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Thread: Latch problems

  1. #1
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    Oct 2015
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    Default Latch problems

    My LO is 6 weeks and I've been EBF for most of that time. All of a sudden I've started having problems latching her properly. Just in the past few days she's been on and off very frequently, and even if she stays on I can just pull my nipple out of her mouth. We've had issues in the past but I saw an LC and everything was going fairly well, then this happened. It's getting so frustrating because she gets super fussy and it takes over an hour for each feeding. I'm afraid it means she's not getting enough as well. I don't want to give up on BF but I don't know how to fix the problem. I just don't understand how we went from feeding fine to not being able to latch properly. Is it normal to have an issue like this just pop up out of nowhere? How do I fix this when I don't even know what I'm doing wrong?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Latch problems

    Hi, first I want to reassure you- what is most unlikely that a baby who has been breastfeeding basically fine until 6 weeks would suddenly no longer do so. So I think it is unlikely this issue will result in the end of breastfeeding.

    I can think of a few reasons this might occur. I am not saying this is an exhaustive list, just what I can think of right now based on what you are saying. I am listing them in no particular order.
    1) there is actually nothing wrong at all, but behavior at the breast has changed, which is common and normal. Being able to pull the nipple out of baby's mouth is not necessarily a sign of any issue, nor are long feedings, necessarily.
    2) your milk flow is more forceful than baby prefers. This is called fast letdown or forceful letdown or overactive letdown, and is a common issue particularly at this age. This would possibly cause baby to not only pull off the breast, but to almost be pushed off the breast by the flow. This or may not be accompanied by other signs of fast letdown.
    3) Baby has thrush and is pulling off because nursing hurts. typically, you would also have thrush and it would hurt you as well. You can look for white patches inside babies mouth. (Not a white tongue, which is usually normal.)
    4) Whatever position(s) you are nursing in are no longer working well. Many positions moms adapt cause baby to be literally pulled away from the nipple by gravity.
    5) For some reason, the flow is too slow causing frustration. This would be highly unlikely at this age unless you have started taking something or doing something that might decrease milk production.
    6) Baby has gotten bottles and is unlearning how to nurse as a result. The more bottles, the more likely this will occur. Also, if bottles are given incorrectly, that more likely this will occur. Other forms of supplementing such as a cup could possibly cause the same issues although it is less likely.
    7) There is something tiny trapped in baby's mouth or throat causing discomfort with latching or swallowing, or something else causing discomfort (ear infection, headache, teething (yes, sometimes it can be this early although very rare.)

    The remedies for these vary, but aside from thrush treatment perhaps, (which you probably want to avoid until you have more evidence that is the problem,) none are going to be in any way interventions that you want to avoid. In other words, these are all benign and you can try several ideas at once.
    I would suggest, offer to nurse as often as you can. This will helps particularly with fast letdown or low milk production issues. Yes, it actually works for both.
    Adjust your positioning so baby is more on top of you so gravity is working with you. This is often called laid back nursing or biological nurturing.
    Adopt a latch-on technique that allows baby to get a "better mouthful." Such as breast sandwich latch. Read up on asymmetric latch, etc. If baby is really not getting on the breast well, then she may not be "milking" the breast well and not getting as much milk. IN that case, the flow may be too slow for her, rather than to fast. For that, try getting a better latch and perhaps breast compressions.

    If your own interventions do not do something very soon (next 24 hours) I would suggest see LC again if that is possible.

    How is output? If baby is still pooping a few times a day, you can be pretty sure baby is getting plenty of milk. Since NOT pooping everyday is something that can normally occur at this age, the reverse is not true. IN that case, you can look at wets. But in all cases the best measure is accurately done weight checks.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Re: Latch problems

    Welcome to the forum!

    Changes in nursing behavior are common, and they do tend to pop up out of nowhere. I have some questions for you that mat help us sort out what's going on- bear with me!

    1. Can you post a complete weight history for your baby, including birth weight, lowest weight, and weight at each checkup? It helps if you post weights in the following format: baby's age in weeks - baby's weight in lbs/oz or kg
    2. How does nursing feel?
    3. How many times per 24 hour period does baby nurse?
    4. Does the baby sleep long stretches at night?
    5. Are you pumping at all, and if so, how is that going?
    6. Have you recently noticed any adjustments to supply? Perhaps you recently went from feeling full on a regular basis to feeling "empty" most of the time...?
    7. How many wet and poop diapers does the baby have per day?
    8. What color is the baby's poop?
    9. Are you offering any bottles or pacifiers?
    10. Are you using a nipple shield?

  4. #4
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    Oct 2015
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    22

    Default Re: Latch problems

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommal View Post
    Welcome to the forum!

    Changes in nursing behavior are common, and they do tend to pop up out of nowhere. I have some questions for you that mat help us sort out what's going on- bear with me!

    1. Can you post a complete weight history for your baby, including birth weight, lowest weight, and weight at each checkup? It helps if you post weights in the following format: baby's age in weeks - baby's weight in lbs/oz or kg
    2. How does nursing feel?
    3. How many times per 24 hour period does baby nurse?
    4. Does the baby sleep long stretches at night?
    5. Are you pumping at all, and if so, how is that going?
    6. Have you recently noticed any adjustments to supply? Perhaps you recently went from feeling full on a regular basis to feeling "empty" most of the time...?
    7. How many wet and poop diapers does the baby have per day?
    8. What color is the baby's poop?
    9. Are you offering any bottles or pacifiers?
    10. Are you using a nipple shield?
    1. Birth weight was 7lbs 12oz, discharge weight 7lbs 3oz. 5 days old 7lbs 5 oz. 2 weeks 8lbs 1/2oz, 1 month 8lbs 15oz.
    2. It hurt a lot at first but now I can barely feel it. I do still feel the letdown which is very uncomfortable.
    3. We nurse at least 8 times everyday, more if she wants to.
    4. She usually does one 4-5 hr stretch, then goes back to 2-3 hrs.
    5. I pumped for 2 weeks and just gave bottles when she was about 1 week old because the dr said she wasn't gaining enough and didn't have the energy to nurse properly (she would just fall asleep). Once she gained enough I went back to BF and have only given her a bottle once since then when I had to be away for a while.
    6. I had noticed that but now that we're having this issue I'm back to feeling full most of the time.
    7. We have plenty of wet diapers, and at least 3 or 4 dirty diapers a day.
    8. Poop is usually greenish yellow. Sometimes it's that mustardy yellow everyone talks about.
    9. No bottles unless I'm away (only happened once in the past 3 weeks). She does get a pacifier occasionally but not often.
    10. No nipple shields.

    I hope this info can give you some insight into what might be going on here. I really want BF to be a pleasant experience but this is making it very stressful for both of us.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Latch problems

    Okay, that all looks pretty good!

    From baby's lowest known weight, she has gained 28 oz in just under a month. From 0-4 months, you would expect about 5-7 oz of gain per week, or around 20-28 oz in 4 weeks. So your baby is actually gaining on the higher end of the spectrum. That's not too surprising based on some of the other things you mention- like feeling powerful letdown sensation, feeling full all the time, and seeing greenish yellow poop. All those things indicate that your supply is actually on the high side, which is just what we'd expect with a month-old baby; most moms find that their bodies err on the side of overproduction when their babies are tiny. It helps with weight gain and it helps ensure that the baby gets plenty of food while mastering the tricky art of nursing.

    The problem with high supply is that it can cause fast letdowns. For a new baby, handling a fast letdown is like drinking from a fire hose! When a baby is experiencing fast letdowns, it's very common for her to act very fussy at the breast and to pull off the breast when the flow speed is too much, or when her tummy is full and she can't decide whether to keep nursing and get her sucking needs met, or stop nursing and go without that lovely sucking sensation.

    The best things to do if you have a problem with fast letdowns are:
    1. Nurse more often. The fuller the breast gets, the faster the milk comes out. Frequent nursing keeps the breast from getting overfull, and makes letdowns slower.
    2. Take a "finish the first breast first" approach to nursing. That is, let baby stay on breast A for as long a she wants, offering breast B only after she comes off of A on her own, and not worrying if she shows no interest in nursing from breast B.
    3. Use reclined nursing positions, a.k.a. biological nurturing positions. They combat fast flow and keep the baby on the breast by enlisting the help of gravity.
    4. If baby is popping off the breast during letdowns, take her off the breast and let the milk spray into a towel for a bit. Then put her back when the flow subsides.

  6. #6
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    Oct 2015
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    Default Re: Latch problems

    Thank you so much for your advice. From what I had read I was thinking I might have oversupply. I'm trying different positions and side lying seems to work the best, although not convenient if I ever want to leave the house. I also think my letdown might be what is causing LO to have a lot of gas. I try to burp her as often as I can but when I do it in the middle of a feeding she cries which is probably causing her to swallow more air. It's like a vicious cycle. But if I don't burp her a lot she'll spit up a ton. I feel like there are so many obstacles that this may never get easier.

  7. #7
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Latch problems

    I know it can be frustrating. Yes, babies get gas. They spit up, and some spit up a ton. They cry and swallow air and some need help to burp. These are normal things. They happen to most babies -no matter how baby is fed. In fact, spit up is so common that some pediatric researchers think that there is a health benefit to babies spiting up breastmilk.

    You will not have to side lie nurse forever, For one thing, there are other methods to help baby deal with fast flow, for another, over production is very much a temporary issue. 4-6 weeks is the natural peak of milk production, so unless you do anything to unnaturally increase production, production will naturally subside as your body figures out it is making more than enough milk.

    Nursing frequently is the easiest and most effective method for helping a baby deal with fast letdown. Sidelying position works well too, and laid back nursing also helps. Laid back nursing can be done anywhere, all it means is you lean back with baby more on top with thee body positioned in a way that helps them handle the flow. You can adjust this position as you like. I have also done a modified side lie position in public.

    I had OP with all three if my kids. I nursed all 3 in public starting with the newborn stage. It gets easier the more you do it.

    Nursing gets easier. I promise. Babyhood in general gets easier. Does mothering ever get easier? That I am not sure of. Once you get one stage figured out, they move onto another!

    Many moms find the early weeks with a newborn difficult, regardless of how the baby is fed. The mistake many moms make is thinking that breastfeeding is the problem, or the primary problem, and that not breastfeeding is the solution, when the actual problem is that life with a newborn is harder than anyone ever imagines. I have talked to many moms who stopped nursing in the early weeks due to real or perceived feeding issues, who later regretted that decision. Unfortunately, this is not a choice that is easy to reverse, and in many cases it is not possible to reverse it. I have yet to meet a single mother who wished she had stopped nursing earlier than she did.

    This article on fast flow and positioning may help: http://www.nancymohrbacher.com/blog?tag=Fast+Milk+Flow

  8. #8
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: Latch problems

    Gas and fussiness are par for the course with a new baby. A lot of moms think that they must be doing something wrong when their baby is fussy and screams and acts like tooting is the most traumatic experience of their lives- which I suppose it might be, when you consider that they only just started needing to do it! Anyway, this fussy/screaming/gassy phase is when many moms feel pressure to change how their baby acts by changing how or what their baby eats. Formula-feeding moms start frantically switching formulas, looking for the one that won't "upset" their baby's digestion. Nursing moms start contemplating making adjustments to how they nurse, when they nurse, or even if they nurse. But if we could all just accept that new babies are fussy, gassy, and screamy, no matter what or how they eat, we could relieve ourselves of a lot of responsibility and guilt!

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