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Thread: I know what's wrong with the latch but how to fix it?

  1. #1

    Default I know what's wrong with the latch but how to fix it?

    I've had some problems here and there nursing DS, 1 month old tomorrow, but overall it's been fine. He's gaining weight very quickly and the pediatricians are pleased. He was back to birth weight in about a week and is now 2 lbs above his birth weight. He's happy and sleeps a lot between feedings so I know he's getting plenty to eat. I also am lucky not to have supply problems. I actually had to deal a bit with an oversupply and over active let down by block feeding and by not pumping.

    Here's the problem. He has a fine latch on the right but on the left he's not taking the nipple into his palate. I can hear the clicking/tongue sucking sound. I also can feel that he's chomping my nipple between his gums. It sort of rolls. It hurts! So I know that the problem is the nipple is not going far enough in, and is not being compressed by the tongue against the palate. He's still managing to drain the breast, though it's uncomfortable for me, and since a terrible case of recurrent thrush ended my BF-ing relationship with my DD at 10 weeks I am constantly worried about damage/infection.

    I've tried unlatching him when I feel him chomping/hear the clicking, but that hurts too as he fights it and pulls at the nipple. He also goes right back to doing it the wrong way, or, at night, gives up and goes to sleep without finishing the feeding.

    I don't think it's his latch because he latches perfectly on the right. I think it might be my nipple. It looks fatter than the right, sort of like a pyramid shape with out the definition between nipple and aeraeola. Could this nipple be partly inverted? Maybe that's the issue?

    I am looking for ideas and suggestions for how to get him to suckle, not suck, on the left--please help! Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,940

    Default Re: I know what's wrong with the latch but how to fix it?

    Welcome to the forum!

    I think there's a lot of good news in your situation. First, you're a month in and not cracked or blistered at all, which is wonderful! When a baby has a poor latch, nipple damage is likely to crop up very rapidly. The fact that you've made it to a month without seeing any implies that you do not have to worry too much that you're going to end up cracked and infected. Second, you seem to have an excellent understanding of what the problem is. Third, your baby is growing well. The biggest danger with latch problems (for the baby, anyway), is inadequate milk intake, and that's clearly not a problem for you.

    Now, on to solving the problem. It's very probable that this problem will go away eventually, even if you do NOTHING. As your baby grows, he will be able to achieve a deeper latch every time because his mouth will be bigger and he will be stronger, and more able to deal with any flow speed issues without needing to compress the nipple. The fact that you know you have an oversupply, the fact that baby clicks, and the fact that he will immediately return to a nipple-compressing latch after you relatch him implies to me that he may be struggling with a fast milk flow. You're already block feeding, but I suggest an additional step of using reclined nursing positions. If you can enlist gravity to slow the milk flow, it's possible that your baby won't need to "crimp the straw" while feeding. The difference in nipple shape between breasts... That could also be a problem. It may be that the left hand nipple is inverted, or just short- both things which can prevent the nipple from being drawn back into the ideal spot on the back of the baby's tongue, underneath the soft palate. Luckily, babies grow, and the adhesions beneath the skin, which prevent a nipple from being fully elongated bu a suckling baby, usually eventually weaken and break. I suggest googling the words "nipple sandwich technique" for a description of a method for getting the maximum amount of breast into a tiny mouth, which usually helps the nipple land in the "sweet spot".
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
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  3. #3

    Default Re: I know what's wrong with the latch but how to fix it?

    Use your boppy and pillows and position him like you would on the right side, it's gonna be awkward, see if he can manage it better that way for a bit. Or if your nipple is inverted, and you have a pump, pump it for about a minute to bring your nipple more into a teet and try to latch him on that!!!

  4. #4

    Default Re: I know what's wrong with the latch but how to fix it?

    deleted
    Last edited by @llli*bettys.mommy; September 13th, 2012 at 10:33 AM. Reason: oops--having a hard time with the quote tags! deleted!

  5. #5

    Default Re: I know what's wrong with the latch but how to fix it?

    I should maybe have introduced myself--I've been a lurker here since 2009 when I had DD. Am going to my first LLL meeting tonight with DS, who is bigger and stronger than DD was. Really hoping that we will be successful. After 10 weeks of pain and suffering, I eventually EP'd with DD, but I learned so much about BF-ing when trying to make it work with her that I'm prepared this time!

    The fact that you know you have an oversupply, the fact that baby clicks, and the fact that he will immediately return to a nipple-compressing latch after you relatch him implies to me that he may be struggling with a fast milk flow.
    Thanks for the replies! I had some scabs early on but was quick to take care of them. I have some APNO that I use sporadically whenever things start to feel tattered. Thrush is no joke. I thought about the problem being related to flow, but what's odd is that the right is actually a faster flow and he doesn't have that problem on that side. I will try some other positions and see if it helps. I've been just letting him nurse in whatever position he wants, but maybe I ought to be a bit more by-the-book on the left.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,408

    Default Re: I know what's wrong with the latch but how to fix it?

    Ask at the meeting if anyone can show you laid back breastfeeding positioning and/or the "breast sandwich" or "Nipple sandwich" latch technique. (If no one can there are online articles and pix etc.) Even if the issue is that your nipple on that side is a different shape, it sounds like you think that is affecting the latch, so trying different latch and positioing may get this fixed. Personally I also recently found with my newborn that I had to be VERY careful and precise about latch on one side or it hurt like heck, but once I healed and baby got bigger we were able to relax into the "any old position' mode again. Lots of moms have asymmetry where one side is more problematic than the other, and many moms nurse just fine with flat or ‘inverted’ nipples. Forceful letdown is a real possibility too, and block feeding might actually make that more difficult before it gets better, because it is harder for a baby to latch onto a very full breast…if you find that latch is more painful after NOT nursing on that side for a while, you might want to back off on the block nursing and just nurse frequently, maybe one side at a time, instead.

    It sounds like you are thisclose to getting breastfeeding right on track. Once those early latch issues are figured out, everything get so much more pleasant.
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; September 13th, 2012 at 10:15 AM.

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