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Thread: Latching problems and LONG feelings- help!

  1. #1

    Default Latching problems and LONG feelings- help!

    Hello, I'm new to LLLI! My son is 4 weeks old (he's my first), and he's had latching issues since day one. I have short/semi-flat nipples and he was born at 37 weeks and was 5 lb 12 oz. he wasn't able to latch on at the hospital and the LC gave me a nipple shield to use. When He was born he immediately wanted to nurse but they wouldn't let me feed him because he had a lot of fluid in his lungs, and after 5 min with him they took him away and had him hooked up to machines all day with an IV. Before they brought him to me that night, they gave him a bottle of formula without my consent... I was livid! I wonder if this screwed up my bf from the start.

    Anyway, he's been using a nipple shield and is gaining weight fantastically. However, he'd ALWAYS takes 1 to 2 hours to eat, and our cluster feeding usually lasts 4 hours. I've been working with another LC on getting him to latch, and I think we're slowly making progress. Sometimes he'll latch right away, sometimes he has to use the nipple shield first and then I can remove it, and sometimes he just tries and tries to latch and can't/won't do it. Obviously doing this takes even longer to feed.

    I guess I'm rambling, but I wanted to tell my whole situation. Everything Ives read about bf says babies should be taking a lot less time to eat. My milk flow is great, so I don't think that's a problem. Are feedings this long common for newer babies or babies with latching issues? My pediatrician told me he should drain one breast in 15 min and then I should offer him the other. After that if he stills seems hungry then he's probably pacifying and I should use a pacifier or give him my finger to suck on. He won't suck on my finger for long and I'm afraid to give him a pacifier because of the latching issues.

    I am returning to work on Feb 5th. I work full time from home and he will be staying here with me. I'm worried that if he keeps this up it will be impossible to feed him while I'm working Any help would be greatly appreciated!
    Last edited by @llli*lilbmom; January 11th, 2014 at 11:49 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Latching problems and LONG feelings- help!

    Hi lilbmom and welcome to the forum, and congrats on new baby.

    Long sessions are very common in the early weeks, even if latch is fine. Basically, as long as baby is gaining normally and nursing does not hurt mom, all is going pretty well and the rest is fine tuning. As baby gets older and bigger and stronger baby should nurse more efficiently. You could try breast compressions to see if that helps at all.

    It sounds as if you are making good progress with weaning off the shield, which is great. Shields can be helpful tools but it is possible the shield is contributing to the longer sessions. Plus once you are off the shields nursing is just simpler.

    My pediatrician told me he should drain one breast in 15 min and then I should offer him the other. After that if he stills seems hungry then he's probably pacifying and I should use a pacifier or give him my finger to suck on. He won't suck on my finger for long and I'm afraid to give him a pacifier because of the latching issues.
    Switch nursing (asking baby to switch breasts frequently) is a technique for increasing production if baby is not gaining well. In other words, it has nothing to do with normal breastfeeding and it is NOT needed in the normal course of breastfeeding. When baby is gaining well it is totally fine to let baby 'finish the first breast first' which means, let baby nurse on one side until baby is 'done.' At that point, you can offer the other side but it's fine if baby is not interested. If baby has nursed to sleep on the one side, just start the next session on the other side. At this age, you can expect baby to nurse quite frequently.

    A baby is never "just pacifying" at the breast, just as a baby is never "just eating." All sucking is comforting to baby and usually, there is nutrition going into baby as well. This is the way we are designed. Breasts were designed for baby to get food and comfort at the same time! it’s very efficient if you think about it.. There is nothing at all wrong with baby nursing for comfort, nursing to sleep, etc. In fact, that is all a vital and normal part of breastfeeding.

    I don't know what to tell you about work. What kind of work do you do? Most computer/phone type work can be done while baby nurses or sleeps in your arms. If it's something where you cannot be holding baby, you may need a sitter to help with feedings and taking care of baby. But that would be true whether you were nursing or not.

    If you don't have a copy of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (8th edition) I strongly suggest that. There is a lot of incorrect info floating around about breastfeeding. You want to rely on trustworthy sources. And the most trustworthy source is your baby and your body and your instincts.

    breast compressions - http://www.breastfeedinginc.ca/conte...agename=doc-BC

    normal in early weeks- http://kellymom.com/bf/normal/newborn-nursing/

    mother tips: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...needtoknow.pdf
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; January 12th, 2014 at 12:57 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,598

    Default Re: Latching problems and LONG feelings- help!

    with LLLMeg.

    Your baby is still very young and you're using a shield- those 2 things together can really slow feedings down. But your baby will get bigger and stronger and more adept at nursing, and hopefully you'll be able to get rid of the shield soon, and at that point I'm thinking you'll see an increase in efficiency at the breast. It's just a bit early to expect it.
    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!"

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