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!
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