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Thread: Tips to prevent initial clamping of jaws?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
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    Default Tips to prevent initial clamping of jaws?

    My baby and I have had quite the breastfeeding journey. Brief history: Breastfeeding was excruciatingly painful for the first 2 months and after several visits with LCs and the pediatrician, I finally went to a pediatric ENT who diagnosed and clipped my baby for both upper lip and posterior tongue tie. Since then, breastfeeding has been much much better.

    However, one thing I cannot seem to fix, and which has existed from the very beginning, is his aggressive clamping down of my nipples for the first 5-10 seconds of every latch. While breastfeeding is much better now than it was before, the initial clamping is still causing pain to my nipples. I also think it's preventing my nipples from healing (I have several cracks and blisters from the several months of poor latching).

    The clamping happens regardless of position - cradle, cross-cradle, football, side-lying, reclining, you name it, I have tried it at this point! I do think I have slight oversupply but I do not think that this is what is causing the clamping as the clamping occurs during the very initial latch, not during let-down.

    I would greatly appreciate hearing advice on how to prevent or even lessen this clamping.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Columbus, OH
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    Default Re: Tips to prevent initial clamping of jaws?

    Ouch! This sounds like it really stinks!!
    How deep are you getting your nipple in his mouth when he latches? It seems like a clamp down further back wouldn't be as bad as a clamp down right on the nipple. With my baby, if I'm not really on my game (like when I'm tired... So most of the time) I don't stuff enough of me into her mouth as she opens wide and I'm much more likely to get the nipple chomp!

    It's also more likely when I'm really full, so I'm looking forward to hearing what kind of advice you get.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    24,794

    Default Re: Tips to prevent initial clamping of jaws?

    Sometimes moms get a short-lived "sizzle" when their babies first latch on. The nipple starts out too shallow in the baby's mouth, where it gets compressed and hurt. But after the baby has been sucking for 10-60 seconds, the nipple is drawn into the ideal position on the back of the tongue, the compression stops, and the pain ends. Best way to deal with it is to aim for the deepest possible initial latch.

  4. #4
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    Dec 2013
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    Default Re: Tips to prevent initial clamping of jaws?

    Thanks! The latch is pretty deep - he is clamping on my areola so I'm sure it hurts less than it would be if he clamped on nipple but hurts nevertheless!

  5. #5
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    Nov 2013
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    Columbus, OH
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    Default Re: Tips to prevent initial clamping of jaws?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*flutey16 View Post
    Thanks! The latch is pretty deep -
    Hmmm...
    What position are you using?
    I notice that my baby is more likely to clamp down if she's not belly to belly with me. Maybe she feels less stable and clamps down for stability? Maybe there's a similar "reason" for yours? Or maybe a different position would be better for other reasons?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
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    Default Re: Tips to prevent initial clamping of jaws?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*jessicanewmom View Post
    Hmmm...
    What position are you using?
    We typically use the cross cradle position or cradle. I tried the football hold but find it harder to get a deeper latch (same with the side lying position). I'll try making sure our torsos are touching before the latch - I do forget about that sometimes since I'm so focused on making sure his mouth is wide open.

  7. #7
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    Nov 2013
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    Columbus, OH
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    Default Re: Tips to prevent initial clamping of jaws?

    Okay. Last idea. The lactation consultant I saw suggested watching baby and figuring out when she was not in a deep sleep and then trying to feed her at that time. It never actually worked for us; I can't get her to latch unless she is really awake. But I imagine a slightly asleep baby, if you could get him to latch, might be less likely to chop down.

    Hopefully someone with some better ideas will chime in.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    10,754

    Default Re: Tips to prevent initial clamping of jaws?

    I agree with the latching when asleep/sleepy idea. I also agree this may be helped with different positioning. Also, if you are not already doing so, try to bring baby to the breast at the very earliest cues.

    I do not know what positions or latch techniques you have tried, so here are several links with more info you can check out if you like. I also suggest, revisit positions you have tried before that did not 'work.' Sometimes it takes several tries and/or adjustments to find the unique way you and baby 'fit together' best.

    Tips with pictures on latch and different positioning ideas (includes side lying) http://www.llli.org/faq/positioning.html

    Laid back position http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfeeding.pdf

    Laid back video http://www.biologicalnurturing.com/video/bn3clip.html

    Here are two simple pictorials, you want the one on latch. Notice that the mother is in a “slightly” laid back position, looks like on a couch? This is a very “adjustable” position, play around to find how you and your baby are most comfortable. http://cwgenna.com/quickhelp.html

    This video is not in English but it does not matter. Shows the versatility of laid back nursing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SZ3zb5OYMA

    latch and 'Breast sandwich' article http://www.llli.org/llleaderweb/lv/lvfebmar04p3.html (probably only needed if baby cannot latch, cannot latch well enough to transfer milk normally, or latch is hurting mom)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
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    19

    Default Re: Tips to prevent initial clamping of jaws?

    Thank you for the tips! My little guy is ALWAYS hungry and always seems ravenous each time we feed. I do try to pay attention to the initial hunger signs and feed him before he starts crying/fussing but it's hard to always do so when we're eating every 1.5-2 hours! I have noticed though that if I get him latched on when he's sleepy (like in the middle of the night or early morning) there is minimal clamping.

    I will try different positions and see which help us. Thanks again!

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