Re: 9 day old latches, won't suck
Welcome to the forum and congratulations on the new baby! Sorry things have gotten off to such a rough start. The "take 24 hours off" advice is good advice for a lot of moms. I just wish more LCs and IBCLCs would temper it, and tell moms to try to nurse a couple of times per day during that 24 hours, just to help baby stay familiar with the breast.
"Sucking hard" doesn't necessarily translate to "sucking well". When a baby is latched on correctly, it's very possible for a baby's latch and suction to feel quite gentle, yet still be effective. To understand why this works, put your index finger on the back of your tongue, underneath the soft palate, and suck on it. The tip of your finger will feel little or nothing, because the majority of the sucking motion is happening at the front of the tongue. Likewise, a nipple that is correctly positioned and sitting on the back of the tongue may feel little beyond a gentle tugging.
So, those 45 minute feedings? It's possible the baby is getting more milk than either one of you think, based on how mom feels about the baby's sucking (i.e. hard vs. gentle).
The question is, how do you evaluate whether or not the baby is getting enough milk when nursing? You could just take away the supplemental feedings, nurse as much as possible even if that means CONSTANT feeding, and watch diaper output. It can't come out if it didn't go in, right? The other way to evaluate the baby's feeding effectiveness is more technical, and it requires you to either see an IBCLC or rent a professional scale which is good the 1/10th of an oz. Using the scale- and an IBCLC should have one- you can do before-and-after feeding weights. Subtract the before from the after and voila! You have the baby's intake over the course of the feeding, and you know whether a supplement is necessary.
If baby is a very lazy feeder at the breast, sucking gently and erratically, maybe dozing off when he should be more businesslike, here are some things that may help:
- Keep the lights dim. Newborns often close their eyes in response to bright lights.
- Do breast compressions to speed milk to the baby when suckling slows.
- Keep baby a little bit cool and a little bit annoyed during feedings, if he tends to doze off. Dress him lightly, keep a fan blowing in the room where mom is nursing (not directly on the baby), and rub the soles of his feet or against the grain of his hair using a hand or a damp washcloth.
- Experiment with different nursing positions. Reclined positions are especially useful for keeping a newborn on the breast without mom having to work so hard to hold him- and holding a newborn in nursing position can be exhausting!
- If none of the above is helping, you might want to try switch nursing. In switch nursing, mom latches baby on to breast A. When baby slows down, starts to get really lazy and sleepy, mom takes him off breast A, burps him or changes his diaper, and switches him to breast B. She repeats the process as many times as necessary, until baby will no longer wake. Switch nursing is often good for increasing intake, and also teaches baby that he has to be more businesslike at the breast, because falling asleep means than he gets shifted around and annoyed.
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!"