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Thread: Difficulty feeding 4 week old

  1. #1

    Default Difficulty feeding 4 week old

    My DD is almost 4 weeks old and we have been struggling since day 1 with breastfeeding. This is my 3rd child and I have had issues with all 3. The first 2 were tongue tied, one correctable by getting it clipped, the other was not. I had to exclusively pump for my 2nd which was such a pain and I'm hoping not to have to with this one!

    After my DD was born, she had to go to the nicu for low oxygen levels. Because of that (and I was a csection), I did not see her for the first 12 hours and she was given a bottle. When I was finally able to bf her for the first time, I could tell she was not latching correctly and she was very upset each time we tried because she wasn't getting that immediate milk anymore. However we continued to try every 2 hours but she was still fussy so the nurses supplemented with formula.

    Upon arriving home, my nipples began to bleed and were cracked. I could tell her latch was bad and she wasn't getting much, so I started using a nipple shield and pumping after each feeding. So that's what we have been doing the past 3 weeks. She feeds with the shield very sleepily for 15 mins each side, not getting very much, then I pump, then I bottle feed her that, which she gulps down like she's starving. This past week I decided to try to latch her without shield because our whole feeding process takes an hour and with 2 other kids, it's difficult! So she latched okay (still pretty shallow with mostly nipple, but her lips and tongue were at least good position), and began gulping milk from me, and I was super excited, but then she only lasted 2-3 mins per side and then refused to latch back on. So I'm still pumping and offering that because she acts hungry after. Now even with shild, she will only nurse 5 mins per side. So somehow that has made things worse!!! Also, it takes her 2-3 mins to latch per side, with or without shield. She bobs her head around for awhile and latches and unlatches multiple times. At this point, I'm just at a loss of what to do! Please help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,361

    Default Re: Difficulty feeding 4 week old

    Welcome to the forum and congratulations on the new baby!

    My first thought is that if your first 2 babies were tongue-tied, then there's a better than average chance that this one is, too. That would explain the pain and cracking you've experienced- though it would be really helpful if you could describe the appearance of your nipples, the cracks, and the pain you experienced. If you had a c-section, you probably also had antibiotics, and those can predispose you to thrush (a yeast infection of the breast and the baby's oral cavity), and thrush can cause pain and cracking. Also, let us know how pumping feels, and what your nipple looks like after the baby finishes nursing.

    Latching is a learned skill. It's pretty common for babies to bob around, opening and closing their mouths, going on and off the breast. They are instinctively driven to latch, but they don't necessarily have the "latch + suck = milk + happiness" equation figured out yet. Some things that can help:
    - Try latching baby on early, before her hunger cues have escalated to the point where she's crying, impatient, and frantic. If you can catch your baby early on in the hunger cycle, you have a better chance of latching her on.
    - If baby becomes frantic and is resisting latching, try offering her a pinky finger to suck, with the nail held down towards her tongue rather than up, towards the delicate skin of the palate. A few seconds of sucking on a finger can calm baby enough to enable a repeat latch attempt.
    - Express a few drops of milk onto the surface of the nipple or into the shield before trying to latch. The instant reward of milk in her mouth may cue the baby to suckle, instead of popping off and crying.

    Finally, there's a technique called "finish at the breast" which can be really helpful. Right now, your baby is concluding all her feedings with the bottle. This sets up a pattern in her mind, where every feeding is supposed to end with the bottle. To change that pattern, you nurse, then offer a small supplement (1-2 oz at most), and then transition baby back to the breast for unlimited sucking. This gives her the idea that the breast is where she feels most comforted, most satiated, most relaxed. I know that finish at the breast might be hard, since your baby seems to resist latching on, but it's definitely worth trying!
    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!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    860

    Default Re: Difficulty feeding 4 week old

    Dear 3 bloomingflowers,
    I am in awe of your persistence! Mothering a housefull of littleones while nursing a newborn is hard, even without glitches. Many mothers measure breastfeeding success by the baby's weight gain. Even if the nursings are not "ideal", if an infant is gaining weight you have accomplished the goal of breastmilk.
    Your baby can learn to suck more effectively and your baby can be transitioned off the nipple shield. The website www.kellymom.com is a good place to start for information.
    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

  4. #4

    Default Re: Difficulty feeding 4 week old

    Thanks for the input! I initially thought maybe the baby was tongue tied, but I had my ped plus 2 lactation consultants check and they all said no. She is able to stick her tongue out which my other 2 couldn't as babies, so that made me think she wasn't. When my nipples cracked, it was along the top. Also, my nipples would look a little pinched after she nursed which I know is not a good sign. I can tell she only mainly has the nipple when she latches, even tho her lips are flanged and you can see the tongue if you move her lower lip. I've tried latching her many ways and positions, but still have pain once she is done. I tried the finish on breast this morning, but she still would only stay on each breast 2-3 mins (this is a new thing within the past few days). I used to at least see milk coming out of her mouth and off the shield before when she nursed, but now that she isn't nursing long, I'm not seeing any signs of milk or hearing swallowing. Not sure why she has changed!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,361

    Default Re: Difficulty feeding 4 week old

    How are things going now, mama? Sorry we didn't get back to you with more helpful information...
    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!"

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