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Thread: correct bad latch in toddler?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    89

    Default correct bad latch in toddler?

    Hello,
    My daughter is almost 16 mo old and her latch is getting worse and worse . . . she pulls back very hard on the nipple and keeps her mouth tight and pinchy. We then have a "tug of war" where I try to keep her from pulling her head back too far and she tries to push away. Not sure exactly when this happened . . . must have been very gradual . . . but it is getting really uncomfortable. I have tried detatching and relatching and making sure her lips are flanged (which they usually are) but it doesn't improve much. I really need her to open her mouth wider but not sure how to get her to do this. She is also teething (her eyeteeth are coming in) but the latch issue has been going on for longer than that. Anybody have any advice on how to improve a poor latch at this "advanced" age ?

    Thanks,
    Jill

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,168

    Default Re: correct bad latch in toddler?

    Oh dear, I kept hoping someone with some actual answers would respond to this question! I'm not sure I have any to offer, just theories and support.

    I think it truly is never too early to start teaching your child that they may NOT hurt you. The law of natural consequences would suggest that if she insists on a bad latch, you may refuse to nurse her -- not forever, but for long enough to get her attention.

    With any age but especially this young-toddler stage, it is usually more productive to focus on what you want her do than on what she is doing wrong. With your words tell her and with your own mouth show her what you want her to do when nursing. If after 3 tries or so she is not cooperating, end the nursing session and move on to another activity. Use your judgment about when to try again. When she cooperates and nurses with a good latch, even if it's only for a moment, praise her endlessly and exuberantly. She wants to please you if she can only understand how.

    Do treat her teething pain; even if you feel that is not the ultimate cause of this problem, it is surely an aggravating factor in her behavior. We always had latch problems during teething, and I found that treating my son's pain helped a lot with that "pinchy" shallow latch that is so irritating.

    Good luck!

    --Rebecca

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    1,551

    Default Re: correct bad latch in toddler?

    Hi Jill,
    Rebecca's got some great suggestions. (Thanks, Rebecca!)
    Maybe something in this article will help, too.
    Toddler Tips - Uncomfortable Latch
    http://www.lalecheleague.org/NB/NBJulAug01p143.html

    Hang in there!
    Mary

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