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Thread: NB latching intermittently-won't clamp on nipple

  1. #1

    Default NB latching intermittently-won't clamp on nipple

    Hello all!

    New dad here trying to find some advice. Our beautiful daughter was born April 2, and seems to be thriving! At the hospital she had zero problems latching on, however the first night home she went 4 hrs between feedings because she wouldn't latch! We finally supplemented about .5 oz of formula just to settle her belly and she latched on immediately. Since then she will randomly not latch and become furious at the breast. We calm her with skin to skin, and try again once she is calm, it can make a feeding last 1.5 hrs at times. We are both coping with the screaming but this is our first child and it makes sleeping VERY difficult. Average of 3 hrs per night since we have gotten home:-/.

    Here is the problem in a nutshell:
    Wife has beautiful breasts 36D with nipples 1/2 inch long and medium size around.
    Baby latched immediately in hospital
    Typical time between feeding is 2 hrs but no more than 3hrs.
    Once home baby found her lungs and can become very angry!!(like any baby I assume)
    - calming her before presenting the breast is essential
    Baby will root for nipple just doesn't close her mouth when nipple touches her tongue/lower lip.
    -problem is random and it's a 50/50 shot if she latches on immediately
    We have only fed .5 oz of formula through a bottle one time.
    We have been using a pacifier simply because she gets sooo angry and it truly comforts her.
    We have 0 problems with an efficient latch once she clamps down
    -good sucking motion, proper placement on the pallet, no unduly sore nipples etc
    Use cradle or football hold.

    My wife is coping with the lack of sleep better than I, but I just want to know if there is something we are missing. I have to go back to work this week and want to ensure she doesn't fall into PPD due to sleep deprivation and stress!!

    Thank you for any advice you ladies may offer!

    Also, breast pump on the way to ensure we never have to use formula. Thanks'

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: NB latching intermittently-won't clamp on nipple

    Hi and congratulations on your new baby.
    It often takes several days even weeks for a baby to latch nurse and effectively every time. However thisdoes not necessarily mean the baby needs to be supplemented. Babies tend to want to nurse extremely frequently and if you nurse baby very very frequently, they may get enough milk even if they are not able to latch on perfectly every single time. Whether to supplement or not is a call you kind of need to make in the moment, but I would suggest that it be done carefully when it is done. Same with pacifier use. If you go to the website www.KellyMom.com, she has an excellent article about early days and what is normal.

    Here's how to help the baby who tends to be fussy and disorganized and having a difficult time nursing presumably due mostly to that, rather than some real issue with being able to latch.
    Nurse at the very very earliest cues. Or even offer before there are any cues. Basically don't give baby a chance to get concerned.
    Try laid-back breast-feeding or biological nurturing positions. If you search these terms you will find information on this. This is a position that seems to help a lot of babies feel calmer and more secure and also allows baby to self latch more. But that does not mean you don't still help baby if baby needs help. Also whenever mom tries biological nurturing, it is very typical that it feels awkward at first. Encourage mom to adjust her position however she likes. She can lean back just slightly or more, just never totally flat on her back. Also reclined nursing could be done on a bed or couch or recliner chair.

    Also try the breast sandwich technique for shaping the breast to help baby get a better latch. If you Search breast sandwich technique you should be able to find some information. Make sure the information is from a lactation consultant. Also if you go to the website of Catherine Watson Genna and go to her latch help section she has a nice little pictorial on latch.
    Instant reward is a good way to help baby latch. It sounds like you did that by giving baby a little bit of milk in the bottle. Another way to do that would be to dribble some milk on the nipple to help baby understand that that's the place to go. If mom is able to hand express a few drops of milk that will do the same thing.
    Latch can be beautiful in the hospital and then get much more tricky once the breasts begin to become full with milk. This is very common. If mom is having difficulty with over fullness or engorgement, there are some things to try for that. I would suggest finding the engorgement article on this site that includes information on reverse pressure softening.
    If baby continues to have so much difficulty latching that mom is feeling that she needs to pump and you guys are feeling that you need to supplement baby with formula or expressed milk, I would suggest getting some hands-on local help if that is possible. Sometimes there's more going on and baby truly is having difficulty latching and needs more assistance. Local health would include local la or he league or other breast-feeding volunteer counselors, or a professional board-certified lactation consultant.
    Hope this helps!
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; April 8th, 2014 at 04:59 PM.

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