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Thread: Trouble with Latching

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    9,280

    Default Trouble with Latching

    My 5 week old son's latch seems to have changed in the past week. He used to be a pretty efficient nurser, however he only nursed for 10 minutes at a time. He would have a good latch and strong suck. Lately he pops off and seems to kind of push himself off with his tongue and/or slip off like he isn't sucking correctly.

    I always check to see that his lower lip is flanged out. I noticed yesterday that he is putting his tongue between my breast and his lower lip. It doesn't happen always, but could that be why hes "slipping" off and pushing himself off? Is this just a phase? Will he correct it? He gets so mad having to relatch over and over, especially at night. Also, I've noticed an increase in his gas, and discomfort from it. I feel this could be that he is sucking in more air due to the latch problems.

    What can I do to fix this?

    Thanks
    Lyn

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Trouble with Latching

    Couple of ideas here. First, your baby's tongue should be over his lower gums and somewhat between your breast and his lower lip. This is why babies with teeth can't bite while they are actively nursing, because the tongue is in the way. So at first blush I would think this is a red herring.

    If he is indeed "slipping" off, then one obvious suggestion is more support under him, so he doesn't have to reach to the breast. He might be getting heavier, so your previous supports might be compacting too much to hold him up now.

    My last idea is have you had trouble with overactive let down (OALD) or an overabundance of milk supply? Or were you doing something like pumping for a short bit before nursing and have stopped? A baby might pop on and off a breast often because they are coming up for air so to speak from so much milk. Having OALD or oversupply can cause a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance, which would lead to excess gassiness in baby and make nursing not so comfortable. If his poopies are not nice and mustard-like and low odor, this might be the suspect and there are things to try to manage this.

    Alternatively, have you started eating something different, or possibly started a new medication, that could have changed the composition of your breastmilk? Baby could be sensitive to something there, which again would lead to discomfort while nursing and gas, which would make baby pop off.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    9,280

    Default Re: Trouble with Latching

    Thanks for your input. I think I am paranoid about starving him, but he has lots of wet and dirty (yellow) diapers.

    I did struggle with OALD a few weeks ago, and feel that I've dealt with it. He would cry a lot then when he would unlatch. Plus he had lots of green diapers. Since I dealt with the OALD, we've only had yellow, YAY!

    I am wondering if the gas could be from dairy. I will cut it out again (and not cheat this time) and see if that helps.

    Also, I realize that sometimes when he has trouble latching or staying on, I have got him out of bed when maybe he wasnt ready. I get him up when he grunts, thinking he's hungry. But today for his naps, I just let him sleep, and I realize....he will tell me when he's hungry.

    He just doesn't seem to be sucking as hard, plus he will get the nipple and areola all wet, and then just slide his lips around but not latch. He seems to get really frustrated (and I get upset). I worry that he's hungry but can't get the food. When he does this, I just have him and I take a little break and try again. Its just hard in the middle of the night when I'm totally out of it.

    Thanks for your advice, I need to stop being so paranoid and start enjoying motherhood. As long as I keep an eye on his wet and dirty diapers, we should be fine, right?

    Lyn

  4. #4

    Default Re: Trouble with Latching

    As long as I keep an eye on his wet and dirty diapers, we should be fine, right?
    Yep. It's normal to see the baby's tongue from a certain angle when he is latched properly. However, the fact that the tongue is breaking the seal on his latch and he seems to push the breast out with the tongue makes me think that he may not be on deeply enough to start with. Work on getting him latched a little more deeply and see if that helps. If he's sliding around from everything being too wet (Oh, I remember those days!), then pat your breast and his mouth dry and re-latch. He'll have more "traction" if it's dry, LOL.

    Hang in there! Sounds like you guys are doing pretty well overall!
    Jen
    "Mothers are designed to be available to their babies--to help them make the transition into this big, wide world. To teach them to trust, and love, and feel good about being alive."
    --Elizabeth N. Baldwin, Esq., So I Nursed Him Every 45 Minutes

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