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Thread: Smacking and sore nipples

  1. #1

    Default Smacking and sore nipples

    Hi ladies,

    I'm looking for advice on how to fix a problem with "smacking." My daughter will be 7 weeks old on Sunday. Since a few days after birth, she makes a smacking sound when feeding, like she's clucking her tongue and losing suction. Sometimes it happens a lot during a feeding, sometimes just a little, never not at all.

    I've tried to do research online on how to fix this, but everything I find just says it's due to a bad latch and to relatch her. This doesn't help. She can get the best latch ever and she still makes the smacking sound!

    I've started to think it's something she has to outgrow, but the problem is that I THINK the smacking is causing my (very) sore nipples and also interfering with her getting a good rhythm while nursing. At times, when she smacks like that it just really hurts. So I have two questions:

    1) Does anyone have experience with your baby smacking during feeding, and did you find a way to fix it? Is there something I'm doing wrong? Did your baby just learn not to do it?

    2) Does anyone have any advice on dealing with sore nipples? Though I think if I can fix her latch/smacking that will help the soreness, sometimes I wonder if I'm just sensitive and have to toughen up. I use lanolin, but all that does is temporarily soothe the soreness. I've tried Lansinoh Soothies, but those make my skin peel for some reason. If you were sore, did it eventually just go away? Sometimes I feel like I'll have to grin and bear it forever!

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Smacking and sore nipples

    Welcome to the forum and congratulations on the new baby!

    Clicking/clucking/smacking/loss of suction while nursing is sometimes a problem and sometimes not. When a mom is not sore and baby is gaining weight well, it's not a problem. In your case, it sounds like a problem because you're sore.

    Babies click/cluck/smack/break suction for various reasons, including:
    - Fast letdowns. These are usually due to oversupply- the more milk mom has, the faster it comes out. Babies often discover that they can control the milk flow by clamping down on the nipple, or by breaking suction.
    - Tongue ties. Sometimes the baby doesn't have good maneuverability in her tongue, and this causes her to periodically lose her latch or to have her latch become shallower (and a shallow latch = compression and soreness).
    - Early introduction of artificial nipples (bottles or pacis) can cause a baby to have difficulties with latching.

    So, what do you do? In your shoes, I would:
    1. Think about your milk supply. Is it on the high side? Are you frequently engorged or full? Does the milk ever spray out when baby unlatches? Does the baby ever choke, gag, cough, or splutter while nursing? Does she feed really fast, maybe in 10 minutes or less? Are you pumping, and if so, do you get a lot of milk with little effort? If any of that sounds familiar, let us know and we 'll walk you through managing oversupply.
    2. Try reclined nursing positions. These are great for babies who have trouble maintaining their latch, because gravity holds them on the breast rather than pulling them away from the breast. Also, try propping the breast up with a rolled up washcloth tucked beneath it, to keep the breast from dragging at the baby's mouth.
    3. Have baby checked carefully for tongue tie. If there is a tie, it can be corrected with a simple outpatient procedure.
    4. Take away the bottles/pacis for a time, if you're using them. Give baby a single set of sucking skills to master, instead of several different sets (babies suck differently on pacis or bottles than they do on the breast).
    5. Be really, really patient. An imperfect latch should become more perfect with time, as baby gets bigger, stronger, and more adept.
    6. Get hands-on, professional help from a lactation consultant, preferably one with the IBCLC credential.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Smacking and sore nipples

    I am experiencing a similar problem with smacking/clicking. My daughter has become increasingly fussy at the breast. When my lo comes off the breast, milk is coming out of me quite fast... Part of the fussiness is reflux (extra burp sessions i assume?). But if thr problem is oversupply what can i do?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Smacking and sore nipples

    If the fast letdowns are being created by milk oversupply, you basically try everything listed above- reclined positions, check for tongue tie, take away bottles/pacis for a while, get hands-on help from a LC or (preferably) an IBCLC, and be patient. Also, if you are pumping in addition to nursing, and you're not required to pump because you're back on the job, stop pumping. It can exacerbate or perpetuate oversupply.

    If you try all of that and you still have a problem, you may need to graduate to block feeding. Block feeding means that you feed on just one breast at a time. If your oversupply problem is minor, you may alternate breasts between feedings. Feed off of breast A at one feeding, feed from breast B at the next, and so forth. If your oversupply is more significant, you may need to use a single breast for more than one feeding in a row (i.e. a longer "block" of time).

    Block feeding is designed to reduce supply, so it's something you want to do only if you are sure your problem is oversupply. It is possible to have fast letdowns without oversupply. Block feeding is also something which is an art rather than a science. It's important to form your nursing pattern around the baby and the fullness you're experiencing rather than the clock.

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