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Thread: 2 weeks in and trouble

  1. #1

    Default 2 weeks in and trouble

    Hi,

    I was wondering if anyone can advise around our situation or comment on their own experiences.

    My little one is 11 days old, and we're having a lot of trouble breast feeding him. The issues started really as soon as he was born, he showed no interest in the breast, and didn't feed for 3 days. In the end we had to express on a spoon to feed him, which was painfully slow and difficult. He would kick and squirm and move his head away from the spoon.

    In the mean time we continued to breastfeed, but his gape was small, and his latch shallow - barely covering the nipple. Then he would only comfort suck, which became painful for my partner and led to nipple cracks, blisters, blood. He eventually got the latch on day 5, and we were discharged, however the latching was causing further pain (although from the outside looking good)

    We had to take break from breastfeeding for 2 day to allow the breast to heal, by this time he was consuming 60mls plus a feed, and we had to give it to him via a bottle (against our desires) as he would reject a spoon or cup and end up knocking it everywhere.

    Now the breasts have healed, we've been offering the breast first, and topping him up with expressed milk in a bottle after. But he often pushes away, kicks, squirms when held close to the nipple. He will occasionally get it, and latch for 5-10mins, in which his latch looks good but is often painful, and the nipple looks distorted when he comes off. However most of the time he doesn't seem to 'get it' and becomes visibly stressed by ordeal.

    Is it an age/experience thing? Will he get it as he gets older? (friends have told us it took them weeks 6-9 to finally master it)

    Is it a size thing? I feel his mouth is small and he can't enough nipple in his mouth.

    I am slightly concerned by the use of a bottle at his age, but there is no other way we could get enough milk into him. Has anyone else used a bottle this early and managed to get their baby back on to the breast?

    thanks

    Nick&Jen

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,999

    Default Re: 2 weeks in and trouble

    Welcome to the forum and congratulations on the new baby!

    When a new mom is having latch problems, the best thing she can do is to get hands-on help from a lactation consultant, preferably an IBCLC. She needs to see someone who understands that a latch can look great on the outside and still be crappy on the inside. Someone who is willing to help her with positioning. Someone who knows how to check the baby for tongue and lip ties. Preferably someone who will do a before-and-after-nursing weight check to help determine whether or not the baby is capable of feeding effectively. Someone who can help mom with a nipple shield, if using one is indicated. Someone who can help mom with pumping if that needs to be part of her routine.

    You can find IBCLCs in the phone book (sometimes), through your pediatrician, or through your local LLL.

    If it's expensive, eat the cost- it's cheaper than a year's worth of formula. If money is an issue, it may help to ask if you can pay a reduced or spread-out fee- many LCs will do this because they like helping moms and babies more than they like making money, thank goodness!

    To answer your specific questions: yes, age, experience, and size are all very important to a baby's ability to nurse. Things should get better if mom can just hang in there long enough- but don't expect everything to get better at a predefined time. Just hanging in there until 6 weeks may be all it takes to get breastfeeding sorted- but it could take longer. That's why it makes sense to get professional help now.

    Lots of moms have used bottles early on and gone on to exclusively nurse, myself included. But bottles are a risk- a lot of babies do get hooked on them and start refusing to nurse- and you want to limit their use if possible. But this has to be a choice that mom makes- it's her nipples getting hurt, after all, and that's an incredibly painful experience. Only she knows whether or not she can persist.
    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!"

  3. #3

    Default Re: 2 weeks in and trouble

    Hi! Congratulations on your new baby!! I have successfully nursed 3 kiddos now. When I had our first baby I too experienced the same problem! My nipples were cracked, bleeding, and so painful I would sit and cry while nursing! I read a nursing book that gave me THE ONE MOST IMPORTANT TIP that led me to be able to nurse each of my children with no pain and no problems. A lot of times when trying to get baby to latch, a mother will point the nipple directly at the baby's mouth. This seems logical, but does not allow for the baby to get the proper latch on. Instead, point the nipple at the baby's nose and slide down into the mouth. Baby's generally are born with the natural sucking and latching instincts. Don't give up! I promise it will be worth it in the end. Lanolin will help the cracks and bleeding. Try not to get baby to used to the bottle as it is a completely different sucking pattern than nursing! Best of luck to your partner! Let me know if you have any other questions!

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