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Thread: 15 Day old newborn suddenly not latching/nursing

  1. #1

    Default 15 Day old newborn suddenly not latching/nursing

    I have a 15 day old infant that was born full term (41 weeks 2 days) and right away, he latched on to the breast and seemed to feed well for the first few days of life. I have truly flat nipples but have been able to use the breast sandwich technique to get as much tissue into his mouth as possible. For about the first week, we successfully breastfed all feedings even though I had some cracked nipple issues, which have since cleared up.

    However, over the past 3-4 days, his latch has been increasingly lazy and shallow, and he seems to be barely sucking at all. He especially hates the left breast - sometimes he will just close his mouth tightly and refuse it. Today, it seems as if he has forgotten how to latch at all, and I have to flange out his lips and work really hard to get his mouth to open wide enough. After that, he spits out the nipple or lets it easily fall out of his mouth at least 7-8 times before he will finally suck a few times and MAYBE feed (active swallowing) for 5 minutes. The latch seems so shallow, even though I am making a concerted effort to put as much breast tissue as I can into his open mouth. Then he will fall asleep for a few minutes and then root furiously, so I attempt to latch him on the other breast and we go through the whole routine again.

    It seems like I can feel his tongue constantly pushing against the tip of my nipple in his mouth, which is a sensation that is driving me nuts, but I can't possibly get a deeper latch because his mouth isn't big enough!

    Can you offer any suggestions on how to get him more interested in breastfeeding again or how to manage this issue? I've had to pump and supplement feedings with breast milk because otherwise he simply will not take my breast. He seems to accept a bottle of breastmilk just fine most of the time, but does have a few problems learning to draw the nipple in of the bottle at first also...

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: 15 Day old newborn suddenly not latching/nursing

    Hi, sorry you're having this frustration after weeks of problem free breast-feeding! That must be frustrating however since we know baby is capable of nursing just fine this is probably a problem that can be fixed without too much trouble hopefully.

    Until this started happening was baby getting bottles or pacifiers? If so how often?
    Also were you pumping? Or only since this problem started?
    How has baby's weight gain been? How about poop output?
    How many times in 24 hours was baby typically nursing?

    Do you have any symptoms of overabundant production or a very fast let down?
    When baby latches and nurses is it painful? I understand it is irritating I'm just trying to figure out if you are actually being injured.
    Babies have small mouths and breasts are often big in comparison. Babies are usually perfectly capable of nursing fine on even large breasts in most cases. I'm wondering what all you have tried for helping baby get a better latch. One thing that can make latch much more difficult is if mom is engorged or very full. If this is happening first I would suggest trying reverse pressure softening before baby latches -if you find the engorgement FAQ on this website it has a good description of this. The other thing that will help with this is to encourage baby to nurse more frequently.
    There is a website called feed the baby and it has a very good article on it called latch and positioning and it covers many different types of latch and positioning ideas to try.

  3. #3

    Default Re: 15 Day old newborn suddenly not latching/nursing

    Thanks for your reply! Yes, it is very frustrating and confusing...
    So I've tried to give baby a pacifier but he doesn't really like them, so I stopped trying that. However, my husband has been giving him bottles of breastmilk at night (1 around 10:30pm, 1 around 3am) and then I have nursed him the rest of the day. We saw no problems at all with this method until the last few days - now I'm worried that he might have nipple confusion (delayed response maybe?)

    I started pumping right away when I got home from the hospital, after each feeding session, because I had latch issues with my first son and exclusively pumped for him, which is so much work. I think my latch issues are mainly due to flat nipples and trying to get enough breast tissue in his mouth to effectively suck. I'm fairly positive that my supply is fine, but it is definitely better in my right side and I'm almost sure that my letdown is much faster on the right.

    At baby's checkup on Wednesday (day before the problems started), he had been almost exclusively breastfed and had gained 11 ounces over his birth weight in 1 week! He was doing great. He has a poopy diaper and a wet diaper at every feeding. Typically he would nurse 8-10 times per day when things were going well and I rarely had to wake him for feedings.

    Latch issues first arose when my milk came in and I was engorged - he had a shallow latch and my nipples suffered a lot of damage - but I got some presciption cream that cleared up the injuries and now I focus on getting a much deeper latch with him. My breasts are kind of big but I'm rarely engorged anymore, so the nipple and areola seem soft enough that nursing should be completely possible. But today when he tries to latch, it's really difficult to get his mouth open wide enough and then his upper lip always gets caught "under" - I have to manually flip out his lip. Also, his tongue flips to the top of his mouth and I find myself having to push it down a lot before I try to offer the breast. This problem just started today and I'm just not understanding what I could be doing differently...

    I will check out the website you mentioned though! Your feedback is greatly appreciated

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: 15 Day old newborn suddenly not latching/nursing

    ok, thanks. So here is what I am guessing might be going on.

    1) Baby is gaining very fast and pooping a ton, which is great, but may indicate you may have a little bit of an overabundant production. This is actually pretty common in the early weeks and usually is not a problem and goes away on its own. But it can sometimes cause both moms and babies some problems with nursing in the interim. Pumping after each feeding is a great way to make more milk if milk production is low. Unfortunately, if done when not needed or more than needed it results in too MUCH milk. So while I understand why you are/were pumping, I think that may be part of the problem.

    2) The bottles are causing a problem. There is a common misunderstanding that 'nipple confusion' is something that happens right away, after one or two bottles or a few days. Actually, it is much more typical for regular bottles to cause issues many days, weeks, or months down the road. Same with pacifiers, btw. Basically the less bottles and pacifiers in the early weeks especially, the better, for avoiding breastfeeding issues.

    Why do bottles cause problems? For many reasons. Actually what I suspect may be going on here is the bottles are resulting in too long a time between nursing sessions. When a mom has lots of milk, as she should and normally would at this point, or more than enough milk, as I suspect may be the case here, it is very important baby nurses with high frequency to remove the milk frequently and avoid overfullness, engorgement ,and fast letdown. Normal nursing frequency at this point? At least 10 times a 24 hour day, often more. So if this is not happening, these issues can crop up and cause baby to not be happy at the breast.

    Additionally, bottles can result in baby expecting a faster than normal flow or 'letdown' at the breast, basically, the bottles train baby away from expecting what is normal in terms of what he needs to do to get milk to flow from the breast in the first place, and/or, how fast it flows into him. It is not that mom has a slow letdown, usually. it is that baby begins to expect an abnormal immediate letdown as it seems he is getting with the bottles. Basically, what a baby has to do to get milk out of the breast ans what he has to do to get milk out of a bottle are so completely different it causes the problems collectively known as nipple confusion.

    So my suggestion is to stop pumping and stop bottles and encourage baby to nurse as often as baby will, day and night. I would only suggest, pump or hand express just enough to feel comfort if you are starting to feel full and cannot get baby to nurse. If bottles are unavoidable, keep them very small and use paced bottle feeding to avoid baby overfilling with bottle, and pump at about the same time bottle is given or nurse after baby is calmed by a little milk in the bottle.

    I also suggest trying a leaning back position to slow the flow and assist with deeper latch. If baby cannot get a good latch on his own, have you tried a breast sandwich latch technique?

    The other possibility, is that you have NOT been pumping when the bottles were happening and your milk production has consequently been lowered due to infrequent milk removal and let down is slow. I doubt this is the case but even if it is, the cure would be more frequent nursing as well. Basically, more frequent nursing cures all ills especially in the early months.

    It is normal for one side to be preferred, so I am not too worried about that. Gently encourage baby to pay attention to both sides as much as you can.

    here is info on helping baby handle a fast flow and laid back as well as other links that you may find helpful. play around with laid back, it is a very adjustable position. read about it, don't just follow the pictures because you may or may not want to do it like in the pics. btw I do NOT suggest block feeding at this point. That is often suggested for overabundant production and fast letdown but is a drastic measure with its own set of issues. If it is needed, that will become obvious I think.

    I hope this helps. if not, let me know. There is always another thing to try.

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

    laid back and fast flow http://www.nancymohrbacher.com/blog/...-breastfeeding

    help baby wont nurse http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/child/back-to-breast/

    fast letdown http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/supp.../fast-letdown/

    latch/positioning http://feedthebabyllc.com/latch-and-positioning/

    paced bottle feeding http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfedbaby.pdf and video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UH4T70OSzGs
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; February 21st, 2015 at 10:25 PM.

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