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Thread: 2 week old not staying latched

  1. #1

    Default 2 week old not staying latched

    My baby girl is 12 days old and I saw a lactation consultant in the hospital right after she was born but it was very overwhelming and she told me to use a nipple shield if I had to since my girl was born early at 37 weeks. My baby started getting used to the nipple shield and I was getting frustrated so I started to wean. I have been able to BF her without the shield for a few days now but it's no easy task. She will latch on and suck a few times and then just stop and release and go back to searching for the nipple. We go through this probably 6-10 times before she finally latches for good and starts to eat. She also likes to put her hands in the way of the nipple making me have to try and move them to get her mouth access and she gets irritated by it. Does anyone know what I can do to get her to latch for good on the first couple tries?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: 2 week old not staying latched

    Hi jenniferdrew, welcome to the forum and congratulations on the arrival of your dear baby.

    What you are going through sounds very similar to what I experienced with my oldest child, also born at 37 weeks. He would take an hour to latch each time we nursed...it was so frustrating.

    You do not mention pumping or bottles so I assume baby is exclusively nursed and gaining ok? Let me know if that is not the case.

    Seeing an IBCLC in the hospital may help in the immediate, but does not really help long term. This is because things change SO rapidly in the first couple of weeks- the breasts change, milk production changes (a LOT) and baby changes, these are all big changes and make a huge difference.

    Have you found out if there is a way to see a board certified lactation consultant now? That would be my first suggestion. While some fiddling about trying to get a latch par for the course at this early age, it should probably not be so difficult for your baby to get latched, it indicates a possible latch issue. Hands on, in person help from someone who knows what they are doing is almost always going to be the quickest path to addressing these kinds of difficulties. Here is an article that describes a properly done LC consult: http://www.cwgenna.com/lconsult.html

    In the meantime, here is what I would suggest.
    Encourage baby to nurse frequently. Newborns tend to nurse about 10-15 times in 24 hours, and usually not every such and such hours but rather in clusters. Nursing frequently helps breastfeeding get off to a good start many ways, but the way it helps latch is it helps keep the breast softened and baby calmer. It is harder for baby to latch to a fuller breast (usually, in rare cases a baby may have the opposite issue.)

    Try to get baby to the breast as soon as baby shows the slightest interest, in fact go ahead and offer to nurse even if baby is not looking yet, or even if baby is asleep. Babies at this age get hungry and frantic VERY quickly, even when over all they are getting plenty of milk. Once baby is frantic, things go downhill and it becomes harder and harder to get baby to latch because they become so disorganized. If this happens, try to comfort baby another way for a few moments and then try again.

    Experiment with different nursing positions and latch techniques. There are many, here are two I like to suggest when there is latch issue like this, however there is no one "correct" way so experiment.

    Position: Lean back, and have baby kind of on top of you, front to front. You can be in any amount of lean (just not flat on back) and baby can be in any position. Help baby find the nipple, help as much as needed, but also see if baby can kind of take the lead with latching from this position. Sometimes they can. This is called laid back position or "natural breastfeeding" if you want to look up pix and videos. Nancy Morhbacher has some that may help.

    Latch: take breast in your hand and gently squeeze or shape it to help baby get a better latch. This is called breast sandwich latch technique. Be careful that your fingers and thumb are far enough back on the breast they do not block baby's lips/chin as they try to latch.

    This article explains many different ideas: http://feedthebabyllc.com/latch-and-positioning/

    For the hands getting in the way, try the laid back position and gently guide her hands to hug the breast rather than grasp or block your nipple.

    Also you can try side lying position, this often helps with the hands thing too and in other ways. When you lay baby next to you, position her so her nose it at your nipple so she just has to tilt her head back a bit to get latched. If the latch is off or she is having a hard time getting latched, try snuggling her bottom more into you.

    If all else fails, you can try the shield again, if only at really difficult times. Yes it is very good you weaned off it and I do not say use it again lightly. They are supposed to be used as a temporary helper, not a long term solution. But nursing with a shield is still nursing, and if it helps give you and baby a break from some of the difficulties, it is probably ok to use again as long as you do not use it too long and also you are sure baby is getting enough milk and your milk production is not being harmed. Some moms have to pump at least somewhat when using shields to protect their milk production.
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; August 27th, 2017 at 10:50 PM.

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