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Thread: Unable to latch and feed 8 day old baby.

  1. #1
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    Default Unable to latch and feed 8 day old baby.

    In the hospital, our nurses told us that the baby was latching and feeding wonderfully.

    But when it came time to leave they told us he had lost a pound and that we needed to see one of the hospital consultants. The woman was very abrupt with us, and told us he wasn't latched properly. She stuck her finger in and broke the latch repeatedly, shoved his head into my breast forcefully, and insisted we rent a pump and bottle feed immediately. She also insisted we add formula and have a weight check the next day. She then forgot to give us the tubing for our rented pump, and called my husband (a new father, panicking about his child's health) while he was at the store and insisted that though she made a mistake HE needed to buy a 400 dollar pump. Which he did.

    The experience really upset us but we have been trying to pick up the pieces since. We've been reading everything we can find online, have seen two very nice consultants who gave us hope, and I have been pumping around the clock. Since the hospital he has latched once.

    I have large breasts, large nipples, and huge areola. One of the consultants postulated that perhaps they are too large and we need to keep him fed in the meantime- that eventually he will be big/strong enough to latch. So he gets his milk in a bottle for now and we try to latch a few times a day. We don't push it, once he gets stressed out. I've been doing lots of skin to skin. But when he gets to the nipple he either just looks at it, without interest, or flails around. He "slurps" at it, instead of opening wide. I do try to tease him with it but he doesn't take it. We also try to relax his jaw because it is very tense. He seems to have a mouth aversion with the bottle and my nipple. Possibly from suctioning at birth. We have tried a nipple shield, and a syringe. The shield, a 24, might be too small... one of the consultants is trying to find me a 27.

    We are just at a loss. It takes my husband and myself to get him to the breast, get him positioned and to try to get him interested but he just ... won't latch on.

    Any help and suggestions would be really appreciated. Even just reassurance that he can eventually latch even with the bottle feeding and time lapsed would help...

    Thanks!

    By the way, at the next weigh in he had gained his pound back and then some. He is already gaining weight all due to pumped milk. So there's that little victory!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Unable to latch and feed 8 day old baby.

    I am so sorry this happend to you! I have many thoughts about your experience but that can come later. Let's try to help you get baby nursing.

    to get started I have a few ?

    Baby is gaining so well on your expressed milk? Or formula too?

    How many bottles does baby have a day and how much is in each bottle. If any formula, how much is formula?
    Are you doing paced bottle feeding?
    What positions have you tried?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Unable to latch and feed 8 day old baby.

    Hi, thanks for replying.

    He gained all the weight from pumping alone. The weigh in was last Monday. This week I had issues pumping enough so over the week he has had about 8 ozs of formula.

    I am not counting bottles, but pumping every two to three hours and offering the amount I pumped the session before every 1 hour 45 minutes as he seems very hungry at that point. He never makes it three hours without wanting to eat and will gladly take 70 mls or more a feeding.

    I try to feed on demand to mimic breastfeeding. Am using the Born Free slow flow bottle. Also, taking Fenugreek, which seems to be helping.

    We have tried Football, cross latch, laying down and laying back. My breasts seem too big for all of them! I guess I should add that I was unable to latch my daughter five years ago as well. All of the positions feel awkward and difficult. I can't seem to get him positioned correctly. I feel like my breasts are too heavy and pendulous. If that makes sense. Last time, with my daughter, it was marked down to being a nipple preference. She had low blood sugar and jaundice and they gave her several bottles without my permission. This time I was prepared and told them not to give my son bottles but in the end I ended up doing it myself, so that he wouldn't starve.
    Last edited by @llli*apifera; June 30th, 2013 at 08:45 AM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Unable to latch and feed 8 day old baby.

    ok, so if all the weight checks were accurate, your baby is gaining at a very rapid rate. That is why I wondered if he is perhaps being overfed with bottles, as is very common. That is why it is important to know how many bottles per day. Of course it is VITAL to feed baby in whatever way you must! But for many reasons, bottles/supplements make it harder getting baby back to the breast. So it can be helpful to take steps to lesson the issues.

    but pumping every two to three hours and offering the amount I pumped the session before every 1 hour 45 minutes as he seems very hungry at that point. He never makes it three hours without wanting to eat and will gladly take 70 mls or more a feeding.
    The feeding pattern sounds normal, in fact even more frequent would be normal at this age! Very frequent, but SMALL (1-2 ounce) feedings are what is typical at the breast at this age. (MAYBE up to 3 ounces for some feedings by about 10 to 14 days.) and it is important to make bottle feeding as much like breastfeeding as possible.

    It does not matter very much what bottle nipple you use as long as it is a slow flow nipple. Some slow flow bottles/systems are problematic if you have to turn the bottle almost upside down for milk to come out. I suggest, start with a premie or newborn nipple. To slow down feedings and give baby control, (more like the breast) you can try this method of bottle feeding. http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfedbaby.pdf

    Lots of people seem to think you cannot nurse your babies! I do NOT think that. It is absolutely ridiculous to suggest a newborn has a preference for artificial nipples. Such preferences, if they ever exist, are taught. Some babuies have a hard time latching, of course. For many reasons.

    This new baby DID latch. The loss of weight early on may have had nothing or little to do with your baby’s latch ability. The issues you are having now are likely made worse by the fullness you are experiencing due to having lots of milk. (Lots of milk is a good thing, but being overly full can cause latch issues.) This can be worked around. Mothers and babies come in all shapes and sizes.

    Of all the positions you are trying, are there any that feel better to you, for any reason?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Unable to latch and feed 8 day old baby.

    I feel much better doing the cross latch. I can't seem to do the football hold at all, though I've been told over and over it works better for large breasted women.
    Also he only seems to like my right nipple as it stays more ridged than the left. The left tends to go flacid, almost invert.

    We will look at that method of bottle feeding. Do you think we need to give him less in a feeding then? We were wondering if we've been overfeeding him...

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Unable to latch and feed 8 day old baby.

    We will look at that method of bottle feeding. Do you think we need to give him less in a feeding then? We were wondering if we've been overfeeding him...
    I would suggest, try the paced feeding with pauses. You may find baby takes less overall naturally. I would suggest, first see if baby will latch. If baby will not, start with 1 to 2 ounces in the bottle. If baby wants more, offer the breast again. If baby refuses, give another half oune or so in the bottle. Like that-kwim? You don't have to do that every feeding but certainly as much as possible.

    Also he only seems to like my right nipple as it stays more ridged than the left. The left tends to go flacid, almost invert.
    If baby prefers one side, in a situation where you are struggling just to get baby on there, fine to mostly or even only offer that prefered side, as long as you keep pumping more on the 'not nursed' side as needed. The idea is to get baby on the breast any way you can. The other side will come in time.

    I feel much better doing the cross latch. I can't seem to do the football hold at all, though I've been told over and over it works better for large breasted women
    Use what works best for YOU. Cross cradle-so your opposite hand (arm opposite the breast you are trying to latch baby on)-is behind baby's head/neck/upper shoulders? that gives good control. Just be sure to never press baby into the breast, try not to press on the back of babies head.

    So, baby is across you. Straight across or with bottom angled down your body a bit? Is baby fully turned into you (front to front?) Where are you? (chair, couch, bed etc.) in what position is your body? (straight up and down like you are at a desk typing, leaning/hunching over baby, relaxing back a bit and supported by chair/couch back or pillows? Do you use a nursing pillow or no?

    Did your lc’s show you how to make a ‘breast sandwich?’

    Does baby root, head bob, smoush face into your breast, lick or nuzzle the breast, anything like that?

    What happens if you lay babies cheek against your breast when baby is calm, but awake?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Unable to latch and feed 8 day old baby.

    When I hold him cross latch he sort of lays in a straight line. He's long- he was 22 inches at birth, so longer than my forearm. I guess he sort of ends up laying with his bum on my other breast. It isn't comfortable, but to angle him so I can actually offer him the nipple straight on, it seems to be the only way that works.

    I am hunching over. It's not a good idea, and I seem to have severely injured my neck doing that and leaning over while I pump. But again, I just can't seem to position him well.

    He used to root constantly. He hasn't since yesterday though. He used to head bob as well. He doesn't nuzzle it. He seems to hate my breast. He's started screaming when he sees it, even though we're not pushing him at all and I thought we were doing a good job of keeping it relaxed for him.

    When I put the breast in front of him when he's just laying there he just ignores it. Or roots in the other direction, looking for daddy and the bottle...

    We have a boppy, but it doesn't seem to help much as he kicks it off of me while struggling.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Unable to latch and feed 8 day old baby.

    ok, your baby does not hate your breast! I promise. I promise! Baby may be frustrated because he can not latch. Baby may be learning the bottle is where to get milk. OK. That is very different. Your baby loves you and that includes every inch of you.

    Forget the boppy. Fine to not use any pillow. In fact, it allows more freedom to move baby around and adjust his position as needed if you are not relying on a pillow.

    I suggest, start out finding a comfortable position for you to hold baby. Forget nursing for a second. Just get comfy, maybe leaning back against the couch back or pillows. You do not need to LIE back. Just get in a relaxed position slightly leaning back, or leaning as much or as little as you like. All is good as long as you are supported and not straining your neck and shoulders! You can be skin to skin or lightly dressed. s2s is helpful but best to do whichever is most comfortable for both of you. s2s mat feel to sweaty or whatever, so lightly dressed for either you and/or baby is fine , as long as baby has very easy, fast access to the breast.

    Hold baby comfortably up on your chest. I bet baby likes to sleep like this. So, let him.

    When baby begins to wake, he may start to root. It may be subtle. It may be in the 'wrong direction.' he may still be asleep more or less. OK. that is fine. Best to do all this when baby is calm, relaxed, BEFORE baby is super hungry.

    Slowly let/help baby slide down your body so his nose is at or near your nipple. Hold baby in any position that feels comfortabel for you as long as his front is against your front. Hold your breast if you want or need to, but try to bring babies nose close to where your nipple naturally lies. Relax, and observe what happens.

    If baby does not try to latch, or tries and gets frustrated, or is rooting or gets frustrated, dribble a little milk with an eyedropper or a syringe onto your nipple. And/or, hand express so drops of milk appear on your nipple.

    relax and observe what happens.

    If baby is trying to latch but cannot find the nipple, or the nipple is not firm, or whatever, try making a "breast sandwich.” Here is how:

    Hold your breast with one hand. (some very large breasted moms need two, but lets try one for description purposes.) Your 4 fingers on one side of the breast, thumb on the other. Hold your breast with your fingers and thumb as far back from the areola as possible to give baby room to latch. Get your hand far back on the breast. Gently squeeze your breast to shape it. Imagine how you eat a thick sandwich or hamburger-how you hold it and squeeze it down to fit better for a bite. That is the idea. If baby is coming to the breast from the side, use a "U" shaped hold with your hand to shape the breast. If baby is coming to the breast from below, use a "C" shaped hold. To help you remember which, think "My thumb aligns with baby's nose." Please ask for clarification if this is not making sense. MAKE SURE TO KEEP FINGERS & thumb FAR BACK ON THE BREAST SO BABY HAS ROOM TO GET HIS LOWER JAW ONTO THE BREAST.

    If baby still will not latch and begins to get frustrated, frantic, etc, don’t get discouraged. This is a process. It is ok. Give baby a half ounce with the bottle and try it all again. Repeat as needed, adjusting your body, baby’s body, latch techniques, etc. as it makes sense to you to do so. Forget positioning or latch ‘rules.’ Follow your instincts. You and your baby fit together in your own unique way.

    Try the above a few times and let us know what happens.

    BTW, I suggest, don't worry about 'aiming' baby onto your nipple. Also, don't worry about making baby "gape." Sometimes these techniques are helpful, certainly. But generally, these are kind of 'old school' latch techniques that are being moved away from because it often does not help and runs counter to biological normalcy when baby latches.
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; June 30th, 2013 at 11:39 AM.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Unable to latch and feed 8 day old baby.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*lllmeg View Post

    BTW, I suggest, don't worry about 'aiming' baby onto your nipple. Also, don't worry about making baby "gape." Sometimes these techniques are helpful, certainly. But generally, these are kind of 'old school' latch techniques that are being moved away from because it often does not help and runs counter to biological normalcy when baby latches.
    Are you saying that it's okay if he slurps my nipple in? Sometimes when he does this I can sort of stuff more of the areola in between sucks. He has a very tiny mouth. I don't think he can really suck it in without slurping, to be honest. This has been my suspicion all along but everyone tells me he has to open wide or no go.

    We just had several latches. I don't think they were ideal. He DID get something though because my nipple was leaking afterwards, and my other nipple leaked all over him. Those are good indications right? I have a very slow let down so this surprised me!

    Maybe I should have been pushing it all along? I refused to give him his pacifier. I refused to give my daughter one but this time they told me it was fine and that it can help prevent SIDS and being the tired, new mother I was I gave him one in the hospital. But just now he fussed for it and instead of giving it to him I tried to latch. He got very upset so I set him down for a second, then picked him back up and offered it again several times. And he latched! Does this seem like a harmful method? I don't like getting him upset at the breast but he looked to it for comfort for the first time. Should I never offer the pacifier again?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Unable to latch and feed 8 day old baby.

    Yes it is fine for the baby to slurp the nipple in, or whatever works, unless it hurts you. Even then, it may be ok just to get things rolling. Sometimes it might hurt at first (at the beginning of the session) but then feel better. Sometimes it hurts for the first few days or whatever. Pain is a certainly a sign latch is not perfect, and certainly needs to be considered, it IS important. You want to avoid nipple injury if possible of course! But it is common and normal for latch to be not so great while baby and mom figure things out in the first few days.
    While latching & suckling is instinctive, it also will typically take time for a baby to learn to latch and nurse efficiently and well. This may be why mothers do not make much milk at first, so baby can learn to nurse on a soft, very supple nipple before the breast gets full and heavy. You guys missed that window to some extent because baby was losing so much weight. But that is fixable! Now it's time to go beck, get baby nursing frequently, and work on improving latch from there.

    Using a pacifier for ‘suck training’ is a method used by some IBCLCs. An adults clean pinky finger or bottle nipple can be used this way as well, getting baby suckling and then introducing the breast. I do not know much about it,but if you are seeing an IBCLC they should.

    At this point, I would say, do what works. If a pacifier is helping baby latch, great. But we do know that pacifier use as a PACIFIER (not a suck training aid) in general can be harmful when trying to get breastfeeding established. BREASTFEEDING is shown to reduce SIDS risk much more than pacifier use! Pacifier use in and of itself has not been shown to reduce SIDS risk. This is a misunderstanding of the research. What the studies showed with pacifiers and SIDS is that with baby’s who were routinely using pacifiers for sleep, if the pacifier use stopped, they were at a higher risk of SIDS.
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; June 30th, 2013 at 02:20 PM. Reason: the term "SIDS preventative" as I used it in the last paragraph is incorrect. I meant reduces SIDS risk.I have now corrected.

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