it...I guarantee you won't be disappointed!

  10. #10

    Default Re: 1 wk old, not opening wide enough

    FWIW, neither of my babies ever opened their mouths "wide like a yawn" like all the books told me they should. I've never seen the gape!

    What's important is

    1) the latch is comfortable for mom (a twinge of pain at latch-on can be normal, if it goes away once your milk lets down and baby is actively nursing)
    2) the baby is getting enough milk

    Beyond those two criteria, there is no right or wrong about latch or positioning. Whatever works!

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