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Thread: need serious help breastfeeding

  1. #1
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    Default need serious help breastfeeding

    My 4-week old has a terrible latch. I think he's getting enough milk, but how can I be sure. I have the following questions/problems:

    -pinching pain when he nurses (I keep trying to get his lower chin to open wider, but he closes it and pinches the nipple).
    -he rarely 'falls off' the breast, so I either pull him off or he falls asleep
    -I can't self-express very well.
    -He spits up a lot after each feeding, which makes me think he gets too much milk at one time.

    Has anyone else experienced this problems?

    Also, I find that I'm having a hard time knowing whether or not he's actually hungry because he doesn't root as much, if at all.

    Please help. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: need serious help breastfeeding

    I have recently dealt with fixing my now 6 wo latch. It was terrible also and caused cracked nipples which led to thrush (I think). One thing that REALLY helped me was reading to literally shove baby on your breast as soon as his mouth opens enough. I had read on www.askdrsears.com that babies open their mouths wide for a VERY short period of time before clamping mouth shut. So, it's up to Mommy to put nipple in SUPER quickly. That helped me out a lot.

    As for pulling him off, if you insert your index finger in the side of his mouth while unlatching him, it will cause you a lot less pain than pulling a latched baby off your breast.

    I personally don't ever self-express. Any reason you feel you need to do so?

    Spitting up is totally normal. Maybe try burping him in between . . . like unlatch him in the middle of a breast and burp and then relatch. See if that maybe helps?

    As for knowing if he's hungry, all babies have different cues. My 6 wo licks his lips a lot when he's getting hungry. Crying is a late hunger cue. And you can tell a lot if he's eating enough by the amount of poopie and potty diapers he has.

    Good luck!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: need serious help breastfeeding

    Quote Originally Posted by juliana99 View Post
    I think he's getting enough milk, but how can I be sure.
    The best way to know is to keep an eye on diaper output. You want to see about 6-8 wet diapers a day and 2-3 dirty diapers a day. (Keep in mind this is just a general average. Some EBF babies do not dirty diapers that often, not even as often as every day.) If you're seeing a good output, your LO is gaining well, and he seems satisfied, then he's definitely getting enough.

    -pinching pain when he nurses (I keep trying to get his lower chin to open wider, but he closes it and pinches the nipple).
    Definitely sounds like he's not getting enough of the breast in his mouth. You really have to get the nipple into his mouth FAST, as soon as he opens wide. It feels a little violent at first when you have to smush your boob into your baby's face, but it's really ok. That's how he'll learn a good latch, and eventually he'll do it all by himself! If he slides back on the nipple and starts pinching again (Haley did this all the time at first), break the suction with a pinkie finger and start over. You might have to do this a few times, but keep at it, because otherwise he won't learn. Do you have an LC or LLL leader who could look at the latch and give you some hands-on assistance? I found that extremely helpful.

    -he rarely 'falls off' the breast, so I either pull him off or he falls asleep
    Haley is the same way. She likes to comfort suck and rarely pulls off herself. I learned to watch for when the sucking slows down from the steady, nutritive suck to a shallow, comfort suck. Then, after I let her suck for a while, I remove her. Some babies are like that, and it's ok.

    -I can't self-express very well.
    It takes practice. Have you read about the Marmet technique? That might help. Also, if you really need to express (if you're building a back-to-work stash), you could find an inexpensive manual pump (such as the Medela Harmony).

    -He spits up a lot after each feeding, which makes me think he gets too much milk at one time.
    Haley did this a lot too, although she's gotten much better. The reasons were: (1) Most babies' esophageal flaps are not fully developed, so the milk can easily come back up. As they mature, this will get better. (2) She has a dairy sensitivity. It's not extreme, but the more dairy I eat, the more she spits up. When I cut back, the spitting up calmed down. (3) Sometimes she overate a bit, and the excess would come back up. Again, with maturity this will get better. And keep in mind that it doesn't take much liquid to look like a lot. If you spill a teaspoon or tablespoon of water on fabric, you'll see that it looks like more than it is. (That being said, Haley has definitely spit up a lot more than that at times.)

    Also, I find that I'm having a hard time knowing whether or not he's actually hungry because he doesn't root as much, if at all.
    Haley doesn't do much rooting either. She works her tongue, opens her mouth and makes "heh heh heh" noises, or turns her head and sucks on my arm. Give it some time. You'll eventually come to learn your baby's signals and know just when he's hungry. In the meantime, you can always offer the breast, and if he doesn't want it, he'll let you know.

    Hope this helps! You're doing great, mama!
    Last edited by Pajama Mama; July 22nd, 2007 at 06:05 PM.
    I love my kids. I care for them accordingly. What more can I say?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: need serious help breastfeeding

    The other postes gave really good advice!!! just stay encouraged

  5. #5
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    Default Re: need serious help breastfeeding

    Thanks all for your input and help.

    Another issue: what if he doesn't open his mouth at all? He pens it very little, barely even enough to get the nipple inside.

    hmmm.
    I'll keep trying.

    thanks again for all your advice and support.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: need serious help breastfeeding

    Quote Originally Posted by juliana99 View Post
    Thanks all for your input and help.

    Another issue: what if he doesn't open his mouth at all? He pens it very little, barely even enough to get the nipple inside.

    Try aim your nipple towards the nose. Sounds strange, but this is the only way my lo will open his mouth. Once the mouth is open go in towards the roof of the mouth fast. (I use to push his head toward the nipple, but that cause the nose to be covered and he unlatched because he couldn't breathe)...

    hth

  7. #7
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    Default Re: need serious help breastfeeding

    I used to apply gentle pressure to Haley's chin with a finger or thumb. This usually got her to open wide just long enough to get her latched on. (You can also tickle her lips with a finger or with your nipple.)
    I love my kids. I care for them accordingly. What more can I say?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: need serious help breastfeeding

    I had the worst time getting my baby to open her mouth, but my leader showed me a great way...I ended up switching the hand that I held her head with and held her at the base of her neck/shoulders (don't know if that makes sense), and brought her lip to my nipple. She would open her mouth a little and I would keep repeating it until she opened wide enough and then "whumpf," I'd pull her in. Switching hands made all the difference to me and it was a pretty small, easy fix. It does seem a little shocking (and makes a hilarious noise from time to time) but she doesn't mind. If your baby slides down, it's better to start over and relatch. It takes a little patience on the part of the mother but she soon learned. Also, my baby rarely ever rooted. I learned her hunger cues by trial and error. Sometimes I'd think, oh, she just ate, she can't be hungry, but she really was.

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