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Thread: Initial Latch

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    37

    Question Initial Latch

    Good evening. I have another question.

    I've only been breastfeeding for 2+ weeks and am wondering why the initial latch causes pain for about 5 seconds. The even stranger thing is that if my dd comes off the breast after, say...5 minutes and I put her back on, the latch does NOT hurt. The breast at the initial latch is quite full of milk and possible less "flexible" (for lack of a better word). Could this be the cause or am I simply not latching on correctly?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Initial Latch

    Hi There

    Congratulations on your new baby. I don't really have a good answer for your question, unfortunately. I do know that some women have pain with initial latch-on in the early weeks. As you describe, this pain is brief and goes away as the nursing session continues, and eventually latching on stops hurting altogether.

    You may have noticed that your baby will suck very rapidly after latching on, and then settle into a slower, rhythmic suckling pattern after letdown. Perhaps its this initial suckling that is painful, and then when your baby comes off and relatches, milk is flowing faster so she doesn't have to suckle as quickly. You also mention that the breast is not as soft when she first latches on, and this might be the cause too.

    Make sure your baby is latching well and is positioned well. Sometimes even just a tiny bit of adjustment to the baby's position can make a big difference. If the pain continues for much longer, you may want to have a LLL leader check the latch/position.

    Hope that helps!
    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

    Click here to find your local LLL Group
    How to tell if your breastfed baby is getting enough milk!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: Initial Latch

    Hi Jen:

    I will keep my eye open for the initial latch pain to get better as the weeks progress. Possibly as her mouth gets bigger, we both get more experience, etc, the latch will be easier and less painful initially. It does baffle me that the 2nd latch onto the same breast is virtually pain-free and I feel the technique is basically the same. But I will take your advice and seek a LC if the pain doesn't subside in the near future.

    Thanks for your help.

    NattyL

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,168

    Default Re: Initial Latch

    This is just a guess, but I experienced the same thing when my now-4yo son was a newborn -- intense but brief initial pain with latch, and I don't recall it hurting like that if he came off and re-latched midfeeding.

    My nipples were quite flat, and I think the pain may have been caused by the adhesions that held my nipples mostly inside the breast gradually loosening a bit with each feeding. My theory is that the first latch at the start of a feeding hurts quite a lot because it is suddenly stretching those adhesions. When the baby lets go and immediately re-latches, the affected tissues are still stretchy and warm, so the latch doesn't cause pain.

    --Rebecca

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: Initial Latch

    Thanks Rebecca...I just want to make sure I'm not the crazy one. This "latching" seems to be a common topic of concern and despite having a LC look at it and make it right, women still have questions about it. From my perspective (albeit inexperienced) all looks good and I suppose I can tolerate the initial latch-on pain since it doesn't last that long AND most importantly dd is peein' and poopin' like a champ!!!

    However, any other perspectives/opinions on this intial latch on pain are DEFINITELY WELCOMED!!!!

    NattyL

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,168

    Default Re: Initial Latch

    A very helpful IBCLC told me while we were still in the hospital, "A good latch may hurt at first, but should feel better in a few moments; a bad latch never feels okay." And my doula told me that a good latch (once that initial pain was past) is no more painful than a firm downward tug on your earlop.

    Breastfeeding as a first-time mom involved so many new sensations that it really was impossible at first for me to know whether everything felt all right or not. At 2 weeks pp, I was still very much at sea. By 5 or 6 weeks, I knew what I was doing. Hang in there.

    --Rebecca

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Initial Latch

    I call my dtr a snapping turtle. Her first latch after a nap (when she's crying good) hurts me for 3 to 4 sucks then subsides. I think it is her little gums biting down because she really wants to eat now. as soon as she tastes that milk, the pain goes away. and when she lets off the breast and gets back on , it doesn't hurt because she's calmer and knows the milk is there.

    But this is just my guess of what is going on, I'm just glad she doesn't have teeth. =)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: Initial Latch

    Thanks again for the responses. Much, much, much appreciated. It's so good to have support out there...So good...

    NattyL

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